State Says Drunk Driving Sentence is Too Lenient
Last year, in early June, 38-year-old Tommy Taylor got behind the wheel with a blood alcohol content of 0.175, and killed a man. The victim was Timothy Tacie, a father who was riding his bicycle home in the dark. That Taylor was very drunk at the time is not being contested. Nor is the fact that a man lost his life. But what is in contention right now is the drunk driving sentence he received for that tragedy.
St. Clair County Prosecutor Mike Wendling intends to take the case to the Michigan Court of Appeals in the hope of a longer sentence. He believes one year in jail is simply not long enough for a person who took someone’s life. But the Judge who made that choice said there were compelling reasons.
Circuit Judge Cynthia Lane doesn’t believe the sentence was lenient. But she did state that she was going out on a limb for Taylor. After all, sentencing guidelines recommend prison time. Taylor was going to spent a single year in jail with an option for work release. But why? What made her decide to deviate from the state’s recommendations?
Well, one of the factors was Taylor’s criminal history. Specifically, the fact that he didn’t have one. This was not only his first drunk driving offense, it was his first offense ever. Also, he has maintained steady employment for 15 years, which indicates a good work ethic and comfort with long term commitment.
In addition, he has strong family support, which is always helpful. And then there’s the fact that he cooperated with the police from the very beginning. He never ran, or tried to hide, or denied what he had done. He never lied or tried to disguise evidence or acted as if it wasn’t his fault.
Addressing the court during his sentencing, Taylor expressed his profound sorrow. “I know I can’t take back what I’ve done,” he said. “It’s my fault and it’s something I have to live with every day.”
The drunk driving sentence Taylor received was a single year in the county jail, followed by five years of probation. His sentence also specifies that he is permitted to apply for a work pass, so as to continue at his current job. It remains to be seen what the Court of Appeals has to say about this sentence.