Friend pleads guilty to 4 counts of drunk driving causing death: do you write a reference letter?

What they said.

I would not write a reference letter for a crime like this. I think leniency should only beseeched when there are mitigating circumstances. There aren’t any here.

You can be a good friend and still be irresponsible. I’m sure most people in prison has friends and family who would have gladly vouched for them. I don’t know why Mr. Rich Guy’s friends should matter more than Mr. Poor Guy’s. I wouldn’t want to participate in that kind of injustice.

This sounds like the paradox of the heap. What purpose is served by year eight that was not accomplished by year seven? What purpose is served by year 7 that was not accomplished by year 6? and so on.

At some point, a number must be reached. If sentencing guidelines across the board should be modified, so that people who drive drunk and kill people don’t spend so long in prison, then do that. But I don’t think a wealthy guy with a lot of social connections should serve less time than a poor loner; this legal strategy disagrees, so I wouldn’t participate.

But there’s nothing stopping a lawyer for Mr Poor Guy from seeking letters. It’s actually common in my experience for major cases. Does that change your position?

I’d like to know more about the accident. It looks like he ran an intersection and T-boned the van. What was the speed? Was the intersection clearly marked? what was the alcohol content? Was he on the phone?

Frankly, on the surface it looks pretty bad.

The right to drive is only granted to those who provide extraordinary evidence that they are competent to drive. This guy has provided extraordinary evidence that he’s not.

I’ve been looking for a comprehensive news report on the accident, but most recent ones have concentrated on the latest events in court. Still, some answers to your questions can be found here. From the link:

Speed conversions to miles per hour added by me.

Not only that, he’s rich. He can afford a driver, or a cab, or take a cab and have some flunky go retrieve his car.

Full weight of the law should be brought to bear.

Nope. He may be my friend, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to excuse something like this. And if the guy is truely remorseful, then I think he should be willing to pay his debt to society.

The OP isn’t asking you to plead for leniency.

I chose “No, I wouldn’t write a letter. He’s admitted to killing four people. i won’t help him”

only because

“Yes, I would write a letter, insisting the court throw the book at him”

was not an option.

Interesting post!
I voted no, he chose to drive drunk.
But reading about some of the letters that were written, clearly he isn’t the stereotype rich kid. But to call him humble and good has to be a stretch. Humble people recognize their limitations and don’t show off. He didn’t and he did. Hard worker, well fine, but obviously not a smart one.
Writing a letter has the intent of reducing or mitigating the sentence. I don’t see that as appropriate.

No, not in so many words, but there isn’t any other reason to write the letter. There are only two reasons to write letters to the court - in an effort to gain leniency for the defendant or in an effort to have the book thrown at him. People simply don’t write letters to give a well-rounded picture to the judge. They never say “He is a hard worker. He arrives to work, six days a week, opening the office at 5:30 a.m. and does not leave until 6 p.m. when he goes to the bar and we have to wrestle him for the car keys at the end of the night” even when that’s the truth ( and I’m not saying it is in this case).

Oh baloney.

I’d write a letter like that. If he/she was a raging drunk who DIUed their way across town every day I’d want the judge/jury to know. If the guy/gal never drank except a that wedding they went to and someone helped em get plastered I’d want the judge/jury to know that as well.

Now whether such a letter would reach the right people due to how the legal process works that’s a different issue.

I said #2 because I just cannot bring myself to condemn a young man to prison for the rest of his life for a 2 minute lack of judgement during a time when we all have done one such stupid act.

Now if it was a pattern, that is different. However if he had been doing all other things right like staying out of trouble, getting an education, being involved in the community, I just cannot see its right to throw away all the community has invested in this young man.

I would not write a letter and I do not find the letters submitted on his behalf a convincing argument that he’s a good boy really who made a dumb mistake.

If my friend got off a private jet from a Vegas party and on his way home killed a family by driving drunk, I would question whether I actually knew him as well as I thought I did. No matter what a good guy I thought he was, I’d have to admit that is a rather striking new bit of evidence.

I am quite surprised this sort of thing is used insentencing at all. I mean, of course Muzzo can get people to write letters saying he’s not a spoiled rich boy. Your family will always write letters like that. Who cares? The law is the law and he should be sentenced in accordance with the law and precedent. It doesn’t matter what kind of person he is; if the law and sentencing precedent dictate he should get X years, he should get X, whether he kicks kittens or volunteers to shelter them.

In any event, Muzzo will probably get off lightly simply because in Canada, drunk drivers who kill people almost always get off easy. The AVERAGE sentence for drunk driving causing death is two and a half years. To get more than four years is an extreme rarity and almost never happens in the case of a first offender. The crime simply isn’t taken very seriously.

It would be hard to believe that any letter could be as powerful as the mothers statement in court was.

How extensive/expensive is the licensing process in Canada?

A couple of points from a US perspective:

  1. Driving is not a right, it is a privilege - hence the government can license it, tax it, mandate requirements and take the privilege away.
  2. The licensing procedure, though it varies somewhat by state, overall amounts to pass a multiple choice test, pay a relatively small license fee ($32 for 8 year license here) and for your first issuance prove you can drive among cones in a parking lot and not hit more than the maximum. Renewals require only the fee, nothing more. Not exactly extraordinary proof of competence.

Unless you’ve got your friend under 24/7 surveillance, how would you know that they “never drank”? Everyone’s got a private life. Even significant others can be clueless about their partner’s drinking habits.

It wouldn’t matter to me if he were a habitual offender or not. Having a lot of friends willing to write nice things about you (whether accurate or not) should not influence a judge’s decision-making. Some of the worst people in the world have lots of friends.