Monday, January 08, 2007

My day at DUI court

Some of you may remember that my brother was in a terrible car accident over the summer. It was slow going for him for a while, but he’s healed up nicely and moved to California, where he’s doing an externship for culinary school. He loves it out there and is very happy with life right now. He still has a bit of pain from his injuries, and probably always will, but we’re happy that he’s alive and doing so well. His friend that he was in the accident with is still suffering from the traumatic brain injury that he sustained. He has trouble concentrating, remember things, comprehending what people are telling him, etc. But today he started his first day back at college, with help, of course. Hopefully this will start him on his way to becoming close to normal soon.

Today was the sentencing of the driver that hit them. I’ve never been to court before in my life, so I didn’t know what to expect. This was my first time in Butler County Courthouse (I was there one time on business to drop something off, but didn’t wander around much). I was actually amazed that there’s a building in Butler that looks like that one does… it’s like a museum almost.

105 DUI cases were sentenced today. It was the weirdest scene imaginable. I didn’t see all of the sentencing, thank the lord, but the ones I did see pretty much lined up in front of the judge like they were going through a line in the cafeteria. The judge told them their sentence, said some official mumbo jumbo, and sent them on their way. I saw 2 people leave in cuffs. I saw one man in a striped prison jump suit. Then they got to the cases like the one we were dealing with, where there were victims involved.

After what seemed like an eternity, they called the name of the guy that crashed into my brother and his friend. He was exactly what I had pictured in my mind, tall, skinny, kind of dirty looking. He was visibly shaking in front of the judge. It worsened when my brothers friend’s mother got up to read her statement, and begged the judge to give him jail time.

He told the judge that he has three kids and needs to work to support them. He walked away with a slap on the wrist, 17 days of house arrest, a small amount of restitution to pay to my brother and his friends, some classes that he has to attend.

I know that people make mistakes. It’s life. Sometimes you wish you could go back and change things, but you know you can’t. I’m sure that’s the way this man (I call him that only because he has three children and obviously has to support them… he’s only 21) feels. But it’s not me that has to be satisfied about that sentence. It’s my brother. I’ll find out what he has to say tomorrow. I have a feeling that he’s not going to be happy.

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