A while ago I posted about a young man who had a long history of Operating After Revocation and drunk driving. While driving drunk (BAC .168) he drove the wrong way on the highway and hit my client head on.
He was sentenced by Judge Mac Davis last week, September 26, 2008. The sentence included one year in jail with work release privileges and 5 years probation.
The Journal Sentinel sent a reporter to the sentencing hearing:
Driver gets one year in wrong-way crash
Waukesha — A Richfield man who was intoxicated on Jan. 8 when he drove the wrong way on Highway 41/45 and collided head-on with another vehicle, seriously injuring the driver of that car, has been sentenced to one year in jail with work release privileges.
John D. Cimermancic, 26, pleaded guilty in July to injury by intoxicated use of a vehicle and was sentenced Friday by Waukesha County Circuit Judge J. Mac Davis.
According to the criminal complaint, the crash occurred about 11:40 p.m. Jan. 8 on Highway 41/45 at County Line Road in Menomonee Falls.
Two vehicles crashed head-on in the northbound lanes of the highway.
What the Journal Sentinel didn’t report was some outrageous comments by John Cimermancic’s attorney. This attorney said he didn’t believe that prison does much as a deterrent. I just don’t get this comment. Look at Mark Benson for example. He wasn’t supposed to be on the road. His license was revoked. That didn’t stop him from driving? If he was in prison would we be talking about how he killed a mother and her kids?
The same goes for this case. John Cimermancic should NOT have been on the road. He didn’t have a license and didn’t own a car. He borrowed his girlfriend’s car and got drunk and drove the wrong way on the highway. Prison is a deterrent in the sense that it takes a multiple drunk driver off of the road. That in itself deters drunk driving. It should be said that in September of 2007 John Cimermancic was charged with drunk driving.
Judge Davis was thoughtful and, at least it appeared to me, that he was concerned about the victim in this case. He said that impact on the victim is very substantial and that nothing we can do will make the victim whole. Judge Davis disagreed with Cimermancic’s attorney, saying there is more protection of the public if the defendant is in prison.
But Judge Davis points out, if Cimermancic is out working there is the potential for the victim to be compensated sooner rather than later.
Cimermancic is now a felon. He can’t vote. Can’t own a gun. Must maintain sobriety. Must attend AA or some other program. Must maintain full time employment. Loses his driver’s license for 2 years. And he must pay restitution starting immediately.
As a father I feel badly for the family of the John Cimermancic. He was pretty badly injured also. He is an Iraq war veteran. He suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. According to Judge Davis he has a better chance of successful rehabilitation because of his family support.
All in all this is a terrible situation. Was the Judge’s decision on sentencing correct? Let me think about it. Ask me when my kids turn 16. I’m sure I’ll have a different opinion then.
Jon Groth is a Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney handling cases throughout Wisconsin and most recently in Kansasville, Marinette, Milton and Wauwatosa.