The Chainlink

We spend a good deal of time screaming at the sky about how mistreated and misrepresented we are as cyclists in regards to traffic accidents or driver abuse.

 

And it's true, if a cyclist dies because of a drivers bad behavior, the legal outcome is usually underwhelming.

 

But this is the case when it comes to driver vs. driver as well.

 

My Uncle Marc was killed by a drunk driver. The person convicted of killing him was his best friend who had chosen to drive home drunk from the bar that my Uncle was at with him. My Uncle walked home. The guy drove.

 

The guy hit, killed, and didn't stop for, my Uncle.

 

When he was convicted he got 2 years. He served 6 months. That's drunk driving and murder. He only served 6 months. There are intricacies and details (he was rich with a "great" lawyer etc...) that i've left out.

 

But what I want to know is what do you expect from the legal system? Should the guy's life have been over because he killed my Uncle? Should drivers that kill cyclists lives be over ? Other drivers? Death sentence? Life in Prison?

 

We rant and rave and at then end of the day it's still a human you are talking about that has misbehaved. We hope they reform their behavior we hope they learn from the incident.

 

I grant that a criminal history will play into this but despite what the media/ or other cyclists tell you most of the maniacs that are driving aren't criminals (or should be in your mind but not in reality?).

 

It's a grander scheme question. Waxing philosophic on a Friday.

Views: 615

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

A well-thought and articulate post.  I hope there are well-thought and articulate replies.

So far it's crickets. To high brow for Friday? :-)

Capital punishment to much of a hot potato...

Woof. That's heavy. 

Honestly? I'd hope that they'd be getting court ordered therapy, have their driver's license entirely revoked (and somehow be monitored so that they CANT drive) and have to do a ton of RELATED community service (perhaps filling potholes in a bike lane... or teaching kids bike safety lessons after heavy training... or something.) I don't know what EXACTLY would make up for taking a life... but I know sitting in prison doesn't really. 

I rarely think that locking someone up in prison is the answer unless they are so dangerous as to warrant being kept away from society though, so I may be biased.

If you ask me the problem here locally is lack of enforcement for traffic laws in Chicago. A possible sentence of 2 years may not be any more of a deterrent than a possible sentence of 5 years or a $1000 fine may not be any more of a deterrent than a $250 fine. The punishment doesn't matter if cops don't ticket which in Chicago they just don't (outside of LSD and O'Hare). At least not relative to suburbs. I can't tell you how many times I've pointed at a car that's speeding or just ran a red light and the cop just ignores it. 

So drivers speed, text, and roll stop signs because they know there is little to no chance of getting a ticket. Therefore they get behind the wheel impaired because they know that there's little chance of getting pulled over. Same with bikers. We roll through red lights so frequently because we know there is little enforcement. 

My point is that if cops enforced traffic laws regularly enough then people would hesitate before speeding or driving drunk. It's enforcement that matters more than the punishment to some degree. However punishment should be relative. I remember reading about a Nokia executive that got a $200,000+ fine for speeding because the penalty was a % of his income rather than a set fine. A $150 speeding ticket is nothing for someone who makes $200K a year. 

Sorry to hear about that happening to your Uncle. Unfortunately the most severe punishment will never bring him back but I do think the driver was let off way too easy. Should that 2 years have been 20 is difficult to say. Or like Michelle said should that person have been forced to do some other form of restitution. 

All I know is taking someone's life needs to have more gravity than it seems to have nowadays.  

I would sentence the offender to a lifetime of community service. Ideally, specifically geared toward educating drivers and the public at large about the risks of such behavior. One of my kid's roommates in college had a somewhat similar experience. He was a Christian. I told him that on judgement day, he will come face to face with the person he killed. Will she forgive you? If his restituiton after the tragedy saved even one life, maybe she will.

First off feelings and religion have no place in crime and punishment.

How, and for how long, people should be punished should have nothing to do with feelings or it becomes impossible to have a fair and even judicial system.  Should a person be punished less if they take the life of somebody universally regarded as an asshole?  Or punished more because they took the life of somebody YOU care about vs. the life of somebody you care nothing about?

The law is what he law is and lawyers are always going to try and work the system to get the person they represent the absolute minimum punishment the law allows.  It's the rights of the accused to get as little punishment as the law prescribes should a judge and jury find so and the job of their attorney to work to get them those minimums.  When these decisions are made the judge, who we elect, weighs the crime, the defendants history, mitigating circumstances and other factors to determine the judgement they feel is fair. 

That is how the system works and if you are unhappy with the outcomes of our judicial system you need to do something about it.

You don't like seeing people being let off with a minimum sentence?  Vote out the judges who do so.

You don't like that the minimums for certain things are so low?  Lobby for changes to the law.

We can argue and bitch about what we each think is right an wrong all day.  We can stand on rooftops and shout how we, as a subculture, feel wronged by the way the laws are written and enforced but it's not going to change a damn thing unless we work to get he laws changed to what we want and the judges who find in ways we dislike off the bench.

Michelle, bias is fine. We are all biased as individuals. But that's kinda the exercise. The above story is why I have not sat on a jury the 2 times I was called for drunk driving cases. I know that I can't look past my own bias and need to be excused. That's so the human being charged gets a fair trial.

 

The bias I carry asks for a very different outcome than the law should.

 

I like the idea of community service. It should be attached to everything. Taking away someone's license is hard cause then you can cause "hardship" and people treat driving like a right.  An electronic bracelet that disables cars you sit it? Who's an inventor on here?

Just to continue the philosophic bent:

There are law review articles and theses written by sociologists that try to balance what are commonly thought to be the reasons for punishment for criminal acts.  The components are deterrence, incapacitation, rehabilitation, retribution, and restitution.  Criminal justice systems place different values on the components.  Within a criminal justice system the primary purpose of punishment will vary. At one end of the spectrum, our system incapacitates a criminal that is deemed to be a permanent danger to society.  At the other, we seek restitution and/or rehabilitation of a criminal who is deemed to have made a mistake but is no danger at all to society.    The devil, as OP points out, is in between.

Right Doug , so I'm asking what do YOU think the punishment for these violations should be?

 

Joe and Rich those are great ideas.

 

But enforcement can't be enough either.  There are X number of Police on the road and Y number of drivers. Y is 200 times greater than X. Too much turf and not enough men.

This is exactly right Lisa.

 

Malice and intent are HUGE factors in how the cases play out. A first time offender was not likely intending to kill someone. They did not want to kill someone. And they won't again if we let them go.

 

If a repeat offender skates cause a witness did not appear in court we have a reason to be outraged. However we all usually jump to outrage first. If all the cases are SO ENFURIATING than, really, none of them are.

 

But even then what is the worth of the human that has made an error repeat or otherwise?

Lisa Curcio 4.1 mi said:

Just to continue the philosophic bent:

There are law review articles and theses written by sociologists that try to balance what are commonly thought to be the reasons for punishment for criminal acts.  The components are deterrence, incapacitation, rehabilitation, retribution, and restitution.  Criminal justice systems place different values on the components.  Within a criminal justice system the primary purpose of punishment will vary. At one end of the spectrum, our system incapacitates a criminal that is deemed to be a permanent danger to society.  At the other, we seek restitution and/or rehabilitation of a criminal who is deemed to have made a mistake but is no danger at all to society.    The devil, as OP points out, is in between.

It doesn't matter what I think; it matters what the people I vote for think.

Vilda said:

Right Doug , so I'm asking what do YOU think the punishment for these violations should be?

 

Joe and Rich those are great ideas.

 

But enforcement can't be enough either.  There are X number of Police on the road and Y number of drivers. Y is 200 times greater than X. Too much turf and not enough men.

RSS

© 2008-2016   The Chainlink Community, L.L.C.   Powered by

Disclaimer  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service