Judge's sentence unfair

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I am shocked and saddened at the 20-year prison sentencing of the young woman Kristine Heath, which Superior Court Judge Michael Annis handed down because he didn’t see that she had “remorse or concern or emotion” (“Woman guilty in fatal wreck,” Aug. 15).

Evidently, Judge Annis didn’t see this young woman days, weeks and months after the wreck. I did. I saw her coming in and out of church with her mother seeking comfort and guidance.

Kristy is a stoic type – a caring and helpful person to all who come in contact with her. I have had several interactions with her and have always walked away thinking, “What a nice, responsible girl.” She and her family are upstanding citizens and caring people.

My friends and I came upon that wreck that night. It was in horrible conditions – downpours of rain, wind, lightning, etc. I can understand how Kristy ran through that stop sign! That intersection is very dark and has seen several wrecks in the past.

Judge Annis should know that just because a person does not explicitly show his or her remorse in the courtroom does not mean he or she is not being tortured inside. Judge Annis has ruined a young woman’s life by handing down such a harsh sentence. There are a lot of true despicable derelicts he could fill our prisons with, but Kristy Heath is not one of them.

Teresa N. Quarles

Augusta

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deestafford
26240
Points
deestafford 08/16/13 - 12:41 am
6
5
I have driven that section of road hundreds of times and there

is not excuse for running that stop sign. There are warning strips on the pavement well before one gets to the intersection. One has to speeding and/or careless in order to run that sign no matter what the weather.

That being said, to an outside observer who is only familiar with what he read in the paper, the sentence does appear to be harsh. The good thing is the sentence can be reduced upon appeal. If the judge had given a too light of a sentence it could not have been increased upon appeal.

fedex227
11176
Points
fedex227 08/16/13 - 02:33 am
9
4
Hopefully it will be reduced.
Unpublished

20 years? Way too harsh.

corgimom
31150
Points
corgimom 08/16/13 - 05:27 am
6
18
I wonder what a fair sentence

I wonder what a fair sentence is for killing someone and seriously injuring many more people.

And Judge Annis didn't ruin her life, she did that to herself.

As for this- "Judge Annis should know that just because a person does not explicitly show his or her remorse in the courtroom does not mean he or she is not being tortured inside."

She took the stand to testify in her own defense. It was her job that, if she felt remorse, to explicitly show it. She had every opportunity to express herself.

How is this the judge's fault in any way?

Riverman1
82184
Points
Riverman1 08/16/13 - 06:20 am
19
4
An Accident

It was a driving accident. Many, including myself, have run stop signs accidentally. Many have received speeding tickets and tickets for other driving infractions. This was not a criminal matter.

There HAVE been many accidents at that stop sign. The reason the warning strips were added is because the road is so tricky with the stop sign suddenly appearing. In a pouring rain with a car full of people it would be very easy to think the warning strips were simply a road condition.

The family of the girl can sue because a death did occur, but to lock Heath up for 20 years is a travesty of justice. Trying to justify an improper sentence with the logic that the sentence can be reduced later is dangerous. We don't know what may happen later. Courts don't routinely hand out improper sentences to be corrected later. That's not how the legal system is supposed to work.

Riverman1
82184
Points
Riverman1 08/16/13 - 06:21 am
10
2
Another Columbia Cty Stop Sign Death

This reasoning that she deserves criminal punishment in prison because someone died in the accident reminds me of another case of a death at a stop sign in Columbia County. It was actually because a stop sign had been removed by the contractor working on the road. It happened a few years ago and a man was killed as he drove through. No one was arrested although it was certainly a negligent act that led to the death. As with that case, the proper legal action is a big lawsuit or settlement with the victim’s family, not a criminal penalty.

soapy_725
43672
Points
soapy_725 08/16/13 - 07:07 am
0
0
A nation of laws or opinions? Who do we like in court this week
Unpublished

A nation of laws or opinions? Who do we like in court this week

soapy_725
43672
Points
soapy_725 08/16/13 - 07:08 am
0
0
CC 1 drunk kills and gets 10? 1 negligent kills gets 20?
Unpublished

CC 1 drunk kills and gets 10? 1 negligent kills gets 20?

soapy_725
43672
Points
soapy_725 08/16/13 - 07:09 am
0
0
Who was responsible for the death of another human being?
Unpublished

Who was responsible for the death of another human being?

soapy_725
43672
Points
soapy_725 08/16/13 - 07:10 am
0
0
Maybe we should blame the other driver for the death?
Unpublished

Maybe we should blame the other driver for the death?

soapy_725
43672
Points
soapy_725 08/16/13 - 07:11 am
0
0
Wonder what the dead person thinks? Is it okay?
Unpublished

Wonder what the dead person thinks? Is it okay?

soapy_725
43672
Points
soapy_725 08/16/13 - 07:12 am
0
0
It was just an accident. No way to predict or prevent. NOT
Unpublished

It was just an accident. No way to predict or prevent. NOT

soapy_725
43672
Points
soapy_725 08/16/13 - 07:14 am
0
0
If "accidents" can't be prevented, why spend $$ on safety traini
Unpublished

If "accidents" can't be prevented, why spend $$ on safety traini

soapy_725
43672
Points
soapy_725 08/16/13 - 07:18 am
0
0
Pete can make it go away. He's done it before for matricide.
Unpublished

Pete can make it go away. He's done it before for matricide.

soapy_725
43672
Points
soapy_725 08/16/13 - 07:20 am
0
0
It was just a human life. We flush those in the toilet everyday.
Unpublished

It was just a human life. We flush those in the toilet everyday.

myfather15
54180
Points
myfather15 08/16/13 - 07:22 am
11
5
"Kristy is a stoic type – a

"Kristy is a stoic type – a caring and helpful person to all who come in contact with her."

I couldn't care less how caring and helpful she is!! Another persons life was taken away from her and her family. What I want to know, and I think SHOULD be known; is whether there was INTENT or EXTREME negligence; I would believe with a 20 years sentence, one of the two should have to be proven. With THIS sentence, I wouldn't think speeding or ACCIDENTLY running a stop sign, would be worthy of such sentence. Being DUI, in my opinion COULD BE worthy!! But If I read correctly, she was NOT convicted of any DUI.

Like I stated on the other thread, this sentence is beyond anything I've EVER seen for such an offense. I've seen people who have intentionally shot and killed people, not in self-defense; get 15 years or less. In another story, a woman who willfully entered into a relationship with an abusive man, ended up stabbing him to death and LYING about it. She didn't receive a SINGLE DAY in prison (10 years probation).

americafirst
965
Points
americafirst 08/16/13 - 07:23 am
10
2
I'm sorry but a sentence

I'm sorry but a sentence cannot be reduced on appeal. You can file an application to the Sentence Review Board but that rarely results in a reduced sentence. I suspect that the Judge himself may reduce this sentence later on a motion by defense counsel when the press won't be following the case as closely. A 20 year sentence for a mistake without any intent to do wrong or harm anyone is extemely harsh. Anyone of us could accidently run a stop sign and its just a matter of God's grace whether no one gets hurt or a death results. It would be different if she had been convicted of DUI along with vehicular homicide.

Riverman1
82184
Points
Riverman1 08/16/13 - 07:38 am
7
0
No Evidence of Alcohol Impairment

It was said by someone in the media that she had refused blood alcohol tests. I doubt that. If it were true she would have been charged as anyone is as MyFather points out on the other thread. The officer on the scene obviously didn't think a refusal was in play enough to charge her then or later. Also, some of the words used on the air were polemic. Saying she "blew" through the stop sign is not accurate. It implies she meant to run it when that's not the case.

deestafford
26240
Points
deestafford 08/16/13 - 08:06 am
7
1
From what I understand the alcohol test was taken

and the results were lost by the hospital. As a result, there is no indication on record that alcohol was a factor. I agree with the above comments that the sentence was too sever .

pantherluvcik
628
Points
pantherluvcik 08/16/13 - 08:13 am
3
13
That's 20 years more of

That's 20 years more of living life, an option that her victim didn't have. She refused a blood alcohol test and admitted to drinking. People are trying to blame everyone except the responsible party. Someone will never see their child again and others were seriously injured. Let this be a lesson to people who jump in their cars drunk. Great call by the judge in this case, finally someone with a back bone!

Marinerman1
4637
Points
Marinerman1 08/16/13 - 08:37 am
7
3
@pantherluvclk -- Sorry but

@pantherluvclk -- Sorry but the facts don't support your statements. And you have to also remember that the person who lost their life, was not belted inside the vehicle. And she was 18. My son has known since he started driving, that if I ever see him get out of a car without unbuckling a seatbelt, he is done driving.

seenitB4
85293
Points
seenitB4 08/16/13 - 09:08 am
7
1
WAAYY too much time

Lighten this sentence please.....give some time to the crooks...we sure have enough of them.

I'm Back Again
307
Points
I'm Back Again 08/16/13 - 09:25 am
0
0
For all of you who think the
Unpublished

For all of you who think the 20 yr sentence is too harsh, consider this: she won't spend anywhere near 20 yrs in prison, probably about 5. And the deceased girl will still be gone long after all if us have forgotten about the girl being in jail. The family of the deceased girl will grieve a life time, with never and end in sight.
That stop sign is easy to see, rain or shine. There are vibrating strips in the road, and stop sign ahead signs. The fact is she wasn't paying attention while she was driving and a girl died because of that. Period!

Young Fred
16597
Points
Young Fred 08/16/13 - 09:41 am
7
1
Let's get real here for a

Let's get real here for a moment.

Either there are facts we're unaware of in this case, or we've a serious problem sitting on the bench.

That seems to be the only explanation.

zazzy43
45
Points
zazzy43 08/16/13 - 09:42 am
3
2
The sentence review panel

The sentence review panel doesn't exist anymore.

myfather15
54180
Points
myfather15 08/16/13 - 10:12 am
4
1
I actually worked a crash

I actually worked a crash recently where a guy ran the stop sign at 55+ Mph and was t-boned by an 18 Wheeler. The guy that ran the sign was deceased on scene. 18 wheeler, after hitting this car, crossed the center line and hit another car head on. She was seriously injured as well. This was caught on camera, so we know he ran it VERY FAST. Unless this guy was suicidal, I doubt he was TRYING to run the sign and get hit by a BIG truck.

Was he texting, playing with radio, looking at pictures, etc. We don't know!! He wasn't from the area, so I doubt he knew the road, but there were rumble strips on the road before the sign, so he SHOULD have known it was coming. Again, tragic; but would you give someone like this 20 years?

Jake
32320
Points
Jake 08/16/13 - 11:04 am
5
1
Why don't.....

.....you ask the parents and family of the victim what they think. After all they are the ones who had to bury their loved one.

Sweet son
10053
Points
Sweet son 08/16/13 - 11:11 am
5
1
Riverman is right! That's why they call it an "accident."

No indication that she was driving impaired so all of the charges should have been misdemeanors with probation as the sentence. No amount of time in jail will bring the young woman back.

Little Lamb
45282
Points
Little Lamb 08/16/13 - 11:12 am
7
2
Sentence Reduction

Scott Dean hasn't had any luck getting his 20-year sentence reduced.

...point to ponder
743
Points
...point to ponder 08/16/13 - 11:56 am
6
1
...too harsh

I'd like to see the sentences given out by the court system to the 'real' bad criminals.

*Maybe 5 years...at most...with early parole.

Riverman1
82184
Points
Riverman1 08/16/13 - 12:00 pm
5
1
DUI Less Safe Was Charged

Okay, I saw the post on the other thread that she was charged previously with DUI Less Safe from this accident, but was found not guilty in court. Someone also emailed me that info. That had MyFather and me puzzled. Apparently she had refused the breathalyzer because she wanted to accompany her sister in the ambulance and that was the reason for the charge. Anyway, she was found not guilty, as far as I know, and that means alcohol cannot be considered a factor in this trial.

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