Mike Kueber's Blog

December 11, 2012

Justice in the abstract

Filed under: Law/justice,Sports — Mike Kueber @ 7:48 pm
Tags: , , ,

I’ve blogged twice recently about the difference between civil negligence (money damages) and criminal negligence (jail time).  In the past, criminal negligence was primarily pursued following a DUI/DWI that resulted in someone’s death (often called involuntary manslaughter).  My blogging was prompted by recent efforts to criminalize texting while driving and even driving while drowsy.  Fortunately most juries, when faced with real facts, are reluctant to throw the book at unfortunate defendants.  Their underlying rationale – “there but for the grace of God go I.” 

An article today in USA Today again brings into stark contrast the difference between the pious pedants living in their towers and practical people living real lives.    In the article, the mother of the Dallas Cowboy taxi-squad player (Jerry Brown) who was killed by his DUI teammate (Josh Brent) said that she not only forgave the culprit, she wants Brent to meet the family at the airport, ride with her to the service, and sit with the family at the service.

  • I was upset, but I realized that our youth today are young and stupid, and we were all once that age, and we’ve all done things we’re not proud of. I realized that everyone thinks they’re invincible, and everyone thinks, ‘It’s not going to happen to me.’ “I know Josh Brent, and he’s been part of our family since Jerry went to the University of Illinois. All I can do is to pray for him and his family. I know he is hurting just as much as we are, because (he) and Jerry were like brothers.”

Cowboy owner Jerry Jones shared similar sentiments:

  • “[Jackson] wanted to be right with Josh and to express in every way she could how much they loved him and thought of him, and didn’t want to have him grieve for his loss as a friend without being included in their family.  It’s so tragic when you think about that they were best friends. Josh was elated when Jerry came on the team, because they were such good friends and teammates in college. Josh, of course, was on the regular team and consequently had a place to live. Jerry was on the practice squad, and there’s quite a difference in the economics that they make, so Jerry was living with Josh on Josh’s generosity. Those guys were on the way to their house when this accident happened. It’s so, so tragic for everybody involved.”

The incongruous part of the USA Today article concerned the consequences that might befall Josh Brent because of this horrific accident.  Despite Jones’ apparent support, the article suggested that Josh could be suspended under the NFL’s player conduct policy or by the Cowboys.  And then there is the pending charge of involuntary manslaughter, which in Texas carries a prison sentence of 2-20 years.

Although criminal negligence is technically an offense against the state, and thus isn’t controlled by the wishes of the victim or the victim’s family, prosecutors in recent years appear to be more deferential and less headstrong. 

Let’s hope that everyone involved here hears Jerry Brown’s mom.


1 Comment »

  1. I was wondering why Bob Coughs-trash didn’t come out and say the problem is the “American fast car culture” or the “American alcohol culture”. Or maybe something like this: “if not for alcohol and fast cars that young man would be alive today…

    Comment by Q — December 13, 2012 @ 9:40 pm | Reply

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