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Amber Wheat
Amber Wheat
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Where is the Justice for Car Crash Victims?

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The Sacramento Bee published an article about a very curious case. Maximillian Sullivan has been in and out of jail twice since the end of October and he is in jail again. All three arrests have been for traffic violations. The first, on October 24, 2008, was when he was identified as the driver in an injury-causing hit and run. The second on November 3, 2008, was for reckless driving. And the most recent on December 1, 2008, for yet another injury-causing hit and run, this time with a suspicion of driving under the influence.

The comments on the Sacramento Bee website all have one question in mind. Will this man have to kill someone before he is stopped? Mr. Sullivan was driving on a suspended license during all three incidents. According to court documents he was jailed at least three times since 2005 and has never served more than a few weeks in jail or on the sheriff’s work project.

Let us assume that Mr. Sullivan’s first offense was merely a hit-and-run causing injury while driving with a suspended license. The minimum punishment would be $1,000 for the hit-and-run causing an injury and $300 for driving with a suspended license. Jail time is not required at all for those offenses. The law only dictates maximum sentencing if the court chooses to pursue that avenue.

The second offence of reckless driving carries a minimum of five days in jail and a $145 fine with another $300 for the suspended license charge. Again that is the absolute minimum he could have received.

If Mr. Sullivan is convicted of hit and run DUI causing injury for this time, he will receive a minimum of 90 days in jail, a $390 fine, and revocation of his license. He will not have the privilege of operating a motor vehicle for some time.

The people behind the comments on the SacBee website are upset right now because they feel Mr. Sullivan’s punishment has been too lenient so far. But there is a fine line that the court must walk. The forefathers of this nation knew that liberty is the quintessential right of every man. It is a huge responsibility to be in charge of deciding whether or not to deprive a man of his freedom. Mistakes are made and they should be paid for, but let the punishment fit the crime.

In this same vein, the family of Aman Kumar Khanna is grieving for the husband and father they lost and for the justice they did not receive. The seventeen-year-old convicted of gross vehicular manslaughter for the accident that took the life of Mr. Khanna will serve one year at the Sacramento County Boys Ranch and will then be deported.

The issue is very controversial, but the court decided to try him as an minor. That choice severely limited the possibilities of punishment. This boy ran a red light at 80 miles per hour while under the influence of alcohol and then fled the scene. A grave injustice has been done to this family… by the system. He was seventeen, he was here illegally, and he made the wrong choices. He made adult choices.

To think that something as trivial as age has kept him from years in prison for his crime. It was the same way with Amit Tandon’s family. A young man, Troy Hovey, was sentenced to 180 days in jail and three years probation. It seems like victims cannot find justice these days.