Inconsistencies in Sentencing is a Disservice to Many Victims

Inconsistencies in Sentencing is a Disservice to Many Victims

A twenty-three year old Phoenix woman was recently sentenced to eight years in prison for running a red light and causing a fatal crash that killed a 50 year old man at a bus stop. Speed, alcohol or drugs were not a factor. She pleaded guilty to manslaughter and aggravated assault.

Before you begin applauding the legal system for getting it right for a change, you should know the only reason for the stiff sentence is because she left the scene of the crash, later turning herself in. If she had stayed at the crash scene, her penalty would most likely have been a modest monetary fine, a suspended driver’s license and maybe some community service – no jail time.

Leaving the scene of a fatal crash is obviously against the law and should carry an additional penalty, however, in my opinion, the more serious offense of running a red light and killing an innocent man should carry a hefty penalty as well.

What the courts are saying is the irresponsible behavior of causing a red light running crash that kills someone is less egregious than being scared and leaving the scene after the crash. Don’t get me wrong, not remaining at the crash site is cowardly even if you are scared, but the penalty imposed should be greater for the act that actually resulted in taking a person’s life.


Maria is the Co-founder and COO of DrivingMBA. She has over 20 years of organization development experience working with a wide range of organizations. In addition to the use of traditional organization development techniques, she is highly skilled in large systems change and organization learning, with formal training in both specialties. She has extensive experience in the field of adult learning concepts, and in the design and facilitation of adult learning experiences and interventions at all levels, and sizes of organizations.

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