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Author Topic: 89 year old man sentenced in farmers market crash
TurquoiseGirl
The "Was on Sale" Song


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Linky

quote:
"I will simply never understand Mr. Weller's indifference to the victims in this case and I will never understand his stubborn and bullheaded refusal to accept responsibility and put this matter to rest for everyone, including himself," Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Johnson said.
quote:
The judge said, "Sending Mr. Weller to jail or prison would be a burden on prison authorities. It would require taxpayers to pay the substantial costs of Mr. Weller's medical care and it would likely kill Mr. Weller. None of that is right and it makes no sense, so I will place Mr. Weller on probation."
My compassionate and vengeful sides are at serious war on this issue. On the one hand, we don't want to put nearly nonagenarians in prison where they will not survive-- that seems cruel. On the other hand, driving is a privilege, not a right, and if you abuse the privilege, you agree to the consequences.

I also suspect that a younger person would have been jailed, no matter what hardship it would have cause him/her (or his/her family).

What say you?

Edited because spelling

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There are people who drive really nice cars who feel that [those] cars won't be as special if other people drive them too. Where I come from, we call those people "selfish self-satisfied gits." -Chloe

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GenYus
Away in a Manager's Special


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I say he should face stiffer penelties than probation. If prison would cost so much, why not put him on house arrest?

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IIRC, it wasn't the shoe bomber's loud prayers that sparked the takedown by the other passengers; it was that he was trying to light his shoe on fire. Very, very different. Canuckistan

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Lainie
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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When the judge said:

quote:
It (jailing Mr. Weller) would require taxpayers to pay the substantial costs of Mr. Weller's medical care and it would likely kill Mr. Weller.
I assumed he was listing the arguments against a jail sentence in decreasing order of importance.

ETA: Re: house arrest, it would have symbolic value, but I don't think it would make much practical difference in Mr. Weller's life. Another article I read said that he is under 24-hour medical care. Doesn't sound like he gets out much.

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How homophobic do you have to be to have penguin gaydar? - Lewis Black

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TurquoiseGirl
The "Was on Sale" Song


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According to the story I heard this morning, he is actually on house arrest, literally and effectively as he is supposedly bedridden with guilt [Roll Eyes] . My cynical side said that was a great way to avoid facing people in court.

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There are people who drive really nice cars who feel that [those] cars won't be as special if other people drive them too. Where I come from, we call those people "selfish self-satisfied gits." -Chloe

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Rhiandmoi
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The prosecutor did not recommend prison time during the sentencing phase either.
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-weller21nov21,1,5848828.story?page=1&coll=la-headlines-california

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I think that hyperbole is the single greatest factor contributing to the decline of society. - My friend Pat.

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mags
Jingle Bell Hock


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quote:
Originally posted by Lainie:
Another article I read said that he is under 24-hour medical care. Doesn't sound like he gets out much.

Too bad that didn't happen earlier, those people would still be alive.
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TurquoiseGirl
The "Was on Sale" Song


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I guess what bothers me the most is that these folks were killed in the commission of another crime. Weller was running away from a minor traffic accident he had been involved in at the time. I am sure it was panic, but holy cow. That is just wrong, wrong, wrong. If he had done the right thing and stayed at the scene, those people would still be alive.

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There are people who drive really nice cars who feel that [those] cars won't be as special if other people drive them too. Where I come from, we call those people "selfish self-satisfied gits." -Chloe

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Lainie
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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His comments immediately after the accident were horrifyingly callous.

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How homophobic do you have to be to have penguin gaydar? - Lewis Black

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GenYus
Away in a Manager's Special


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I agree with Lainie, the comments after the accident show total disregard for others.

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IIRC, it wasn't the shoe bomber's loud prayers that sparked the takedown by the other passengers; it was that he was trying to light his shoe on fire. Very, very different. Canuckistan

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Rebochan the Retail Reindeer
Good King Wal-Mart


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It drives me insane that there is nothing so little in place to prevent drivers whose skills have deteriorated from getting behind the wheel of a car, where people in that same age group complain about letting "children" drive.

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"One original thought is worth a thousand mindless quotings." -- Diogenes

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GenYus
Away in a Manager's Special


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quote:
Originally posted by Lainie:
ETA: Re: house arrest, it would have symbolic value, but I don't think it would make much practical difference in Mr. Weller's life. Another article I read said that he is under 24-hour medical care. Doesn't sound like he gets out much.

That's true now, but his condition may not be terminal or permanant. If he gets better, then house arrest will have a very different meaning than probation. Also, house arrest will provide better ability to find him if he happens to decide to drive again.

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IIRC, it wasn't the shoe bomber's loud prayers that sparked the takedown by the other passengers; it was that he was trying to light his shoe on fire. Very, very different. Canuckistan

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Lainie
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quote:
Originally posted by Finding Rebochan:
It drives me insane that there is nothing so little in place to prevent drivers whose skills have deteriorated from getting behind the wheel of a car, where people in that same age group complain about letting "children" drive.

Having read the account Rhiandmoi posted, including excerpts from the judge's statement, I'm not convinced that deteriorating driving skills were a major factor in this particular accident. Apparently he managed to do some pretty nifty steering to avoid hitting stationary objects.

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How homophobic do you have to be to have penguin gaydar? - Lewis Black

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TurquoiseGirl
The "Was on Sale" Song


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From Rhi's link:
quote:
John Wayne Haug, Weaver's brother, was in court and believed that Johnson did the right thing. "The judge summed up the way I felt," Haug said. "It would have been different had he been 25 or 30."
[flame]

Not for the people who died. Wow. 78 people dead or injured. This is unbelievable.


That link also had the full extent of Weller's remarks as paramedics were working to save one of his victims:

"How do you think I feel?" WTF? I mean WTF.

Is there any law in California that prevents him from owning a car after this? Can anyone lending him a car be held in contempt of court of something.


ETA: I saw that,too, Lainie. Why do I have the feeling if he was young and non-white there would have been an execution in his future?

--------------------
There are people who drive really nice cars who feel that [those] cars won't be as special if other people drive them too. Where I come from, we call those people "selfish self-satisfied gits." -Chloe

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Rhiandmoi
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by Lainie:
quote:
Originally posted by Finding Rebochan:
It drives me insane that there is nothing so little in place to prevent drivers whose skills have deteriorated from getting behind the wheel of a car, where people in that same age group complain about letting "children" drive.

Having read the account Rhiandmoi posted, including excerpts from the judge's statement, I'm not convinced that deteriorating driving skills were a major factor in this particular accident. Apparently he managed to do some pretty nifty steering to avoid hitting stationary objects.
Even his defense said that elderly people have the same responsibilities as younger people when they choose to drive.

Some more info on the sentencing

quote:
In court papers filed yesterday, prosecutors Sam Dordulian and Ann Ambrose said they felt it was "appropriate for the court to order an independent medical and psychological assessment of the defendant in order to determine his exact medical conditions and physical abilities."

Such assessments are typically done with a defendant in custody at a Department of Corrections facility and usually take about 90 days.

"Absent extraordinary circumstances, the facts of this case would warrant a state prison sentence," the prosecutors wrote, noting that the deputy probation officer's report recommends state prison.

"Given the defendant's age, lack of prior convictions and claimed medical impairments, the People acknowledge that there may be extraordinary circumstances that mitigate against a state prison sentence," the prosecution's memorandum says.

So I guess the state did ask for a prison sentence if he was found healthy enough to serve in prison. But the judge found that he was not healthy enough.

ETA:
The judges sentencing notes:
http://www.nbc4.tv/download/2006/1121/10366522.pdf

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I think that hyperbole is the single greatest factor contributing to the decline of society. - My friend Pat.

What is .02 worth?

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TurquoiseGirl
The "Was on Sale" Song


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I am wondering what, specifically, would have been so hard about prison (compared to say, I don't know, maybe driving) that would make it a hardship to go. He could be put in a minimum security place, couldn't he? It's not like they were going to send him to do hard labor or something.

Although I do get the part about the state covering his medical bills. That seems kind of like a big "screw you" from the judge to him and makes me feel a little better.

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There are people who drive really nice cars who feel that [those] cars won't be as special if other people drive them too. Where I come from, we call those people "selfish self-satisfied gits." -Chloe

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Mickey Blue
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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I guess we come full circle to asking what are the important parts of prison?

Safety (for society): Seems like this could be managed fairly well through house arrest and taking away his car. Give him one of those martha stewart leg things and be done with it.

Rehabilitation: Since he's likly to be dead by the time he gets out anyways I don't think this is too terribly likely.

Punishment: And here is the one with the ethical twist.. It would certainly be punishment for him in jail, but because of his medical hardships it would be that much harder, according to what they are suggesting (assuming they are correct) it could very well end up killing him. On the other hand, "you do the crime, you do the time". Those people aren't gonna get to come back, he killed them, way earlier in their lives then he's gonna end up going, and there are no doubt minimum security places where he can live fine, I mean there must be other criminals, of varying ages, who have medical problems that need constant assessment, I don't picture this guy making big rocks into small rocks on a chain gang somewhere.


If I got to choose? Prison, it would all but guerentee he won't be driving anymore and I can't seem to muster up any tears regarding his medical condition, should have though of that before committing crimes.. Besides where do you draw the line? How many laws can the very elderly break before they end up earning that jail time?

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"All people are responsible for the good that they didn't do"

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