Wednesday, June 22, 2011

No Protection by Mississippi Law by David

I WAS INFORMED TODAY THAT THERE IS NOTHING IN MISSISSIPPI LAW THAT ALLOWS FOR FELONY CHARGES AGAINST THE WOMAN THAT RAN OVER MY WIFE WITH HER AUTOMOBILE  WHICH I SUSPECTED WOULD BE THE CASE.  I WAS ALSO TOLD THERE IS NO MISSISSIPPI LAW THAT ALLOWS FELONY CHARGES FOR THE WOMAN GETTING BACK IN HER CAR AND RUNNING OVER HER AGAIN WHILE SHE LAY THERE ON THE GROUND SEVERELY TRAUMATIZED.   THIS IS UNEXPECTED.  THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY FORREST ALLGOOD TELLS ME IF ANYONE CAN PRODUCE WRITTEN MISSISSIPPI LAW THAT WOULD APPLY TO THIS HE WOULD CERTAINLY USE IT BUT HIS HANDS ARE OTHERWISE TIED.  PLEASE,  ANYONE WELL VERSED IN MISSISSIPPI LAW THAT FEELS THEY CAN CONTRIBUTE CONTACT MR ALLGOOD WITH THE DOCUMENTATION THAT WOULD APPLY.   I USED TO TELL PEOPLE ALL OVER THE WORLD THAT MISSISSIPPI WAS A GOOD PLACE TO LIVE.  JAN AND I WERE GOING TO LEAVE THE STATE 5 YEARS AGO.  I WISH WE HAD.  I NO LONGER HAVE ANY CONFIDENCE IN THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM OF THIS STATE.  I AM TOLD MISDEMEANOR CHARGES WOULD APPLY.  THAT, BY MY SIMPLE AND OBVIOUSLY EMOTIONAL (AND I AM VERY EMOTIONAL NOW) INTERPRETATION SAYS THAT BY MISSISSIPPI LAW MY WIFE'S LIFE IS ONLY WORTH $500 OR 6 MONTHS.  SO MUCH FOR BEING AN EDUCATED, PRODUCTIVE, TAX PAYING  CITIZEN IN THIS STATE.  BE CAREFUL OUT THERE, IF YOU HAPPEN TO BE RUN DOWN BY A CAR,  IT APPEARS TO ME THAT MISSISSIPPI LAW SAYS YOU ARE NO DIFFERENT THAN ROAD KILL.
DAVID

46 comments:

  1. Does Mississippi not have criminal mischief laws. I believe that they would apply in this case and are chargeable as felonies.

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  2. Wouldn't this fall under attempted murder? The first hit would be careless and imprudent driving and the second attempt is an attempt at taking a life!

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  3. I'm thinking that who knows what would apply to the initial "impact" but wouldn't careless disregard for human life be the 2nd? How about attempted vehicular homicide?

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  4. There would also be aggravated assault. A person is guilty of aggravated assault if he (a) attempts to cause serious bodily injury to another, or causes such injury purposely, knowingly or recklessly under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life. I believe recklessly and extreme indifference. applies here.

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  5. What about testimony from the witnesses at the scene? Does this lay no ground for charges to be filed?

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  6. We need more road signs, share the road or 3' signs, to go up in rural communities. I run in Itawamba county and my husband rides a lot. I carry a white rag in my hand to help make me more visible and also wear light colored clothing. Thanks for posting about your wife. We will continue keeping you both in prayer.

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  7. What does your lawyer say about this? If they can't help, consult another lawyer. What the DA is telling you is beyond absurd. Is the legislature filled with morons? Knowingly running over a person with a car should not be a misdemeanor.

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  8. What about assault with a deadly weapon?

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  9. If lawyers or the DA give you any nonsense about "intent", tell them the intent of anyone running over a person with a car is clear. What did the driver think would happen? Bumps and bruises? No. A car is at least as deadly as a gun or knife. Your lawyer should be making these points, and vehemently! You shouldn't have to deal with this idiocy while taking care of Jan. If your lawyer isn't doing their job, get a better lawyer.

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  10. There is also fleeing the scene of a crime. Hit and run is criminal everywhere, isn't it, even backwards places like here? The driver was attempting to flee before witnesses pulled her from the car. Isn't that at least another charge to add?

    Sorry for the multiple posts. I'm just so outraged I can't think coherently.

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  11. +1 on the assault with a deadly weapon. Possibly attempted murder or witness tampering (trying to eliminate the victim's testimony if brought to trial).

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  12. May this give you a bit of hope. Gabrielle Giffords is slowly recovering from a gunshot to the head. Her words are slowly coming back, she understands speech. May Jan recover as well if not even better.

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  13. Hello,

    Last Halloween my father was struck by a car while biking in California. He had a diffuse axonal injury. He was in a coma and non-responsive for almost 2 weeks. The doctors told us his chances of waking up were almost none, and if he did he'd never recognize us. 8 months later and he's been back at work as an electrical engineer for almost 2 months. I know what you're going through, and I just wanted you to know there is hope.

    -Chris

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  14. This is definitely aggravated assault, and moreover, it is more than one count of it. End of story. It is also reckless endangerment, and probably a whole bunch of other things, but the AAwaDW should be enough to be a felony.

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  15. I'm gonna do some research and write a letter. I am really disturbed by what happened to Jan

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  16. I have been reading the posts every day. I still struggle with how a lifetime of hopes, dreams, etc can be changed in an instant. It takes so much time, energy and love to create and nothing to destroy.

    I have been touched by this tragedy.

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  17. I agree with Monika. Seek other representation. I believe that there are many avenues to be explored here which could help lead to setting a precedent for any future victims.

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  18. Attempted murder is illegal everywhere. Assault with a dangerous weapon, etc. Do NOT deal with the DA again. He's clearly not well suited for his position.

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  19. David:

    If the criminal court is not willing to do anything, sue her in civil court.

    I had an employee A attack B and B pulled a pair of scissor to defend herself. B was going to get charged for felony. How does the system work?
    Eric

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  20. David:

    This shows a complete miscarriage of justice. I don't understand having no law with teeth in Mississippi to protect cyclists from motorists not watching for them.
    This is wrong and needs to change.

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  21. I agree with David, start civil proceedings against the driver.

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  22. When I read this, I immediately wondered if the DA is in some way connected to the driver.

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  23. I can't begin to say it enough: start civil proceedings and find a good lawyer. Assault with a deadly weapon, assault, disregard for human life, aggravated assault, attempted murder, etc. Reach out to the legal community across the nation; if you need help with lawyer fees, establish a paypal donation account. I would gladly help! This news is sickening and makes me so angry. People in Texas (sans Austin) have little regard for cyclists as is and our only true bike lanes are tucked away inside high crime neighborhoods to keep us happy. My heart goes out to your family.

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  24. The fact of the matter is that the DA obviously doesn't think he can prove intent, which is a major factor in any kind of criminal charge. Without that, he's got little or nothing to go one. We don't run our justice system based on the mob mentality, people.

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  25. David, I have spoken with a Mississippi law firm. They think they could put pressure on the DA to press felony charges, if such charges can be applied. I did not give them your contact info, you decide if you wish to contact them or not. Their services are free, whether you win or not.

    Morrow & Elliot (in Brandon MS)
    (601) 824-5040
    ask for Shannon Berry

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  26. Jim - What is the intent of someone who knowingly runs over another person with a car? What is the intent of someone fleeing the scene of a crime? That's after stopping the car and looking at the victim. David and Jan have suffered terribly. If you cannot help, please do not give more grief.

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  27. Just read the DAs comments in the Starkville Daily News. I still say get a new lawyer.

    http://www.starkvilledailynews.com/node/6195

    The DA says the driver was not negligent because she wasn't weaving or running stop signs. However, it was broad daylight, no traffic, and Jan was where a cyclist should be. The driver was talking on her cell phone. How is it NOT negligent to hit a cyclist in broad daylight with no traffic? It has been demonstrated that talking on the phone makes one as impaired as being drunk. The current law does not take this into account. Well, a precedent needs to be set.

    And what is this about the driver "not seeing" Jan while trying to "ease" the car out of the way? She had gotten out of the car and looked! How could she not know where Jan was? Why didn't she drive in reverse if she was trying to not hit Jan?

    This is not right, and the law needs to change. Otherwise, what's to stop this woman from hitting someone else while on her phone, other than her conscience, which I don't put much faith in.

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  28. Our prayers are with you and your wife today, David.

    Not to further depress you, but here are some links regarding your District Attorney, which though discouraging, may further your insight as to his integrity and ability.

    A good attorney need not prove intent. Vehicular assault is a felony. So also is criminal negligence in the operation of a vehicle.

    Ask your friends, do your research, speak to more than one qualified criminal attorney, listen to your heart, and act.

    May God bless you and give you strength and peace.

    http://www.shamefuljustice.com/tiki-index.php?page=Forrest+Allgood

    http://www.theagitator.com/2007/12/31/monday-morning-poll-worst-prosecutor-of-the-year-the-first-annual-wopoty-award/

    http://www.blogpoll.com/poll/act_Vote.php

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  29. Vehicular assault, attempted murder, etc. requires intent. There's no evidence that the driver intended to hurt Jan, so even if it did go to court ... the driver would be found innocent. ("Beyond a reasonable doubt" and all that.)

    Based on the DA's comments (paraphrased) at http://bit.ly/mRuVwi ... it looks like he's doing everything he can. Though from what little I know of the Misssissippi 3' passing law --

    http://www.cyclelicio.us/2010/mississippi-passes-3-foot-passing-law/

    ... I have to wonder how it even applies here, as the driver wasn't passing Jan -- he ran her over from behind. (Maybe for the second time?)

    (Though of course there are other laws violated when somebody is run over from behind -- but they're generally misdemeanors except in a few situations that don't seem to apply here.)

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  30. Robbie Norton was required to stop and render aid "without endangering the life of any person more than is necessary". Was it "necessary" for Norton to further endanger Jan by crushing her prone body with a car? Did Mississippi lawmakers intend a distraught emotional state should be a defense for failure to exercise "reasonable care"? Norton should be facing a $5000 fine, a year in jail, and the loss of her driver's license.

    Mississippi Code:
    § 63-3-401. Duties of driver involved in accident resulting in personal injury or death; offenses and penalties.

    (1) The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to or death of any person shall immediately stop such vehicle at the scene of such accident or as close thereto as possible but shall then forthwith return to and in every event shall remain at the scene of the accident until he has fulfilled the requirements of Section 63-3-405.

    (2) Every stop under the provisions of subsection (1) of this section shall be made without obstructing traffic or endangering the life of any person more than is necessary.

    (3) Except as provided in subsection (4) of this section, if any driver of a vehicle involved in an accident that results in injury to any person willfully fails to stop or to comply with the requirements of subsection (1) of this section, then such person, upon conviction, shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than thirty (30) days nor more than one (1) year, or by fine of not less than One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) nor more than Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00), or by both such fine and imprisonment.

    (4) If any driver of a vehicle involved in an accident that results in the death of another or the mutilation, disfigurement, permanent disability or the destruction of the tongue, eye, lip, nose or any other limb, organ or member of another willfully fails to stop or to comply with the requirements under the provisions of subsection (1) of this section, then such person, upon conviction, shall be guilty of a felony and shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than five (5) nor more than twenty (20) years, or by fine of not less than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) nor more than Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000.00), or by both such fine and imprisonment.

    (5) The commissioner shall revoke the driver's license of any person convicted under this section.

    Sources: Codes, 1942, § 8161; Laws, 1938, ch. 200; Laws, 1996, ch. 461, § 1; Laws, 2010, ch. 374, § 1, eff from and after July 1, 2010.

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  31. All the DA does here is pick which charges are appropriate to charge her with. It then goes to a court with a judge and a jury and the jury gives the final ruling.

    If the DA charges her with a violation of § 63-3-401, at this court case the witnesses will testify that she did not flee the scene of the collision (for whatever reason) and that she was panicked and she was trying to comply with § 63-3-401 and made a mistake. And then her lawyer will point out the word "willfully" in the statute above, and remind the jury that she was *trying* to comply as shown by the witnesses, therefore the accident was not "willful" and she is not guilty of violating § 63-3-401. All will be upset how badly Jan was injured, but that will have little bearing on the driver's intent, and the driver will be found not guilty of that crime.

    If the DA charges her with something else that requires intent (such as murder, assault, etc.) ... she would be found not guilty by a similar procedure.

    And really, it seems very unlikely that a legislature would pass a law that would make severely injuring or killing a cyclist or pedestrian in a traffic collision a felony without extenuating circumstances (such as intent, alcohol and possibly texting if the backlash against it continues to grow). Fair or not ... remember, most of the legislators are drivers, and most of their constituents are drivers, and they will all think "this was an accident that could have happened to anybody, to me!" ... and such a bill will not get the support needed to be enacted.

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  32. Sorry, in my last post I said "extenuating circumstances" when I should have said "aggravating circumstances".

    I should also point out that to convict anybody under these statues requires convincing the jury "beyond a reasonable doubt". If there's any reasonable (which usually means "pretty small", but it doesn't go as far as "beyond a shadow of a doubt") doubt that something needed for a conviction is missing, even one, small thing -- the jury is supposed to acquit.

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  33. dougmc - This is *not* something that "could have happened to anybody". The police report states there was no traffic but the driver and two cyclists, broad daylight. No excuse at all for hitting Jan. The driver was impaired. She was talking on her phone. This is very distracting and comparable to driving while drunk. Had she waited to chat until she pulled over and stopped, this could have been easily avoided. Furthermore, she knew Jan was in front of her car when she hit Jan a second time. She had stopped, gotten out of the car, and seen Jan in front of the car. Why did she not back up? I see negligence. I believe that is a felony, regardless of intent. We have responsibilities to our fellow human beings, such as driving safely.

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  34. Monika -- I'm not saying that "this could happen to anybody". I'm saying that's how legislators would see this if trying to pass such legislation, and so they wouldn't do it.

    You may see negligence, but there's witnesses claiming that the driver was *trying* to do the right thing. The jury would not be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that she wasn't, so not guilty.

    As far as the DA is concerned, when it comes to what he can prosecute, the responsibilities we have as human beings are what's listed in the laws. If he doesn't think he can get a conviction off of a certain charge, he can't charge somebody with it.

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  35. There are witnesses who saw the driver step out of the car and look at Jan lying in *front* of the car. Isn't it reasonable to expect a responsible driver to go in *reverse* in this situation? It may be that the driver "didn't see" Jan while driving forward, because she couldn't see over the hood of the car. That is no excuse. Given what she knew, she should not have been driving forward. Doesn't the law say to act reasonably, responsibly, and not endanger people needlessly? Why isn't the DA making this argument instead of excuses for the driver? (I'm not raging at you, doug, but at the broken legal system.)

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  36. In order to convict somebody of anything, it needs to be proven "beyond a reasonable doubt".

    The DA isn't "making excuses" for the driver. He's looking at the various laws that might apply, taking what he knows of the incident and seeing if they apply. As far as I can tell, he's doing his job appropriately.

    If he's making excuses for anything, it's for the laws that he has to work with. He can't enforce laws that don't exist, and he can't go forward with charges unless they have a good chance of leading to a conviction.

    If the law says "to act reasonably, responsibly, and not endanger people needlessly" then by all means, send the DA that law so he can use it -- it seems he's not aware of that particular law. (Probably because it doesn't exist. Any laws that say that say a lot more than that.)

    People should not be convicted of what the law should say -- they have to be convicted based on what the laws exactly say.

    I've seen lots and lots of cases where cyclists were seriously injured by poorly driving drivers and the driver didn't get so much as a traffic ticket. Ultimately, this is not such a case -- in this case, it looks like the DA is doing everything he can. (Which is limited by the laws he has to work with.)

    As for a campaign to make the laws stronger, making traffic collisions into felonies is unlikely to happen. A law that makes collisions where a cell phone was involved more serious is possible, though even making it a felony seems unlikely -- though that could change if the political climate changed.

    Currently, DWI is a misdemeanor, but if there's a serious injury, it can become a felony. Cell phone use is far less demonized right now than DWI, but if it becomes as demonized as DWI, then I imagine the law could be made that cell phone use with a serious injury is a felony too. But so far, cell phone use is seen as a minor thing.

    (But there is hope. Decades ago, DWI was seen as a minor thing.)

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  37. http://www.deadlyroads.com/laws/mississippi-hit-and-run-laws.shtml

    One would think this law completly covers your wife. The only reason the driver stopped was because she was forced to.
    check out cyclists Against Reckless Drivers.org

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  38. The situation with Jan led me to write this (before her cognitive improvement). People reading this, make it viral... It's my hope it saves some lives. http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs033/1102861874122/archive/1106209157277.html

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  39. My prayers are with you and your wife the same thing happened to me on September 2,2010. I suffered the same exact injuries three weeks in a coma three more weeks in rehab hospitals . The 19 year old that hit me was never charged and his insurance company has claimed no responsibility. I also was told I had no business beingbon that road with m bike. However I am totally thankful that I have made an almost complete recovery did 44 miles on my bike yesterday so I try to let go of my anger. I will keep Jan in my prayers because I know they do work. She has a long road ahead of her but I am sure she is strong and will do all she can to get back

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