Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Donte Stallworth got off with murder...literally

Want to know something unbelievable?

Donte Stallworth is going to jail for 30 days for murder. Michael Vick recently ended an almost 2 year jail sentence for killing dogs.

1 month compared to 23. The life of a human compared to the lives of dogs.

Now don't get me wrong, I absolutely love dogs. I have a wonderful golden retriever that I adore. So I fully understand that Michael Vick was a part of a heinous, brutal and illegal crime ring and was deservedly punished.

Donte Stallworth was not.

If you don't know all the details, I can give you a brief rundown of the situation.

  • Around 7am on the morning of March 14, Donte Stallworth struck and killed 59 year old Mario Reyes in Miami
  • Stallworth had a .128 Blood Alcohol Content, one and a half times the legal limit
  • Mario Reyes was crossing the street to catch a bus, because he was a construction worker, so he could get work, to provide for his 15 year old daughter and their family

Stallworth apparently received a lesser sentence because he cooperated with police on the scene (I thought we were supposed to do that?), was remorseful (again, I feel that this should be a standard emotion), provided a confidential financial settlement to the Reyes family, and because Reyes was not crossing the street at a crosswalk.

And he only receives a 30 day sentence?

He was drunk at 7am and killed a guy!!

He didn't honk his horn at Reyes, he flashed his lights! I flash my lights when I'm letting people merge in front of me on the interstate. It wouldn't be my course of action when I was getting ready to end their life because my Bentley was headed straight for them while I was drunk behind the wheel.


I simply don't understand how 30 days is a just sentence for murder. This is less a post about sports and more about a flawed justice system. But I have to imagine if Stallworth was not a privileged athlete, he would be spending his next 30 years in prison, not his next 30 days.

I am a college student, and I am guilty of sometimes crossing streets at places that are not crosswalks. Of course I look both ways, and make sure it's safe. I also cross streets in the morning, like Reyes, because I have to. When I'm going to class, or when I'm working for my internship.

I have not been afforded the luxury of being able to stay out until 7am getting intoxicated while people of much lesser means have to perform manual labor in order to make ends meet.

Now it's possible that Reyes did not look both ways before he crossed the street, which certainly would put a small margin of blame onto him. Sober or not, if a man walks in front of your car, and you're going fast enough so you can't slow down, you'll hit him. It's physics and unfortunately it's inevitable.

However, I'm sure the last thing Reyes expected was someone who was so inebriated that he could not avoid hitting and killing him. Also, I imagine a sober person might have had the wherewithal to see Reyes, see the bus, and see the man trying to get to work, and slow down, or at least change lanes to avoid him.

Or maybe a sober person would have honked. And maybe that's all it would have taken.

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