Justice Served?

Photo courtesy of FreaksAnon

Bay Bridge, courtesy of FreaksAnon

According to WTOP, the young woman who caused the fatal wreck on the Bay Bridge this past summer will not be facing charges. Candy Baldwin, 19, received three traffic citations but won’t be prosecuted for the wreck that sent a truck plunging off the bridge into the Chesapeake, killing John Short Sr, the driver.

Baldwin claims she fell asleep at the wheel; the county prosecutor stated her Blood Alcohol Concentration was .03, well under the .07 legal limit for impairment. She was instead cited for a license restriction, failing to drive right of center and negligent driving.

Let’s convienently forget she’s underage and was drinking.

Having lived in the DC area for ten years, Ben still loves to wander the city with his wife, shooting lots of photos and exploring all the latest exhibits and galleries. A certified hockey fanatic, he spends some time debating the Washington Capitals club with friends – but everyone knows of his three decade love affair with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

A professional writer, gamer, photographer, and Lego enthusiast, Ben remains captivated by DC and doesn’t plan on leaving any time soon.

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3 thoughts on “Justice Served?

  1. I think you both over-emphasize the issue of underage drinking and are ignorantly slamming the Queen’s Anne County prosecutor’s professionalism.

    For the former, .03 BAC is not intoxication. The law doesn’t define it that way, and if you go home from a bar with a .03 and get into an accident, you would be arguing strenuously in any legal action that you were not impaired. So, if .03 is not legally impaired, what does it matter what Ms. Baldwin’s age is?

    Regarding the latter, the “conveniently forgetting” assumes that Queen Anne’s County prosecutor does not know when he can secure a conviction in a relatively high-profile case. You are assuming that you, based mostly from the WTOP report, can tell better than the prosecutor what the likely evidence will be, the reactions of the local jurors, and the chance of conviction.

    Remember also that convictions are beyond a reasonable doubt, and so to convict a legally unimpaired woman of vehicular homicide, you have to be able to prove that all of her medical or other reasons for falling asleep at the wheel are not as compelling as negligence – beyond a reasonable doubt. If the pros say it’s not worth doing, why are you?

    Putting someone on trial when you know you can’t get a conviction is not deterrence, and it’s not justice. It’s conducting a vendetta. Whether or not Mr. Short’s estate wants their pound of flesh through a lawsuit (which they’re likely entitled to), the state would not be fair or reasonable in pursuing this case further if they believe a conviction is unlikely.

  2. Thank you, BJC. I admit I did post this in part from emotional outrage and was hoping someone could spell it out for me a bit; you did a great job.

    I wasn’t trying to slam the QAC’s professionalism, though I can see how it reads that way. I think I reacted as many probably did, with a collective “WTF?” and not really looking harder into the issue. It just seemed highly “unfair” that an underage woman was drinking – even if not legally defined as drunk – and caused such a horrific and tragic accident.

    You’re absolutely right, however – the professionals have done what they could using the bounds of law – something that I respect and admire and fully admit to being incapable of doing. I know my post comes across as more “I know better” but I know I don’t. It’s an emotional reaction to a situation that makes little sense. Which is why we have competent and intelligent people who are in those positions, so they can make the correct moral and legal call.

    I’ve read some follow-up on the case, too. I know Miss Baldwin now claims to be 130+ days sober, dating from the accident, and I can believe that. Something this bad can have that effect and I would hope she uses the incident to better educate her peers as well. The guilt load she carries cannot be easy and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone, either.

    Bottom line is, it was a horrible event and I am glad that resolution is being conducted with fairness and in the bounds of law. Which is something I wholeheartedly admit I could not do.

  3. The victim’s family should at least be able to file a wronful death case. Is there any word on that?