Raquel Nelson Update

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

A Georgia judge sentenced Nelson to a year of probation and 40 hours of community service this morning.

Nelson was also offered a new trial, which strikes me as somewhat unusual.

My article on Nelson here.

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18 Responses to “Raquel Nelson Update”

  1. #1 |  AnotherMatt | 

    Soon enough there will be an “A.J.’s Law” which will make it a felony to jaywalk if any child under 18 is within 200 feet of the jaywalker.

  2. #2 |  Cyto | 

    She was on the Today show yesterday. We watched it last night… she was quiet and sweet and obviously still heartbroken. She did a good job communicating her bewilderment at her treatment.

    I thought the piece covering the story was a little weak. They left of the bit about the prosecutor deciding to come after her after the story hit the papers. They also decided to cast their outrage at the jury, when I think it is properly placed with the prosecutor who decided to take the case.

  3. #3 |  Matt I. | 

    How lovely, a justice system that tries to make amends by issuing a light sentence and offering a new trial when it realizes that the media is starting to shed light on its injustice. Hey, I guess it’s better than nothing.

    By the way, has this ever happened before? A trial judge offering a new trial on his own? Is it a completely new legal process or has it occurred in the past?

  4. #4 |  MH | 

    I am also confused by the proposed new trial; if she is again convicted, presumably there is a chance of a jail sentence? Can the same judge be guaranteed?

  5. #5 |  Difster | 

    I hope she takes a new trial but I would understand if she just decied to accept this and put it behind her.

    At least it’s not a felony conviction.

  6. #6 |  Cyto | 

    @Matt I.
    I think it is perfectly fitting.. since the prosecution was initiated in response to media coverage of “the dangers of jaywalking” to begin with, why shouldn’t the negative coverage drive them to a new trial.

    Then they can do a full 540 by moving to federal court for another trial when she’s acquitted and the media is outraged.

  7. #7 |  John Jenkins | 

    The sentence will have to be vacated if there is to be a new trial (it’s double-jeopardy otherwise). The only thing I can come up with is that the defense attorney made a motion for a new trial, the judge sentenced the defendant, then the judge granted the motion but gave the defense the opportunity to withdraw the motion for a new trial (i.e., waive the defects from the original trial for which the court granted the motion) if it determined that retrial was too risky based on the sentence. I’ve never heard of it being done in this order, though. Usually the motion for a new trial is granted and no sentence is ever handed down.

    A brief review of the Georgia Statutes indicates that the vehicular homicide charge is facially valid, See O.C.G.A. §§ 40-6-92(c) & 40-6-393(c) (2011), though it strikes me as an odd reading and it appears to me that the lawyer should have been able to get that count kicked (unless there is judicial gloss on these sections of which I am not aware).

  8. #8 |  Mike Leatherwood | 

    Just another name on a growing list of places I will never want to live or visit. F’ that judge. F’ that DA. And the jury should be ashamed.

  9. #9 |  David | 

    How about a law that makes it a felony to run a child over with your car?

  10. #10 |  DarkEFang | 

    She’s poor and black, so here’s how probation will go for her:

    Probation officers will show up at random times about every six weeks. If they find anything like empty alcohol containers in her trash cans, she’ll be in violation of her probation, even if those containers belonged to someone else living in the household.

    From time to time, her probation officer will send her a notification of a mandatory meeting. If she misses a meeting, it will be a probation violation. If she ever moves from her current address, the probation office will continue sending the notices to the old address. If the probation officer visits the old address, it is a probation violation.

    If she drives a car, she will be pulled over pretty much any time she passes a cop who’s running plates. Any minor infraction, like a burned out brake light, not wearing a seat belt, or having a dirty license plate, will be a probation violation.

    If she cannot afford to pay her periodic probation fees, it’s a probation violation.

    If she is a witness at a crime scene, it can be a violation of her probation, if the officer in charge of the scene determines that she was somehow associating with the accused. Even if that person is never convicted of anything, she can still be held in violation of her probation.

    If she loses her job and is unable to find another job in a limited amount of time, she will be in violation of her probation.

    Generally, the first violation or two extends the probation. Any subsequent violations result in 30- or 60-day jail sentences, along with a probation extension. This is the method by which city/county governments keep the county jail full. Keeping the jails full is important when it comes time for state budgets and federal law enforcement grants.

  11. #11 |  DarkEFang | 

    Lost in the thread about Islamic terrorism:

    #46 Tom G –

    #45 DarkEFang -

    “You are only partly correct. I don’t agree with Matt that that private companies don’t EVER fund wars, but I’m quite sure that every example you just listed is private corporations enlisting government forces and armies to achieve their desires. That’s corruption and corporatism – not libertarianism run amuck.”

    All my examples are of private companies literally funding wars and revolutions. The East India Tea Company had its own private army, plus it had a large chunk of the British officer corps on its payroll. Dole and Chiquita funded and supplied South and Central American revolutionaries. BP and Shell had their own private armies in Africa and the Middle East.

    Granted, my examples are mostly from the 1800s and early 1900s. Nowadays, companies are more likely to pay off governments for their help instead of getting involved directly. But it is incorrect to claim that “private companies do not fund wars, as no money can be created from the destruction.”

    Funding wars was absolutely profitable. Private companies just found an even more profitable way of going about their business: outsourcing the dirty work to local governments.

  12. #12 |  J | 

    DarkEFang, it can be a probation violation for any police contact whatsoever that goes unreported. Any.

  13. #13 |  EH | 

    DarkEFang: Any particular reason to post off-topic?

  14. #14 |  Big Boy | 

    The new trial offer is a “way out” for everyone. The prosecutor can determine that it’s not “in the interests of justice” to recharge and the national front page controversary goes away. They made their point, whatever it was, to the local community.

    4oz. of flesh is enought.

  15. #15 |  croaker | 

    @14 And what point would that be? That the DA is a heartless, cork-sucking bastadge who should be flogged around the flagpole, then fired?

  16. #16 |  Pablo | 

    DarkEFang–you nailed it dude. I tell my clients that the only thing worse than being on probation is being incarcerated. A probation officer can make your life a living hell. Turnover and caseload changes are frequent and the left hand doesnt know what the right is doing. Technically probation cannot be revoked if a defendant is unable to pay fines or fees but in reality if a defendant cannot cough up the money they go to jail. Who says there are no debtors prisons?

    If a client enters a plea I often suggest they accept a fixed jail sentence as opposed to going through probation hell. There is a huge industry of probation supervision companies making a lot of money off all this misery.

  17. #17 |  Leonson | 

    I was on probation once. I never had to meet with anyone. I had to call a phone number once a month and confirm that my address and employer were the same by pressing buttons. No probation officer ever came to my house, or my job, or went through my trash.

  18. #18 |  discarted | 

    Nelson is not guilty of any crime, and the drunk driver should be in jail.

    But since when do crosswalks protect people from drunk drivers?

    People need to rethink their arguments because a crosswalk wouldn’t have stop this man from killing Nelson’s child, or anybody else.

    Red lights don’t even stop drunk drivers.

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