Sunday, July 24, 2011

SAY WHAT (Update July 26, 2011- Mom Sentencing)
Marietta, Georgia (CNN) -- A Georgia woman who was convicted on misdemeanor charges in the death of her son who darted out into traffic will not spend time in jail, a judge ruled Tuesday.

The case of Raquel Nelson had attracted national notice from parents, the NAACP and even transportation advocates who said the Marietta woman was being unfairly pursued for just trying to cross the street as any other pedestrian would do.

Dozens of the suburban Atlanta woman's supporters crowded the courtroom Tuesday and applauded as Judge Kathryn Tanksley sentenced her to 12 months of probation and 40 hours of community service.

She also said Nelson could seek a new trial.

"I'm walking out of here," Nelson told reporters after her sentencing. "I don't think you could be more satisfied."

Defense attorney David Savoy said his client is weighing her options, but would mostly likely seek a new trial.

Nelson and her three children had just gotten off the bus at a stop across from their apartment building in April 2010 when her 4-year-old son, A.J., broke away from her and ran into the street.

A car struck the boy, causing fatal injuries. Nelson and one of her two daughters also suffered minor injuries.

Five weeks after the accident, investigators came to Nelson's home, said her aunt, Loretta Williams. Nelson was charged with three misdemeanors: second-degree vehicular homicide, failing to cross at a crosswalk and reckless conduct, according to court records.

A jury convicted her this month. Although prosecutors did not recommend jail time, each count carried a potential sentence of one year in jail -- for a total of 36 months.

The man driving the car, Jerry Guy, fled the scene after the accident but later admitted being involved, according to CNN affiliate WXIA-TV. He was sentenced to five years in prison but served only six months. He is serving the remainder of the sentence on probation.

During the hearing, Savoy asked for mercy, saying his client had suffered enough."Don't think for one moment that this mother of three doesn't blame herself for what happened," he said.

But, he said, the white stripes of a crosswalk are not "impenetrable walls of steel" that could have prevented a driver from striking someone crossing the street. Such accidents happen every day, he said.

Assistant Solicitor General Jessica Moss said her office would accept whatever sentence the court suggested.
"These cases are inherently difficult because they are unintentional," she said during the hearing.

Nelson told NBC's "Today" on Monday that the jury that convicted her likely couldn't relate to her because she is a single mother and they don't regularly use public transportation or need to walk on busy streets.

The case became a cause for radio talk show hosts, the NAACP and even transportation advocates, who said Nelson is being punished because she chose to cross the road at the bus stop across from her apartment instead of traveling to the nearest crosswalk, three-tenths of a mile away.

"Your office's decision to prosecute Raquel Nelson for the death of her four-year-old son on a vehicular homicide charge is disgusting and inhumane," wrote one poster to the Facebook page of the Cobb County Solicitor General's Office, which handled the case.

More than 135,000 people signed an online petition calling for leniency.

The NAACP had called the case against Nelson a "grave miscarriage of justice when the mother who is still grieving is forced to fight harder for her freedom than the man who killed her son."

The case also attracted attention from transportation advocates, who said Nelson was treated unfairly because transportation planners fail to take into account the needs of pedestrians when designing roads."Because she did as her fellow bus riders, who crossed at the same time and same place, and because she did what pedestrians will do every time -- take the shortest reasonable path -- she is guilty of vehicular homicide," Transportation for America communications director David Goldberg wrote on the advocacy organization's blog.

CNN's Tristan Smith contributed to this report.
Excuse me but is there no end, no fucking end to the depths of cruelty, corruption and dysfunction of our legal system when it comes to VICTIMS RIGHTS? Apparently not, because this moronic "System" keeps on chugging along, efficiently handing out "justice served" to the innocent human beings who are victims, while unable to provide "justice served' to the guilty who commit horrific, acts of  harming, killing people. 
The jury, well what can we expect from stupid, ignorant, sheep who are unable to think for themselves. The closest the average American gets to feeling compassion and using what tiny part of their brain remains, is in watching Reality TV and feeling bad for the dancer or singer who only made second place and got "cheated' out of winning. Then these idiots feel compassion and their tiny, mutated synapses flap around for a few minutes of mindless thought about what is unfair.
Good job Prosecutors, you stupid fucking arrogant" protectors of Justice", "YOU" must be so proud of yourself in doing your jobs so ass backwards, morons that you are, may you burn in hell!!!
"You" deliberately FUCKED UP my son Stevens killing, by manipulating the legal system to not give Justice for him as a victim, and "YOU" deliberately FUCKED UP my Father's murder case by manipulating the legal system to not give him justice as a victim, to protect your friends in the government. "YOU" do that so well over and over again in the everyday other cases of letting other evil animals get away with their unspeakable crimes and ignoring the life time of suffering by victims and their families.  

"YOU" do it best when you let parents and others who have ruthlessly killed their own innocent small children, shit, they seem to almost always get tapped lightly on the wrists and go free. 

 So throw the "book" at this grieving mom, "JUSTICE SERVED" is your motto, give her the full 36  months in prison while you let the driver who killed her son go free, after serving only 6 months of his five year sentence. Protect us from the "criminal" mother while the jerk who killed her son is out there ready to kill another child.

"YOU" are on the job with the finest demonstration of the arrogance of of the LAW, by saving all of us from this woman and dispensing justice for JAY WALKING to this grieving mother whose 4 year old child was killed by a hit and run driver who was drinking and high on pain killers. 

Great job ass holes, you must feel so proud of your maggot selves.

Grieving Mother Faces 36 Months In Jail For Jaywalking After Son Is Killed By Hit-And-Run Driver

"On April 10, 2010, Raquel Nelson lost her 4-year-old son. Nelson was crossing a busy Marietta, Georgia, street with her son and his two siblings when they were struck by a hit-and-run driver. Police were able to track down the driver, Jerry Guy, who later admitted he had been drinking and had taken painkillers the night of the accident. He was also mostly blind in one eye. Guy had already been convicted of two prior hit-and-runs. He pleaded guilty, served six months of his five-year sentence, and was released last October.

If it ended there, this story would merely be tragic. But it gets worse. Last week Nelson herself was convicted on three charges related to her son's death: reckless conduct, improperly crossing a roadway and second-degree homicide by vehicle. Each is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 12 months in prison. 

Nelson could spend up to six times as many months in jail as the man who struck her son and then fled the scene.

Nelson's crime:JAYWALKING .

Nelson had taken her children with her to shop for groceries and supplies for her upcoming birthday party. The working mother and college student regularly took public transportation, but she and her kids missed their intended bus that night, putting them an hour behind schedule. The bus they caught pulled up to their stop after nightfall, and Nelson stepped off, clutching her kids' hands through the shopping bags wrapped around her wrists. Nelson's apartment complex sits across the street from the bus stop, but the nearest crosswalk is three-tenths of a mile away. 

So Nelson did what everyone who uses that bus stop does, and what the other disembarking passengers all did that night: She crossed one side of the divided highway to the median, where she waited for a break in the traffic.

Several people then crossed the street before Nelson thought it was safe. She waited with her kids. But when others started to move towards the road, Nelson's son must taken it as a cue it was time to go. She felt his grip on her hand loosen and he darted out into the road. She followed. Guy's car struck Nelson, her son and her daughter, and the boy died.

Over the next month, as Guy was processed by Georgia's criminal justice system, Nelson buried and grieved for her son. But on May 14, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution ran a long story under the headline, "Jaywalkers take deadly risks." The article mentioned Nelson and her son, pointing out that she hadn't been charged with any crime. Three days later, the Georgia Solicitor General's office charged Nelson with the three misdemeanors.

Nelson was convicted last week, and she'll be sentenced on July 26. Nelson, a black woman, was convicted by an all-white jury. She relies on public transportation; she is a pedestrian in a car-oriented Atlanta suburb. 

During jury questioning, none of the jurors who would eventually convict Nelson raised their hands when asked if they relied on public transportation. Just one juror admitted to ever having ridden a public bus, though in response to a subsequent question, a few said they'd taken a bus to Braves games.

Nelson was not judged by a jury of her peers; she was convicted by a jury that had no understanding of the circumstances that compelled her to cross the street where she did.

According to the Daily Mail, other tenants in Nelson's apartment complex had complained to the city about their difficulties getting home from the bus stop. The Transportation in America blog shows a photo of the stretch of highway where Nelson crossed as evidence city planners are guilty of "poor planning and dangerous designs."

No one forced Raquel Nelson to jaywalk the night of her son's death. The suggestion here isn't that the city owes Nelson anything for the consequences of her actions. 

But there is something to be said for designing cities with an eye toward how people actually behave, not how urban planners wish they would. 

Putting a bus stop in the middle of a busy highway, three-tenths of a mile away from the nearest crosswalk -- while zoning for apartments and businesses on the other side of the same street -- is poor planning.

But it's really the decision to prosecute Nelson that's outrageous. That the state can prosecute someone doesn't mean that it should. And it seems that a little empathy would be in order here.

Prosecutors have a great deal of discretion over when to bring charges, and over what charges they bring. If those in the office of Solicitor General Barry Morgan are charging Nelson to punish her for her jaywalking, they're misguided -- it's hard to conceive of a more potent punishment than the loss of a child. 

If their aim was to make an example of a devastated mother to prevent others from jaywalking, they're delusional.

But this isn't even the first time they've done it.According to the Journal-Constitution, in 2010, Morgan's office charged another woman whose child was struck and killed while the two were jaywalking. A recent Pro Publica/Frontline investigation found prosecutors seem especially prone to find criminality -- then over-charge once they do -- in instances of child death, even when the evidence suggests the death was an accident.

Earlier this month, I wrote a column criticizing the so-called Caylee's Law, the bill sweeping state legislatures across the country in response to the Casey Anthony verdict. I mentioned a number of scenarios in which innocent parents or caretakers might be prosecuted under the law. The response from the law's supporters was that a prosecutor would never charge a grieving parent under those circumstances. This case shows that such prosecutions can and do certainly happen.

There are nearly always strong incentives for prosecutors to over-charge defendants. Prosecutors receive praise, and are reelected and promoted based on their ability to win convictions. They're rarely punished or held accountable for over-charging, or committing misconduct en route to a conviction. They're also rarely praised or credited when they decline to bring charges in the interest of justice.

There are a couple of solutions here. Lawmakers should anticipate ways laws might be abused or misapplied -- even in scenarios that seem unlikely -- and craft laws in ways that minimize the chance that they'll be abused. The justice system should not rely on the goodwill of prosecutors.

Another solution: We need to start holding prosecutors accountable for bringing unjust charges like those brought against Nelson -- even if they may technically be legally permissible.

In nearly all jurisdictions, "prosecutor" is a political position. That means voters can realign the incentives. If Cobb County residents want to make it clear that the prosecution of Raquel Nelson is an abuse of power and a waste of resources, they could let Solicitor General Barry Morgan know, both now and next Election Day."


 But then again, the same ignorant people who are on these Jury's of so called "peers" are the same ones who vote in these defenders of our safety, protectors of our human legal rights. Don't expect anything to change for the better, as America sinks even deeper into a sewer of unfeeling, cruel, and fatal spiral of death to its existing conscience of insanity.

PLEASE CLICK ON THE WORD PETITION BELOW  TO Cobb County GA: Release Grieving Mother of Hit-and-Run & Install a Crosswalk