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#1 2017-08-10 01:56:52

MichaelBluejay
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From: Austin, TX
Registered: 2008-05-26
Posts: 985
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Driver gets probation for killing ped Philip Wood on 3/2/14 @ Mopac

On 3/2/14, Philip Wood, 23, was walking across Mopac when he was killed in a hit & run by Joseph Cantu.  Three and a half years later, Cantu was sentenced to:

* Six years probation
* Two nights in jail for each of those six years (12 days in jail total)
* 200 hours of community service
* No alcohol during the probation term
* Ignition interlock during the probation period
* Court-ordered panel for DWI offenders
* Treatment & counseling
* Write a letter of apology to the victim's family

Despite the lack of meaningful jail time, his lawyer called the sentence "vindictive and petty".

Is the lack of meaningful jail time the result of the judge feeling that Wood was partially at fault for crossing Mopac on foot at night, or is it just because hit & run drivers rarely get significant jail time in general?  After all, Cantu's lawyer seems outraged that he got any jail time at all.

http://kxan.com/2017/08/09/man-sentence … k-athlete/

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#2 2017-08-10 10:24:16

RedFalcon
Member
Registered: 2013-10-10
Posts: 122

Re: Driver gets probation for killing ped Philip Wood on 3/2/14 @ Mopac

To me it is the "run" part of hit and run that is the biggest problem because it involves clear intent to do wrong.   I can see how a good driver, who is paying attention, is sober, and is trying to be careful, might hit someone who suddenly bolts out in front of the car.  In this case it seems that alcohol was involved, though.

BUT, to hit someone and then leave that person for dead is very serious.   This goes far beyond making a bad choice.  To leave someone suffering and dying means you have checked out of the human race.   To get a couple of weeks of jail for that is a joke.   I'm opposed to the death penalty for a number of reasons, but if I were to be convinced of its usefulness it would be for cases exactly like this.

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#3 2017-08-10 18:02:11

MichaelBluejay
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From: Austin, TX
Registered: 2008-05-26
Posts: 985
Website

Re: Driver gets probation for killing ped Philip Wood on 3/2/14 @ Mopac

I certainly agree that it's the fleeing part (and the drinking) that makes this far more serious than a mere accident.

Why do you think the sentence was so meagre?  Because the victim was seen to be significantly at fault, or because drivers just don't face much consequences for their crimes in general?

People always ask me (like my wife did right now) exactly why a sentence was so light, or why a grand jury declined to indict, etc., as though that's answerable.  We don't usually get a detailed explanation of their rationale.

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#4 2017-08-11 23:57:41

RedFalcon
Member
Registered: 2013-10-10
Posts: 122

Re: Driver gets probation for killing ped Philip Wood on 3/2/14 @ Mopac

MichaelBluejay wrote:

Why do you think the sentence was so meagre?

I think the sentences for these things are light because the judges, lawyers, jurors, cops, spectators, court reporters, court stenographers, witnesses, and janitors who clean the courtrooms after it's all done, all have the same thing on their minds.  And that is:

There, but for the grace of God, go I.

They have all driven while a bit tipsy, cut corners, checked their text messages, gotten angry at other road users, and driven over the speed limit.

And since they know, deep down, that they are not going to stop doing those things, they are hesitant to go too hard on someone who got unlucky and killed one of those damn pedestrians or cyclists who got in their way.

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