Vote of no confidence

A speeding driver got a year in jail after he was in a bad wreck while speeding and did I mention the speeding driver was going over the speed limit? Sorry, just practicing my press release skills for when they make me a prosecutor.

As I wrote, low speed limits are good for public relations.

In Massachusetts a year is a long sentence for accidents without DUI. Another young Massachusetts driver got 90 days for a worse crash. She left a victim in a persistent vegetative state and repeatedly violated probation. This guy put two people in wheelchairs. I consider both cases just short of motor vehicle homicide, a crime typically punished by about 90 days in jail. (Again, if there’s no DUI.)

The prosecutor leaned on the speed issue, but from all the evidence the driver was going at the legal speed limit — 50 on a divided highway. There is no record of who posted 30 mph signs in the neighborhood (but not at the site of the crash). The agency in charge never did any studies to justify them and doesn’t have any records of ordering signs to be posted on any of its roads.

This isn’t a case where an illegal sign is a “get out of jail free” card. State law is settled: you can be within the speed limit and still guilty of reckless driving. It’s an all purpose “don’t drive like a moron” crime.

And that leads to the reason we have jury trials. Jury trials give the public confidence in the system.

We can’t check out all the evidence for ourselves. We trust a group of citizens to check it out for us.

If the prosecutor hadn’t been leaning on the speed limit issue it would be a clear case of an inexperienced teen driver being too aggressive.

But it sounds to me like the prosecutor wanted to make this case about numbers, he was going 66.6667% over the speed limit. Garbage in, garbage out.

It’s not that I believe he’s innocent. These cases are rarely black and white.

I don’t have any confidence in the system.

The opinions expressed in belong to the author and do not necessarily represent those of the National Motorists Association or the NMA Foundation. This content is for informational purposes and is not intended as legal advice. No representations are made regarding the accuracy of this post or the included links.

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