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-   -   US diplomat's wife kills UK teenager, claims diplomatic immunity (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=883258)

atimnie 12-22-2019 05:31 PM

That's justice, not vengeance. Vengeance would be going after her personally outside of the legal system.

bob++ 12-22-2019 06:13 PM

Unless the lady was swigging vodka out of a bottle with one hand while texting on her phone with the other at the time, a prison sentence is unlikely. Fourteen years is the maximum. Maximum sentences are quite rare here and only for the most heinous of crimes.

casdave 12-23-2019 04:42 AM

It is incredibly unlikely she would get anything near 14 years, I have seen dangerous driving offenders kill people, who had no licence, no road tax, no insurance and previously banned off the road and get nothing like 14 years - and these are at the very high end of the sentence scale.

https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news...prise-15531777

It is not all that unusual to be sentenced to non-custodial community service, I think that if she were to appear in court the charge would be downgraded to careless driving, she would be fined if found guilty and even a dangerous driving conviction is not likely to see her in prison at all - I doubt she could even lose her licence because there is no way that would take effect in the US anyway.

Mijin 12-23-2019 05:14 AM

Instead of immunity, a better system might be to agree that for serious crimes, diplomats can be prosecuted but the sentence cannot exceed what the punishment would be in their home country for that crime. Or just the whole prosecution happens in their home country.
I'm aware that this could be extremely difficult to implement; court systems are of course not set up for this kind of thing.
But something has to be better than a diplomat's brat son hypothetically being able to rape a child, and the response simply being to shrug and say something something saudi arabia.

puzzlegal 12-23-2019 09:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DrDeth (Post 22041866)
Apparently his parents are rich and are causing a fuss hiring a top lawyer, and they want vengeance, wishing Sacoolas to go to prison for 14 years. Otherwise this would have died down.

That makes sense.

Quote:

Originally Posted by atimnie (Post 22041893)
That's justice, not vengeance. Vengeance would be going after her personally outside of the legal system.

Naw, it's vengeance. The justice system channels the available outlets for vengeance and keeps them in check.

PatrickLondon 12-23-2019 09:50 AM

Granted, people suffering as a result of something like this might find it hard to distinguish "justice" from "vengeance" (which is why there is due legal process in the first place) - but is it really "vengeance" to expect that due legal process to apply to anyone in her situation?

bob++ 12-23-2019 10:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DrDeth (Post 22041866)
Apparently his parents are rich and are causing a fuss hiring a top lawyer, and they want vengeance, wishing Sacoolas to go to prison for 14 years. Otherwise this would have died down.

What's your cite for "his parents are rich"?

Quote:

In addition to being a tense point right now in British-American relations, the case brings up stark class division, with the wealthy Sacoolas family able to skate away on their privilege as the working-class Dunn family is left grieving for their dead son.

https://www.insideover.com/politics/...-flees-uk.html

puzzlegal 12-23-2019 10:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PatrickLondon (Post 22042739)
Granted, people suffering as a result of something like this might find it hard to distinguish "justice" from "vengeance" (which is why there is due legal process in the first place) - but is it really "vengeance" to expect that due legal process to apply to anyone in her situation?

Well, it depends on whether she actually has immunity. But if she can't be punished anyway, yes, obsessing over whether the case can be fully investigated is about seeking vengeance. And any desire for a 14 year prison term is certainly about vengeance -- unless she was high on some illegal drug or gunning to kill someone that day, that's WAY more punishment than fits the crime -- which may be a misdemeanor, in US terms.

casdave 12-23-2019 11:33 AM

What, am I chopped liver?

Didn't you read my post re likelihood of a 14 tear sentence?

This is not going to happen, in fact it is more likely that she will not be given a custodial sentence at all.

Corry El 12-23-2019 11:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GreenWyvern (Post 22039390)
It's easy to make a mistake when you start driving on the other side of the road. The danger comes not so much when you first start, because then you are being exceptionally careful and paying 100% attention to what you are doing, but after a few days, when you start getting used to driving on the other side of the road, but you still have most of your old instincts.

Hell, I've done the same thing myself when transitioning from one system to another - I've turned out of a driveway onto an empty street and driven on the wrong side of the road for a few hundred yards before seeing a traffic light further on, and quickly getting back on the right side of the road.

BUT... and this is a big BUT... we don't know the facts of the case. We are only speculating.

I agree with all that, I also recall recently driving in Ireland, one time after turning around in a driveway while sort of lost and a bit stressed on a country road, I drove a few 10's meters on the right (not that small Irish country roads always have enough room for cars to pass in opposite directions anyway...:) ). But that was second day, first day I was 100% focused 'drive on the left, drive on the left'.

On other link though about CIA, drone etc that seems to me irrelevant to this woman's situation, which I like you don't really know. Or only relevant in that some people might be making more of a big deal of it than any other fatal accident (a word which doesn't necessarily mean 'nobody's fault') because of the politics of US/UK foreign policy cooperation those people don't agree with.

As to culpability it's true AFAIK in US or UK (basically similar legal systems) that you are culpable for stuff a reasonable person should have known. A reasonable person should know you need to drive on the left in UK and on the right in the US. I don't see any way to argue *innocence* based on ignorance of basic, general traffic laws. It could be a mitigating circumstance in deciding your punishment though. Or alternatively further evidence of particular provable aspects of recklessness an aggravating factor. And like others said something more specific like driving the wrong way down a poorly lit or marked one way street would be different.

As far as legal reach of immunity I also don't know, but it's like anything else of that kind. If the country agreed to have the foreign personnel there under a particular agreement as to immunity, that's on that host govt, back around to political debate about US operations hosted by UK which isn't really relevant to this particular woman's guilt. If a legal argument can be made she really wasn't covered by immunity, well lawyers can work that out. It isn't a function of her fault and definitely not of whether particular UK citizens agree with particular joint US/UK operations.

My understanding albeit via first hand accounts is that in Saudi Arabia the legal system tends to operate on the principal 'well if you'd been in your home country, where you belong, this traffic incident never would have happened' and your actual fault isn't the only factor legally.

GreenWyvern 12-23-2019 12:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by puzzlegal (Post 22042685)
Naw, it's vengeance.

I'm sure you're right, Puzzlegal.

Now let's suppose, for example, some Pakistani guy, stationed in the United States working for the Pakistani government, and with dubious/questionable diplomatic status, killed an innocent young American girl in a road accident - driving on the wrong side of the road + some other unreleased circumstances. Then he fled the country claiming diplomatic immunity, rather than face a charge of dangerous driving in a US court, and Pakistan refused to extradite him.

I just know you would be highly supportive of that Pakistani guy, Puzzlegal - because anybody can make an honest mistake about which side of the road you drive on in the USA, right? And I'm sure you would feel that the parents of that young girl were overreacting if they made a fuss about it. After all, if your kid gets killed, it's just one of things. They should get over it, and stop seeking vengeance and persecuting that poor, innocent Pakistani official. I mean, if the same thing happened in Pakistan, it would be regarded as trivial, so why should he have to face harsh foreign laws in an American court? That's unreasonable.

It's always nice to see someone with such a keen sense of justice.

PatrickLondon 12-23-2019 12:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by puzzlegal (Post 22042856)
But if she can't be punished anyway, yes, obsessing over whether the case can be fully investigated is about seeking vengeance. And any desire for a 14 year prison term is certainly about vengeance -- unless she was high on some illegal drug or gunning to kill someone that day, that's WAY more punishment than fits the crime -- which may be a misdemeanor, in US terms.

It turns in the first instance on whether she can face a court here, but if she can, the CPS has determined what charge is justified, having heard what the police have been able to investigate. Who said anything about "desire" for a 14-year term? It's the specified maximum for this offence, but prosecutors in the UK have no say on sentencing (still less do grieving relatives). The CPS's job is to assess whether the evidence amounts to a 50% or better chance of conviction, and to prepare the case for trial. What punishment may fit the crime depends on that evidence once a court has heard it and a jury has determined whether the case is proved: one of our courts following our law. What might happen in US terms is neither here nor there.

DrDeth 12-23-2019 01:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GreenWyvern (Post 22043015)
I'm sure you're right, Puzzlegal.

Now let's suppose, for example, some Pakistani guy, stationed in the United States working for the Pakistani government, and with dubious/questionable diplomatic status, killed an innocent young American girl in a road accident - driving on the wrong side of the road + some other unreleased circumstances. Then he fled the country claiming diplomatic immunity, rather than face a charge of dangerous driving in a US court, and Pakistan refused to extradite him.

I just know you would be highly supportive of that Pakistani guy, Puzzlegal - because anybody can make an honest mistake about which side of the road you drive on in the USA, right? ....

It's always nice to see someone with such a keen sense of justice.

I have always been very against prison for a accident. American or Pakistani.

And of course Sacoolas left the UK on the advice of the State Dept, not her own volition. She didnt have a lot of choice. SHE didnt claim Diplomatic immunity, the State dept did that for her.

casdave 12-23-2019 01:15 PM

Until it is tested in court, how can you assume it is an accident?

puzzlegal 12-23-2019 01:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GreenWyvern (Post 22043015)
I'm sure you're right, Puzzlegal.

Now let's suppose, for example, some Pakistani guy, stationed in the United States working for the Pakistani government, and with dubious/questionable diplomatic status, killed an innocent young American girl in a road accident - driving on the wrong side of the road + some other unreleased circumstances. Then he fled the country claiming diplomatic immunity, rather than face a charge of dangerous driving in a US court, and Pakistan refused to extradite him.

I just know you would be highly supportive of that Pakistani guy, Puzzlegal - because anybody can make an honest mistake about which side of the road you drive on in the USA, right? And I'm sure you would feel that the parents of that young girl were overreacting if they made a fuss about it. After all, if your kid gets killed, it's just one of things. They should get over it, and stop seeking vengeance and persecuting that poor, innocent Pakistani official. I mean, if the same thing happened in Pakistan, it would be regarded as trivial, so why should he have to face harsh foreign laws in an American court? That's unreasonable.

It's always nice to see someone with such a keen sense of justice.

I don't blame the parents or think they are over-reacting. It's their child, after all. I do feel like a lot of the posters on this board are over-reacting.

If the Pakistani had fled the US at the advice of his state department, and I didn't know the people, I honestly wouldn't care very much. No, I don't feel that justice demands the Pakistani be extradited. For a traffic accident? To what gain? The guy is no longer in the country, and certainly won't do it again.

And I'm dubious that the British punishment would be significantly different from the US punishment. I'm not sure where you got that. I just don't know the right words for the UK variations of offence, so I used the words I am familiar with.

DrDeth 12-23-2019 02:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by casdave (Post 22043185)
Until it is tested in court, how can you assume it is an accident?

No one is entertaining any idea that it was deliberate. It was a accident, of that there is not doubt.

Really Not All That Bright 12-23-2019 02:14 PM

Are you against prison terms for drunk drivers? If they kill someone, it's still an accident.

puzzlegal 12-23-2019 03:58 PM

So... I think people are using "accident" to mean different things. I work in the insurance industry, and we distinguish between at-fault accidents and not-at-fault accidents. So the way I use the word, it doesn't mean no one is to blame. It means the outcome was unintended.

Someone is at fault in the vast majority of auto accidents. The others would be things like when a deer suddenly runs in front of a car.

But I think some of you are using "accident" to mean no one is at fault.

PatrickLondon 12-24-2019 12:42 AM

Precisely so.

There could be a range of explanations as to how this happened. But explanations are not necessarily excuses. Some might be exculpatory, and justify no legal action. Some might be pleas in mitigation of sentence. Some might even make things worse for the person responsible.

DrDeth 12-24-2019 01:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright (Post 22043333)
Are you against prison terms for drunk drivers? If they kill someone, it's still an accident.

Prison? Nope, not even for them. Some jail time for 2nd + offenders may be the right thing.

But they did a deliberate act- got drunk and went driving, so some time in jail might be the right thing.

DrDeth 12-24-2019 01:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by puzzlegal (Post 22043537)
So... I think people are using "accident" to mean different things. I work in the insurance industry, and we distinguish between at-fault accidents and not-at-fault accidents. So the way I use the word, it doesn't mean no one is to blame. It means the outcome was unintended.

Someone is at fault in the vast majority of auto accidents. The others would be things like when a deer suddenly runs in front of a car.

But I think some of you are using "accident" to mean no one is at fault.

Right. It wasnt deliberate, thus it was a accident.

AK84 12-24-2019 01:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PatrickLondon (Post 22043063)
It turns in the first instance on whether she can face a court here, but if she can, the CPS has determined what charge is justified, having heard what the police have been able to investigate. Who said anything about "desire" for a 14-year term? It's the specified maximum for this offence, but prosecutors in the UK have no say on sentencing (still less do grieving relatives). The CPS's job is to assess whether the evidence amounts to a 50% or better chance of conviction, and to prepare the case for trial. What punishment may fit the crime depends on that evidence once a court has heard it and a jury has determined whether the case is proved: one of our courts following our law. What might happen in US terms is neither here nor there.

Your faith in the CPS is touching. And the Courts adherence to sentencing guidelines in cases with lots of publicity.
Mrs CIA agent is as unsympathetic an accused as they come

PatrickLondon 12-24-2019 02:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AK84 (Post 22044370)
Your faith in the CPS is touching. And the Courts adherence to sentencing guidelines in cases with lots of publicity.

Well, if you don't trust anyone to do their job properly, why should we bother at all?

And I think you're forgetting that all this could be tested in open court, with appeal procedures to follow if necessary.

Gary Kumquat 01-24-2020 08:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DrDeth (Post 22041866)
Apparently his parents are rich and are causing a fuss hiring a top lawyer, and they want vengeance, wishing Sacoolas to go to prison for 14 years. Otherwise this would have died down.

You've got to love someone who starts a claim with "apparently" then doesn't bother to provide a single cite for their claims.

This incident provoked enough outrage that the Dunn's have received over $150,000 in donations to pursue legal action* and try to get some form of justice. I can find no cite or article where they say they want her to go to prison for 14 years. As this is rather key to your claim that they're after "vengeance" perhaps you could provide one.


*https://www.independent.co.uk/news/u...-a9259551.html

Baron Greenback 01-24-2020 06:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DrDeth (Post 22044321)
Prison? Nope, not even for them. Some jail time for 2nd + offenders may be the right thing.

But they did a deliberate act- got drunk and went driving, so some time in jail might be the right thing.

What's the difference between prison and jail in the US?

slash2k 01-24-2020 07:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Baron Greenback (Post 22098988)
What's the difference between prison and jail in the US?

Prisons house those convicted of serious crimes (typically, crimes for which the maximum punishment exceeds a year) and are run by the state and federal governments. Jails are typically run by local governments (cities or counties) and house both pre-trial detainees and those who are serving short sentences for lower-level crimes. For example, a sentence of 30 days for drunk driving is likely to be served at the local jail; a sentence of five years for vehicular manslaughter would generally be served in state prison, possibly in a distant location.

Baron Greenback 01-24-2020 08:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by slash2k (Post 22099099)
Prisons house those convicted of serious crimes (typically, crimes for which the maximum punishment exceeds a year) and are run by the state and federal governments. Jails are typically run by local governments (cities or counties) and house both pre-trial detainees and those who are serving short sentences for lower-level crimes. For example, a sentence of 30 days for drunk driving is likely to be served at the local jail; a sentence of five years for vehicular manslaughter would generally be served in state prison, possibly in a distant location.

Thank you.

Teddie 01-24-2020 08:20 PM

As a Brit who has followed this case from the beginning I can only say I’m outraged that Anne Sacoolas is not going to face justice for this crime.

Watching Harry‘s parents & his twin speak of their loss & anguish that this woman is not being brought to trial is reprehensible.

It’s unconscionable that she’s being allowed to get away with this young mans death.

DrDeth 01-25-2020 03:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gary Kumquat (Post 22097797)
You've got to love someone who starts a claim with "apparently" then doesn't bother to provide a single cite for their claims.

This incident provoked enough outrage that the Dunn's have received over $150,000 in donations to pursue legal action* and try to get some form of justice. I can find no cite or article where they say they want her to go to prison for 14 years. As this is rather key to your claim that they're after "vengeance" perhaps you could provide one.


*https://www.independent.co.uk/news/u...-a9259551.html

Well, what do they want and what would be "justice"? Or do we really mean revenge? The UK courts have said it could be a 14 year prison sentence. Why do they want to punish this woman with prison time, even if it isnt for the full 14 years? Will that bring their son back?

In America, she would not get any jail or prison time.

Now, the UK wont extradite any capital criminals to the USA that may face the death penalty, since they dont like the DP. Fine. But then they have a barbarous and completely insane FOURTEEN year prison sentence for someone causing a death by accident. Kinda hypocritical.

DrDeth 01-25-2020 03:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Teddie (Post 22099159)
As a Brit who has followed this case from the beginning I can only say I’m outraged that Anne Sacoolas is not going to face justice for this crime.

Watching Harry‘s parents & his twin speak of their loss & anguish that this woman is not being brought to trial is reprehensible.

It’s unconscionable that she’s being allowed to get away with this young mans death.

What "justice" would you want?

You do know that Diplomats get away with real crimes all the time? Hundreds of times a year? Not just accidental deaths- but deliberate acts.
Rape, murder, etc. The UK also uses Diplomatic Immunity so it's pretty hypocritical of them to say otherwise.

https://nypost.com/2017/10/11/why-di...y-with-murder/

Mijin 01-25-2020 04:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DrDeth (Post 22099607)
Well, what do they want and what would be "justice"? Or do we really mean revenge? The UK courts have said it could be a 14 year prison sentence. Why do they want to punish this woman with prison time, even if it isnt for the full 14 years? Will that bring their son back?

To answer the first rhetorical question: a trial.
The rest is completely you trying to put words in someone else's mouth.

Quote:

In America, she would not get any jail or prison time.
[...]
But then they have a barbarous and completely insane FOURTEEN year prison sentence for someone causing a death by accident.
Nope. The law between the UK and US (and indeed many other first world countries such as Canada, which also happens to have a 14 year maximum) is actually remarkably similar.

In the US, if you cause a death by dangerous or negligent driving then that's called vehicular homicide and carries a 1 year minimum sentence, this is the same as the UK's minimum sentence for 'death by dangerous driving', the equivalent crime.

If someone is found guilty of death by dangerous driving in the UK and they are found guilty of maximum serious culpability, the maximum penalty is indeed 14 years (minimum 7 years).
However it's extremely unlikely that a case like this would be considered "maximum serious", as that's the highest of four tiers of vehicular homicide and would be reserved for offenses such as a repeat offender racing someone while intoxicated in a pedestrianized area, say. The equivalent in US law carries 10 years to life.

Quote:

You do know that Diplomats get away with real crimes all the time?
Oh, right, it's completely OK then.

slash2k 01-25-2020 04:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DrDeth (Post 22099607)
In America, she would not get any jail or prison time.

What state are you using as a reference for "America"?

In Kansas, for example, vehicular homicide is defined as "the killing of a human being committed by the operation of an automobile, airplane, motor boat or other motor vehicle in a manner which creates an unreasonable risk of injury to the person or property of another and which constitutes a material deviation from the standard of care which a reasonable person would observe under the same circumstances." It's a misdemeanor carrying up to a year in jail. (statute)

Missouri doesn't have a separate vehicular homicide statute; there, unknowingly acting in a reckless or criminally negligent manner as to cause the death of another person falls under the second degree involuntary manslaughter statute, which is a felony worth up to four years as a guest of the state.

Up in Nebraska, unintentionally causing a death while violating their traffic laws is motor vehicle homicide, a misdemeanor worth up to a year in jail.

In Colorado, it's a felony, usually charged as either criminally negligent homicide or vehicular homicide depending on the exact conduct, with sentences of up to six years in state prison.

I don't know of a state in which the sentence can be up to fourteen years, but jail or prison time **IS** on the table in most states if somebody causes a death in a traffic accident by negligent driving. .

Gary Kumquat 01-25-2020 05:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DrDeth (Post 22099607)
Well, what do they want and what would be "justice"? Or do we really mean revenge? The UK courts have said it could be a 14 year prison sentence. Why do they want to punish this woman with prison time, even if it isnt for the full 14 years? Will that bring their son back?

In America, she would not get any jail or prison time.

Now, the UK wont extradite any capital criminals to the USA that may face the death penalty, since they dont like the DP. Fine. But then they have a barbarous and completely insane FOURTEEN year prison sentence for someone causing a death by accident. Kinda hypocritical.

Just to recap then, no you have no cite to support your claim the bereaved family are "wishing Sacoolas to go to prison for 14 years". Glad we settled that.

As for your belief that a 14 year jail sentence (it's the UK, we do not have separate jail and prison facilities) is disproportionate for the offence...that's why we have a court system with well documented sentencing guidelines. "Causing death by dangerous driving" is rightly viewed as a serious crime in the UK. There's quite a high bar that has to be passed to prove someone guilty of it in the first place, but to get 14 years you would have to be found guilty of:

"Level 1
The most serious offences encompassing driving that involved a deliberate decision to ignore (or a flagrant disregard for) the rules of the road and an apparent disregard for the great danger being caused to others"*

In addition, you would have to be guilty of aggravating factors such as previous convictions, killing more than one person, or other offences. In short, your claim that she faces 14 years is clearly completely wrong. She doesn't even face 7 years, as no prosecutor is seriously going to claim that a person, becoming distracted on foreign roads, accidentally moving to the right hand side, did so deliberately or showed disregard for the risk to others.

In stead, you're looking at a 2 year sentence as a starting point: "Driving that created a significant risk of danger"...and that's before you start looking at the mitigating factors, one of which specifically is "The offender’s lack of driving experience contributed to the commission of the offence". In addition, the odds of a custodial sentence are slim. Suspended sentences are preferred when there is a "Realistic prospect of rehabilitation" and "Strong personal mitigation".

In short, please stop making silly claims that have no basis in fact. Death by dangerous driving is a serious crime (someone died) that covers a huge range of scenarios. Low end sentencing is usually a 1-2 year suspended sentence (i.e. you don't go to jail unless you re-offend or commit another offence) which is entirely reasonable for cases where the offence was unintentional but still could have been avoided if the driver had exercised reasonable care. High end sentencing reflects when someone chose to do something seriously dangerous, without any care for the risk to others, resulting in the deaths of one or more people. Trying to claim that this is a "barbarous and completely insane system" is just nonsense. It is an entirely fair and just system, and it is disgraceful that the US would try to pervert such a system just on the basis of looking out for their own.


*"https://www.sentencingcouncil.org.uk/offences/crown-court/item/causing-death-by-dangerous-driving/"

Ryan_Liam 01-25-2020 07:24 AM

This case just highlights the need for the UK to forge its own more independent path, I'd be quite happy with a disposition along the lines of what the French adopted towards the US, the US does not respect even its closest allies and a case like this just magnifies that fact. FTR, this woman was not a diplomat, and I'd have been happy with her serving a term in a US jail, per some agreement, but they didn't even do that or countenance that.

bob++ 01-25-2020 07:39 AM

I have no idea what the Dunns expect, but it's likely that what they really want is for her to be taken to court and convicted.

Northern Piper 01-25-2020 09:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DrDeth (Post 22099607)

Now, the UK wont extradite any capital criminals to the USA that may face the death penalty, since they dont like the DP. Fine. But then they have a barbarous and completely insane FOURTEEN year prison sentence for someone causing a death by accident. Kinda hypocritical.

Under the US-UK extradition treaty, either country can decline to extradite someone charged with a capital offence unless the requesting country agreed not to impose the death penalty. The US routinely agrees not to impose the death penalty as a condition of extradition, and the UK routinely extradites to the US under that condition.

And, the U& does not always seek that condition from the US, as shown a few years ago in the case of two people extradited in relation to alleged ISIS activities:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...nalty-shifting

So no, it’s not the case that the UK refuses extradition to the US.

And, in what world does state-sanctioned killing seem equivalent to imprisonment for 14 years?

puzzlegal 01-25-2020 09:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gary Kumquat (Post 22099649)
Just to recap then, no you have no cite to support your claim the bereaved family are "wishing Sacoolas to go to prison for 14 years". Glad we settled that.

As for your belief that a 14 year jail sentence (it's the UK, we do not have separate jail and prison facilities) is disproportionate for the offence...that's why we have a court system with well documented sentencing guidelines. "Causing death by dangerous driving" is rightly viewed as a serious crime in the UK. There's quite a high bar that has to be passed to prove someone guilty of it in the first place, but to get 14 years you would have to be found guilty of:

"Level 1
The most serious offences encompassing driving that involved a deliberate decision to ignore (or a flagrant disregard for) the rules of the road and an apparent disregard for the great danger being caused to others"*

In addition, you would have to be guilty of aggravating factors such as previous convictions, killing more than one person, or other offences. In short, your claim that she faces 14 years is clearly completely wrong. She doesn't even face 7 years, as no prosecutor is seriously going to claim that a person, becoming distracted on foreign roads, accidentally moving to the right hand side, did so deliberately or showed disregard for the risk to others.

In stead, you're looking at a 2 year sentence as a starting point: "Driving that created a significant risk of danger"...and that's before you start looking at the mitigating factors, one of which specifically is "The offender’s lack of driving experience contributed to the commission of the offence". In addition, the odds of a custodial sentence are slim. Suspended sentences are preferred when there is a "Realistic prospect of rehabilitation" and "Strong personal mitigation".

In short, please stop making silly claims that have no basis in fact. Death by dangerous driving is a serious crime (someone died) that covers a huge range of scenarios. Low end sentencing is usually a 1-2 year suspended sentence (i.e. you don't go to jail unless you re-offend or commit another offence) which is entirely reasonable for cases where the offence was unintentional but still could have been avoided if the driver had exercised reasonable care. High end sentencing reflects when someone chose to do something seriously dangerous, without any care for the risk to others, resulting in the deaths of one or more people. Trying to claim that this is a "barbarous and completely insane system" is just nonsense. It is an entirely fair and just system, and it is disgraceful that the US would try to pervert such a system just on the basis of looking out for their own.


*"https://www.sentencingcouncil.org.uk/offences/crown-court/item/causing-death-by-dangerous-driving/"

Thanks for this summary of the sentencing guidelines. That adds a lot of background. And it sounds similar to penalties in states near me.

DrDeth 01-25-2020 01:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gary Kumquat (Post 22099649)
Just to recap then, no you have no cite to support your claim the bereaved family are "wishing Sacoolas to go to prison for 14 years". Glad we settled that....

What your cite they want her to get off with a slap on the wrist?

It doesnt matter. The UK granted her Diplomatic immunity. She had a accident, nothing willful or deliberate.

The family is seeking revenge, not justice.

PatrickLondon 01-25-2020 01:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DrDeth (Post 22100124)
What your cite they want her to get off with a slap on the wrist?

It doesnt matter. The UK granted her Diplomatic immunity. She had a accident, nothing willful or deliberate.

The family is seeking revenge, not justice.

For the umpteenth time, wilfulness or intent are not the point (if they were, we'd be talking about manslaughter), and the fact that it was an accident is not proof of innocence - that is an explanation, not an excuse.

As for diplomatic immunity, it is open to the US authorities to waive it, which is not without precedent. All anyone is asking is for the same process to apply as would if the driver had been British. It does matter.

Gary Kumquat 01-26-2020 04:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DrDeth (Post 22100124)
What your cite they want her to get off with a slap on the wrist?

It doesnt matter. The UK granted her Diplomatic immunity. She had a accident, nothing willful or deliberate.

The family is seeking revenge, not justice.

So now we move from"your post is your cite" to a reverse burden of proof fallacy. That's cute

You seem to be under the misapprehension that diplomatic immunity is absolute immunity. It's not, for reasons that should be immediately clear to anyone with a moral compass. For example
https://www.wilsonllp.co.uk/supreme-...n-trafficking/

You also appear to think that"accident" is an absolute defence. This is also not the case, for similarly obvious reasons.

Finally,, you seem to believe that a family that wants the woman who caused the death of their son to be tried in court could only be after revenge. This is also patently untrue.

bob++ 01-26-2020 05:55 AM

It's worth mentioning that we don't have "Road Traffic Accidents" here in the UK. They are always referred to as "collisions" for reasons that would be clear to anyone reading the previous few posts. My dictionary defines "accident" as an unfortunate incident that happens unexpectedly and unintentionally, typically resulting in damage or injury.

A "collision" can be nobody's fault, or fault can be shared between all parties concerned. Determining blame can be difficult but in the case of a fatality, many experts will be involved, before a case comes to court for a judge or a jury to apportion blame.

asahi 01-26-2020 08:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DrDeth (Post 22038282)
legally, there is such a thing as a accident.

I am sure she knew them.

Hey I almost got a ticket in another state for instinctively making a right turn on red (after stopping) since 99.99% of my driving has been in CA. You drive by instinct and muscle memory.

And that exactly what Diplomatic immunity is for.

Legally, there are accidents as a result of circumstances beyond someone's control, and then there are accidents due to negligence. Driving on the wrong side of the road is negligent conduct. Driving on the wrong side of the road and killing someone is manslaughter, which is a criminal act. It's no different here. Some states might call it something different, like vehicular homicide, but it's essentially the same.

The family is seeking justice, not vengeance. They're seeking punishment for negligent behavior, not equal retribution in kind, for if they were they'd be seeking a far worse punishment than 14 years in prison. And undoubtedly the only reason they're asking for maximum incarceration has everything to do with the fact that this criminal has deliberately fled justice.

PatrickLondon 01-26-2020 09:29 AM

Whatever the Dunn family might consider justice, or might want to be the outcome of a trial, is neither here nor there. Neither they, nor you nor I, have any say on any punishment. The point is that guilt or innocence, and any punishment, depend on due legal process after all the evidence has been heard in court, and it's getting the case into the proper court that is the issue.

puzzlegal 01-26-2020 09:34 AM

So, you say it's about justice. But i just don't understand the demand that she stand trial.

I see no allegation that she intended to kill anyone.
I see no allegation that she's innocent of dangerous driving.

She apparently fled to the US on the advice of her embassy, not because she chose to be sneaky or something.
She's already been "sentenced" to a lifetime exile from the UK. She'll never do it again.

Who gains what from a trial?

orcenio 01-26-2020 09:43 AM

I can see the parents gaining some closure (presently denied to them) by bringing their son's killer to court.

Ryan_Liam 01-26-2020 09:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by puzzlegal (Post 22101274)
So, you say it's about justice. But i just don't understand the demand that she stand trial.

I see no allegation that she intended to kill anyone.
I see no allegation that she's innocent of dangerous driving.

She apparently fled to the US on the advice of her embassy, not because she chose to be sneaky or something.
She's already been "sentenced" to a lifetime exile from the UK. She'll never do it again.

Who gains what from a trial?

I can only imagine the howlings from the US media if the shoe was on the other foot, talk about hypocrisy.

puzzlegal 01-26-2020 10:03 AM

Well, I can assure you I wouldn't be howling. I honestly don't get it. Maybe you can try explaining to me instead of just assuming I'm hypocritical.

puzzlegal 01-26-2020 10:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by orcenio (Post 22101283)
I can see the parents gaining some closure (presently denied to them) by bringing their son's killer to court.

I feel like that's the function of funerals, not trials. But yes, I can see how the family might want their son's killer to suffer. Or might want their son's killer to express remorse directly to them.

But how about everyone else?

casdave 01-26-2020 10:10 AM

You know, what I see here is a form of judicial colonialism, some US posters seem to think they should be free to interpret law and that UK law is somehow not up to the standards of US law, and on that basis this case should not go to court.

So we see the gross distortion of a possible 14 years, when the reality is almost exactly the same as US law - in that sentencing would depend upon circumstances, intentions and mitigation. This certainly means that any sentence, if at all, would likely be less than incarceration - and even that would require a specific standard of proof.

Quote:

I see no allegation that she intended to kill anyone.
I see no allegation that she's innocent of dangerous driving.

These are really really dumb statements, there is no allegation whatsoever at the moment, she has not been charged with any offence and this is because she has not been interviewed, and no decision has been made on what - if any - charges the evidence will support. It is somewhat idiotic for anyone to believe that all the evidence will be published prior to any charge being laid, so just because you don't see how the 'allegations' stack up. just means you do not have all the evidence because our prosecution service will not reveal that until and unless those charges are laid and then it will only be to the defence council - do you seriously believe that possible case investigation and prosecution works any other way?

If you actually do believe that all the evidence should be made public prior to any possible prosecution, then you have to think why you should be entitled to that evidence at all - you are not connected to this case except by nationality - and it seems to me that the entire basis of your post is nothing more than common citizenship and your personal sense of entitlement - which is something you probably need to address.

Our legal system is perfectly robust and at least as trustworthy as those in the US - this is not some podunk third world country that locks people up on public sympathy driven criminal cases - perhaps you are judging our legal system by your expectation of your own system, either that or, as I stated earlier, its just Judicial Imperialism

puzzlegal 01-26-2020 10:15 AM

I actually believe the UK legal system is superior to the US system, having seen both in some detail. That has nothing to do with my confusion. I honestly have no idea what benefit society gains by trying a woman who has already been expelled from that society.


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