By: Joseph D’Amore – September, 2012
A week ago I almost struck from behind a motorcyclist who had come to a sudden stop. I was not looking other than straight away on the road, I was not texting, phoning or changing radio station. I was simply mulling over a work issue in my mind and in a lapse of unknown seconds the traffic condition had changed into a potentially catastrophic one and my reaction to it was misaligned.
That’s it . In one blink of an eye quite literally . So what if I was texting? What if I was reaching for a coffee or looking over to my side, or picking up my cell phone. I still get a shiver just thinking about it.
Aaron Deveau is a very decent young man from all accounts. He is touted by Attorney Blodgett for probable political gains later as the “first” texting-driving -negligent conviction. The plea Deveau made that he was negligent in driving but not texting at the point of impact of a terrible accident was swept away. It was not acceptable to the prosecution. Of course not, the drive to make an example with a brand new law superseded any sense of balance and justice.
Donald Bowley from all accounts was a beloved grandfather and friend to all. He did not deserve his life to be short-lived in the prime of it. Luz Roman a vibrant and active woman did not need her happy path in life erased She has lost a dear friend and lives in pain . Her ability to function has made a future impossible to discern. She continues to be a victim and so do Mr. Bowley’s family.
Their sentence will never be “suspended”
.So what justice exactly was meted that should make the victim’s family and Ms. Roman and her family feel that justice was done? Has the public been served by being in a safer state now?
The September 30, 2010 law spells it out clearly: Driving while texting which causes injury is a negligent act which is a punishable crime. To the extent of the law the punishment can earn a distracted-texting driver 2 1/2 years in the House of Correction. So in this case because Judge Abany correctly surmised that he was dealing with essentially a good kid, he creates a confusing sentence that lead Attorney Blodgett to correctly label it as a “no win “ situation for everyone.
Deveau was delivered a sentence of 2 1/2 years in the House of Correction on motor vehicular homicide, 2 years for texting and here’s where it gets convoluted , 1 year concurrent on both charges with the balance suspended for five years. Only the 15 year license suspension makes sense here.
So with this sentence anyone who asserts that the victim’s families have not been served has a valid point. Anyone who feels that Deveau is being victimized for political gain is right too. Remember, these high profile cases often lead to election wins and pay raises later folks , so let’s not sweep that under the carpet too.
What should happen here is something a bit more balanced. How about a healthy dose of community service thrown in along with jail time. In addition to suspended portions and loss of license for 15 years, Deveau should serve 2 years but be allowed to furlough frequently with supervision to talk to teens in Massachusetts schools about the consequences of texting and driving and how his life changed “in the blink of an eye”. And where would the money come from to do this? By deferring raises to prosecutors who enjoy career gains with high profile cases when the underlying “criminal” is really not a criminal. In Massachusetts this remains a clear incentive to impose inadequate justice.
Are there any state legislators willing to write legislation to address this?
My daughter is a new driver and approaching 17 years of age. I would wish for her to meet Aaron Deveau and hear from him directly what happened to his life and those he changed without being a bad kid.
That will never happen with the current inward looking and self-serving justice system.