I posted an obituary in this space for my good friend David Kramer, killed last year by a drunk driver. As I understand the details, he was stopped at a traffic light at 3am. He was rammed from behind by a vehicle that was going about 100 miles per hour in the moment before the crash. David was a special person, who left behind a young daughter and many others with special reasons to miss him.
The perpetrator is now on trial for manslaughter. He was driving without a valid license. As I understand things, he has no criminal record but has some history of auto violations. I am told he is married, retired, in debt. I’m sure he didn’t mean to commit this atrocity, but that’s what happened.
Some of David’s other friends are attending. One goal of their attendance is to show the judge how important David was to many people who knew him. This may matter in sentencing. I’m glad that David’s friends will be there to honor him, and as part of their own mourning, too.
I will not be joining them. I don’t know that this crime was made better or worse by David’s personal qualities and how much we honor his memory. Although I have been surprised by the depth of my own mourning, I don’t view increasing the defendant’s punishment as part of that. Good people have different views on this question, especially given this reckless crime.
I honestly don’t know what a fair punishment is here. I’m told that typical sentences vary from a few months to several years. He should never drive again. He should spend some time in jail to deter others. Of these things I am sure. Beyond that, I just don’t know.