Driver gets 6 years in sidewalk killing

The driver involved with a sidewalk-killing-hit-and-run that spurred the victim’s father to get “Joey’s Law” enacted has been sentenced to 6 years prison plus some probation. “Police say (Laura) Flanders drove onto the sidewalk and hit 18-year-old Joey Romero while he was walking home from work in October 2010″ [abc15].  Seriously, how often does this happen?

You can look up the case # CR-2010159805 on Public access along with minute entries. Here is the sentencing entry. As is the current style in these sorts of cases, the driver is sentenced to some time, in this case 6 years, in prison for the negligent homicide (a class 4 felony); but the hit-and-run charge, a class 2 felony, yields only probation. Yet the hit and run is a more serious (the lower the number the more serious) crime; and the existing laws seem to have mandatory sentencing provisions. For more background on hit-and-run in Arizona, see here.

Joey’s Law

Enter “Joey’s Law” named after the victim in this case, Joey Romero;  Hit and run penalties are supposed to be additive and punitive in order to eliminate the incentive for drivers to flee; however it for whatever reasons has not been working out that way. “Joey’s Law”, enacted due to the efforts of Joey’s father, Jesse, seeks to stiffen penalties on hit-and-run drivers. The new penalties, of course, didn’t apply to Flanders’ sentence. AZ Rep news story about “Joey’s Law” ceremonial signing in December 2012.

Here are the primary documents:
Senate Bill 1163 (50th Legislature, 2nd Regular, 2012) Session Laws Chapter 191.

Do Harsh Penalties Work?

good question. One positive sign is that Joey’s law specifically mandates a significant, mandatory, license revocation of at least 5 years (when involving death or serisous injury), and not including any time incarcerated. As of this writing, no one has been sentenced under the new law yet, so it’s way too early to know anything about these latest tweaks.


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