In the early morning hours of May 15, 2011, a tragic car accident claimed the lives of three young passengers and severely injured another. The accident resulted from the 20-year-old driver’s intoxication after a night of drinking, which ended when the vehicle carrying the five occupants slammed into a tree.
Following the crash, the driver immediately fled, but he was arrested hours later, still with an alcohol level twice the legal limit. The driver pleaded guilty to three counts of manslaughter and one count of leaving the scene of an accident for the crash that killed three and injured another. The young driver received a sentence of 20 years in prison.
Sentence Review Panel
While anyone facing criminal charges should discuss their case with an experienced attorney, there are still options for those who have been convicted. In Maryland, an appeal of sentencing can take place without going to an appeals court. In this case, the panel heard arguments from both sides regarding possible reduction of sentencing and ruled to reduce the original sentence. This ability to hear arguments for reduction of sentencing allows those convicted in Maryland a different avenue to appeal sentencing decisions.
The review panel, consisting of three Maryland judges, significantly reduced the original 20-year sentence. The judges believed that the original sentence was too severe and extended beyond typical sentencing guidelines for such an incident.
The panel pointed to the fact that the other passengers willingly entered the vehicle. The judges also felt that the defendant should have been given more credit for the guilty plea at the original trial. The new ruling reduced the sentence from 20 to 15 years, with seven years suspended.