Opinion | Letter: Applauding plea agreement rejection
September 20, 2018
While visiting Grand Lake last week, I picked up a copy of the Sept. 7 issue of Sky-Hi News. I took particular note of the story about the plea agreement rejected by Judge Hoak. I want to applaud Judge Hoak on her decision.
In the situation at hand, a person lost their life, due to the deliberate decision of another person to drive while under the influence. A prison sentence of three years or less is unconscionable. I can speak from personal experience, because 10 years ago, my 23-year-old son was killed by a drunk driver in Minnesota. My son was a pedestrian, while the driver was speeding in a very congested area. He had a blood alcohol content of 0.13 percent, nearly double the legal limit. Under Minnesota sentencing guidelines (at that time), the maximum sentence for this case of vehicular homicide was four years. The guilty person served less than three years.
Some people receive far longer prison sentences for committing acts less egregious acts than causing loss of life. Judge Hoak is absolutely correct in stating that the agreement "diminish(es) the serious nature of the defendant's crimes;" and further that she is "unwilling to send a message to the community that driving drunk, killing an individual … is satisfied by a maximum of three years in prison." I hope a more fitting sentence can be arrived at.
Doug Hartmann, Fremont, Neb.
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