Well, he should have lost his license for a long time. That part at least seems strange.
But let's be honest. He was careless, and in the criminal justice system careless is a lot less culpable than the intentional crimes we usually deal with. Since I work in the field, here is a sampler platter of a few murder cases in our area:
Victim killed and stuffed into a suitcase. Jury says 20 years.
Victim killed when over-the-road truck driver falls asleep at the wheel and hits a cager. Prosecutor says three years.
Victim raped, beaten, stangled, set on fire, and ultimately stabbed in the neck with a pencil. Prosecutor wants the death penalty. (And will probably get it.)
Mother puts newborn in a trashbag in her college dorm. Jury says ten years.
All cases are different. Defendants are different, too. A long-time career criminal can take a 20 year sentence and serve it without a lot of complaints; he has nothing to lose. On the other hand, I have seen productive citizens commit suicide over two- or three- year sentences (or even civil judgments) because it means losing everything they have, which is substantial. Newspaper articles generally don't even begin to cover all of the factors that go into a decision on most any case, let alone one where somebody died. Aside from the lack of a license suspension (I think anytime someone dies as a result of your driving negligence you should lose your license for a very long time), I won't criticize what a court ends up doing with so little information.
As far as a civil award goes, yes, I would expect quite a large amount to be awarded.
One these days, a few of the more reactionary among us will take things into their own hands:
"Hello, Mr. Johnson, Hello, Mr. Janklow (sound of chains dragging, piece of pipe being tapped into an open hand)...we've been waiting for your release...."
As much as we may yearn for eye-for-eye justice, nothing will replace a fallen rider, father, spouse, friend, etc.
Plus, if two cars collided, how would the outcome differ? In 2003, I was a passenger in an SUV rollover at about 70 on the highway: my seatbelt ratchet broke, allowing me to go through the windshield as we rolled over the edge of a 20' retaining wall. Pretty much my whole left side crushed and ground into the asphalt as I impacted and slid to a stop.
Now, I only get around on two wheels; I get nauseous otherwise.
The point is, anytime we're out there in the hardscape, ***** can and will happen. All we can do is try to prevent it as much as possible and go for the maximum sentencing when we come across such gravely irresponsible fools as our friends Janklow and Johnson. Rest assured that they are not the last, either. Motorists do the same thing to each other all the time.
I say it wasn't murder at all. Murder requires intent, this guy certainly wasn't trying to kill anyone, and while I agree that 2 years sounds pretty lenient on its face, I'm not going to question the reasoning behind it. I'd be curious to know if it was the judge or jury that decided the sentence.
It's pretty apparent from the fact that this guy created a substantial risk by his actions, and that he knew what he was doing created that risk. For that, he's guilty and that's why he's serving his time. Don't accuse him of murder, because you might be riding your motorcycle near the shoulder of the road one day to get around some traffic, and someone could step out in front of you, and you could kill them. You wouldn't want to be labeled a murderer for that would you?
As for the monetary damages, it sounds like they hit him with everything they could here because this was a CRIMINAL case, where punitive damages are probalby not available. Stay tuned for the CIVIL trial where the family sues him for wrongful death, and then watch the punitive damages pile up.
Who of you have never been in a hurry or have never ran a red light! You probably got away without consequence.. as I have..but we rolled the dice and got lucky. Maybe we should all slow down.. nothing is so urgent that we must risk a life!
mr johnson was not drunk..he wasn't a deranged meth addict..he was a fellow on the way to work who tried to beat a light and hit a motorcycle. i don't see anything criminal about his actions...assume it was a rider who did the same thing and hit a car and the driver of the car died. do you really think the rider should be criminally prosecuted?
Since none of us have devined a method of raising the dead, especially one involving prison time, no length of sentence is going to bring Randy Sanchez back to his family. Based on this report I am pretty sure that Johnson never intended to kill anyone that morning and simply suffered a lapse of judgement that had terrible consequences. I and everyone who reads this site occasionally does something really stupid that could easily result in tragedy. Luck is simply on our side most of the time. As has been pointed out Johnson was not drunk, high, or a member of Al Queda. He is just some poor schmuck who did something that I'm betting he really wishes he could undo.
I am quite sure that if Johnson is like most of us the prision sentence is nothing next to the guilt he's going to feel every night the rest of his life when he's trying to go the sleep and that is going to greet him first thing in the morning.
I agree with his sentence and feel bad for everyone involved. RIP Randy Sanchez. Rather than howl for vengence against Johnson I'd rather do something to help the Sanchez family. Do they have a fund setup?
Mr. Johnson is a self-absorbed ******* who, despite the lessons of age and experience, decided that his trivial little job was infinitely more important than anyone else on the road.
His negligent, egocentric actions have consequences. Throw the book at the bastard. I feel no pity.
If you feel some bit of "there but for the grace of God go I" that is clearly clouding your judgement, then change your ways while you still can. Or kill some car driver and join Mr. Johnson in jail with a jar of super lube.
Someone please get a mop, there's a bleeding heart making a mess all over the forum.
Quit making excuses for the bastard. He is old enough to understand the potential consequences of his actions. Or are you saying that Mr. Johnson is retarded?
If you are regularly doing things that are "really stupid" on the street then consider Mr. Johnson to be your wakeup call to join the world of responsible adults. And please don't delude yourself into thinking that everyone is behaving as you are (i.e., regular lapses in judgement).
Let's say, you get up in the morning, after a prvious week of dealing-with numerous haried-responibilites due to family, friends and work, and your sleep has been of little quality and less duration.
After two cups of coffee, kids raising Hell, your wife PMSing, one donut and-maybe a couple disqueiting phone-calls (about where-when-how and how-quickly things are needed from you) you find yourself in your car.
Now, while no one-thing of epic-proportions has happened that morning, your're late and about three-minutes shy of putting a gun to your head.
You see an opening in traffic, you decide "What the Hell!" you take a (what for you is uncharateristic) chance, and horror results, as an unseen-motorcyclist crosses your path, and you hit and kill him.
Yes! Yes! Yes! Kill the Bastard! But first, couldn't we all be charged, with stupid, harried impatient-contempt?
So, as for me, I offer my sympathy to the family; but I (a sinner) won't throw the first stone. Call me a Liberal-Pu$$y, if you like; but I, however, own a mirror, and know that I've done worse.
Sportbike pilot makes a great point. How many times have any of us done something like this cause we were late? That said I can't imagine what Sanchez's family is going through. Yes the judge probably should of given Sanchez some more time in prison and some probation. But I wish Janklow would of received the same treatment. In the Red state of South Dakota, Janklow broke two laws (speeding and running a stop sign) but received a dramatically lighter punishment. I know if Janklow would of pulled the same crap in Blue Washington State the reaction from the legal system would be much different. So much for the term bleeding heart liberals in SD it was corrupt bleeding heart conservatives who let Janklow go...But still people (GPTB, Harlely brothers) go to Sturgis Go Figure...
The "Silent Lurker" strikes again, but I need not say anything further since his own spouted ignorance says everything for me.
Although I am usually one of the first to yell "Off with their heads" when something like this happens, I appreciate bits of insight like that of junkvist & SBP. My prayers are with the victim and his loved ones.
I've never run a red light. I ignore the "qualitative" traffic regulations with great regularity (speed, following distance etc.) but traffic control signals I take very seriously (stop, yield etc.).
It's easy to get confused because of the focus on speed and aggressive driving - but neither of these behaviors is inherently dangerous. Ignoring accepted traffic control measures, though, including stop signs and traffic lights, is incredibly dangerous and incredibly stupid during normal drive times (late nights, no traffic, clear views for miles - different story).
O.J. Simpson gave us a great perspective on the court system of today. Your sentencing matches your pocket book not your crime. This guy could afford about a two year lawyer, Janklow obviously afforded a better one.
r.i.p. Mr. Sanchez
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