Amy Smith 0

Increase of Mandatory Minimums for Felony Vehicular Homicide and Hit and Run

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On any given day you can turn on the news and see where yet another family is pleading for information to help find the "hit and run" driver that has killed their loved one. Vehicular Homicide or homicide by vehicle as it is known in Georgia Statute, is the unlawful killing of an individual using a motor vehicle that also has accompanying charges such as DUI.  Malice aforethought nor intent to kill is required to be charged with this offense. Vehicular Homicide is two parts: Felony and Misdemeanor. Charges of Felony Vehicular Homicide will be brought against an individual who unlawfully kills another while 1) DUI-drugs and or alcohol 2) reckless driving 3) leaving the scene of an accident where there is a death 4) failure to stop for, or otherwise attempting to flee the police 5) declared a habitual violator. Felony Vehicular Homicide is punishable by 3 to 15 years in prison with a mandatory minimum of ONE YEAR to be served. Habitual violators range of punishment is 5 to 20 years and again a minimum of ONE YEAR to be served. They will lose their license for 3 years without a work permit. This one year will more than likely be served while the accused is in jail waiting for trial-that is if they do not make bail. Considering that the offense of possession of illegal drugs within 1,000 feet of a school (first offense) can bank you 20 years in prison, the thought that the death of a human being while driving a vehicle in an unlawful manner and then fleeing the scene may only bring  3 to 15 years is unacceptable-made even worse that realistically they may only serve one year.  If you are really lucky the person that killed you or your loved one may get a few years. It seems really backwards. I am not condoning drugs in a school zone or anything of the sort, but what is the value of a human life?  We need to see stricter mandatory minimums for this crime. I am proposing that if one is convicted of Felony Vehicular homicide-meaning a judge or jury finds one guilty of one of the above mentioned  predicate traffic offenses and they must find that the person' unlawful act was the proximate cause of death, the mandatory minimum be 10 years before eligible for release. Mandatory 10 years to serve with a 10 year license suspension after release.  

On Sept. 25 2011, I lost my 23 year old baby brother, Jacob Guy Halbrooks, at about 2:20 am Sunday morning. He was walking in the emergency lane on 75/85 at Martin Luther King exit ramp. The driver of the vehicle was driving a dark colored Mercedes or BMW. Witnesses state the driver got out of the vehicle and saw my brother and left. They had to know they had just killed a young man. Jacob (thank God) did not suffer. It has been almost 7 weeks since he was killed  and we are left with the haunting thought that this criminal-this destroyer of life, a family and dreams- is still out there. This person not only killed my brother but crippled and devestated my entire family as well.  My  mothers only son, my fathers oldest son, my grandmothers only grandson,mine and my sisters baby brother, my daughters uncle. He was a nephew and a friend. He left behind a fiance and her daughter who he had taken as his own. To say our family will never be the same is an understatement. Jacob was a loving, playful, wonderful person in the prime of his life. He was due to be married one week after this happened, but it was stolen from him. Now instead of enjoying a wedding we attended his funeral-a future stolen and now my family is left with nothing but unanswered questions. We have no idea who did this. What kind of person can kill someone and drive away?  It is just so inconceivable that you would not stop unless you were doing something illegal or were wanted by the police. This is not an accident anymore-this is a callous, selfish act by an individual with no regard for human life.  No one deserves  to have their life stolen from them and then left on the side of the road like a piece of trash-like they did not even matter. My brother was not a piece of trash, he was loved and he was needed in this world. I'm starting this petition in my brothers name -Jacob's Law. This crime deserves more then a person spending just one year in jail. There is no parole, no time served, no probation for Jacob and countless others-you do not get that at the cemetary. I've made a vow to find who did this to Jacob and to make sure that they get the punishment they deserve. Unfortunately, I know my family and I are one of many families who are suffering this right now. We are part of a club that we never asked to be in. I pray that Jacobs' death not be in vain and that stricter and greater minimum mandatory time be placed on these particular type of crime. It is equal to murder.

Thank you for reading and considering. Please sign this petition so that we may gain the attention of our State Representatives and lawmakers.

Thank you,

Amy Smith


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