Too soon?

August 29, 2008

The trucker who fell asleep at the wheel and killed five, including the two in the famous mixed-up identity case, could have gotten 24 years. He ended up serving two. What do you think? Was that enough?

Spencer pleaded guilty last year and was given an eight-year prison sentence with four years suspended. Jay Circuit Judge Brian Hutchison could have sentenced Spencer to as long as 24 years in prison under a deal with prosecutors, but he noted Spencer’s remorse and cooperation. Spencer then received credit for good behavior and nearly a year already served before he was sentenced in August.

[. . .]

The judge also ordered the high school dropout, as conditions of his probation, to earn his GED within a year of his release from prison, to pay a $5,000 fine and to serve 100 hours of community service for each of the five lives he took. He also cannot drive professionally while on probation.

“I know I’ll have to deal with this the rest of my life,” Spencer said at his sentencing hearing.

Yes, he will. Would keeping him in prison longer serve any purpose except to make the victims’ families feel better? OK, if I knew one of the victims, I’d probably feel the same way some of the quoted people feel. No amount of time will bring anybody back, but this just seems too little time. But the point has been made by incarcerating him — the rules are different for truckers from what they are for ordinary motorists.

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