On August 1, 2012, the family vehicle of Shawn and Patricia Wonderly was struck in the City of Poughkeepsie by a felon actively running from police. While fortunately, their two young children survived the horrific accident, tragically, Shawn and Patricia did not.
While the perpetrator plead guilty, under the current law, regardless of the number of victims killed during a single act, sentencing must run concurrently, allowing him to get off easy by serving both of those sentences at the same time.
The Result? A punishment that fails to fit the crime. The man responsible for the Wonderlys’ deaths—and for effectively making two young children orphans—will serve only 6 ½ to 13 years in jail.
Since taking office, I have worked with Assemblymen Frank Skartados and Kieran Lalor to sponsor legislation that would authorize judges to impose consecutive sentences when two or more lives are lost as a result of a single criminal act.
Each year, the legislation passes in the State Senate with little opposition, but each year, it is routinely blocked by the Assembly Codes Committee.
In April of this year, our community lost a fierce champion for this legislation when Assemblyman Frank Skartados passed away unexpectedly from advanced stage pancreatic cancer. Following the Assemblyman’s passing, Assemblyman Lalor and I committed to carrying on the cause and are working to find a new advocate in the Assembly Majority, but to date, no member of the Assembly’s Majority Conference has stepped up to the plate.
Enough is enough—it’s time to fix this sentencing loophole. If you agree and would like to join our fight for justice, please sign the petition below.