A while back, I wrote about the issue of what the punishment should be in Maryland fatal accident cases where there are no aggravating factors (almost always alcohol) but still someone dies because someone just was not paying attention. Should this mean prison? Is the pain of killing someone enough punishment?
Clients usually feel strongly about this issue one way or the other, there is very little in between. Either they view the defendant as a killer or they see the accident as a mistake that could have happened to anyone.
A bill has been floating around the Maryland legislature for years that would give prosecutors more latitude when charging these drivers. In a swap, House Del. Luiz Simmons, a criminal defense lawyer from Montgomery County, proposes a law that would sentence someone to up to three years in prison for killing a person as the result of a “substantial deviation from the standard of care.” Standing in the way of the bill is Maryland State Senator Brian Frosh, a Montgomery County Democrat, who questions whether prison should follow for drivers who negligently kill another person.
The Washington Post has a good article on this issue.
What do I think? I can see it both ways. I really can. It so depends on the circumstances, the defendant, and what happened.