Thursday, 26 June 2014

08:54 – Yesterday, the morning paper reported that the driver I mentioned some time ago who’d hit and killed the little boy running to catch his school bus had been sentenced on a plea bargain for a misdemeanor charge, with a 60-day sentence and 30 days of active jail time. No matter what actually happened, this was a complete miscarriage of justice. If the guy was guilty of the felony he was originally charged with, a 30-day jail term is completely outrageous. If he was not guilty of any crime, as I suspect was the case, he should have been freed.

The prosecution originally claimed that the driver had passed a stopped school bus with its stop-arm out and its red lights flashing before striking the child. The defense accident reconstruction expert testified that his review of the evidence established that the stop-arm was not out nor the red lights flashing. The prosecution expert, an accident reconstruction specialist from the state police, originally testified that the stop-arm and red lights had been activated, but later reversed his testimony based on additional evidence and testified that what the defense expert had said originally was in fact true. He testified that the school bus had in fact been stopped for at least 20 seconds, but without the stop-arm or red lights activated. So when the driver passed the school bus in the opposite lane, he violated no law.

Most of the prosecution’s case depended on the testimony of the school bus driver. Part of the additional evidence was her record, which was so bad that she shouldn’t have been driving a regular automobile let alone a school bus. The school system had fired her for cause in 2006, only to rehire her later in 2006 in violation of their own policies. Her record has numerous traffic violations and infractions, including one incident where she missed her stop and backed up the bus (in violation of policy) and ran into a car stopped behind her. She claimed she couldn’t see the car because her school bus blocked her vision. Geez. So, this woman has zero credibility as a witness, and without her testimony the prosecution’s case fell apart. I suspect the prosecution knew they couldn’t convict the accused, so they salvaged what they could by offering him a plea bargain down to the misdemeanor. And I suspect the accused’s attorney told him he’d be better off accepting the plea bargain than risking being convicted of something he hadn’t done.

12:12 – I knew I’ve fired too many different automatic weapons when I instantly identified the machine gun in this image, without so much as a second thought: