A judge in Texas is reconsidering his decision to impose what NJ DUI lawyers consider a shocking punishment of a person convicted of a DUI offense. The judge had ordered the man, who was involved in a fatal drunk driving accident, to stand at the accident scene for four days wearing a placard implicating him in the accident.
In June 2011, Michael Giacono was involved in a drunk driving accident that killed 20-year-old Aaron Pennywell. He was convicted of charges related to drunk driving and received a one-year sentence, of which he served three months. As part of the terms of Giacono’s probation, the judge ordered him to wear a sign saying “I Killed Aaron Coy Pennywell While Driving Drunk” from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the accident scene, which has been turned into a makeshift memorial for the victim’s family. Texas judges have wide discretionary powers in imposing punishment.
Giacono was ordered to visit the scene for four consecutive Saturdays. He was also ordered to wear an ankle monitoring bracelet and display a photograph of the victim’s car after the accident in his home. The judge has since announced that he is reconsidering the punishment.
No NJ DUI lawyer will deny that this punishment is excessive and unusual. It’s reasonable to wonder if the judge would have ordered a similar punishment if the crime had been a sex crime, gang-related violence or a violent crime.
What is even more appalling to NJ DUI lawyers is the level of support for Giacono’s punishment. Not only does the victim’s family approve of the punishment, but many people have found it perfectly appropriate to brand a drunk driver a despicable criminal worthy of deep humiliation.
The NJ DUI lawyers at Helmer Paul Conley and Kasselman represent persons charged with DUI, murder, fraud, assault, sex crimes, drug crimes and other crimes across New Jersey.