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Road rage man gets sentenced to 3 years.
July 13, 2001 12:47 PM   Subscribe

Road rage man gets sentenced to 3 years. The man who threw the fluffy white dog into oncoming traffic is sentenced to 3 years in jail -- the maximum jail time allowed. Is this appropriate? Extreme? If there wasn't such media attention to this case, or if the dog wasn't so cute, would the man have still gotten maximum jail time?
posted by jennak (40 comments total)

 
i find it rather annoying that the dog was in the lap of the driver at the time of this... that said, i dunno if i would have given him the max time or not. i don't have any other cases of animal cruelty and subsequent jail times of those cases to compare with.
posted by moz at 12:52 PM on July 13, 2001


I'm glad he got 3 years. Even though it didn't come out in this court case (officially), it was discovered that he had previously clubbed a stray dog to death while in the Navy in Puerto Rico. Definite pattern of behavior from an angry young man.
posted by msacheson at 1:00 PM on July 13, 2001


Yes, but he thought the dog was going for a gun.
posted by geronimo_rex at 1:05 PM on July 13, 2001


I'm just waiting for someone to print the headline:

Man gets sentenced to 3 years--or 21 in dog years.
posted by shylock at 1:05 PM on July 13, 2001


Jail time is good, but how about a reduction in the amount of time behind bars (new meaning to the word "Bitch" for the jerk, eh?), with the remainder of his sentence to be fulfilled by doing work at local animal shelter? Supervised, of course. WELL supervised to prevent further cruelty. You get the idea.
posted by davidmsc at 1:07 PM on July 13, 2001


Early press reports said that the dog jumped onto the driver's lap when Mr. Road Rage approached the driver's window. Maybe true, maybe not.

At least the dog wasn't using a cell phone at the time.
posted by dws at 1:10 PM on July 13, 2001


any act of cruelty against and innocent animal is pretty messed up - unless that animal is a 8 foot, purple dinosaur called, barney. Rah! I'd pay money to see him get the crap kicked out of him! (oh by the way im pissed so dont read much into this) Obvisouly, if your out camping with your family and a huge fu** off grizzle attacks your camp, i wouldnt expect anyone to think of this post and decide "oh, i cant fire my 12 bore into his chest as thats 'pretty messed up' " - but if barney attacked my camp and i had a 12 bore, well the pics would be up on the net the following morning - pls people there's nothing to see here, move along - just a pi** head, running his mouth
posted by monkeyJuice at 1:12 PM on July 13, 2001


the remainder of his sentence to be fulfilled by doing work at local animal shelter?

What's with the recent undercurrent of "appropriate punishment" deals that stink of Puritanical smartassness?

He certainly isn't going to suddenly develop empathy for animals by cleaning up their waste everyday and seeing sick and old animals sit in cages all day. Not to mention its a waste of a perfectly good volunteer just to *watch* him.

America is starting to turn into a scary place with the recent spats of "creative punishments" that do nothing but keep bored judges entertained. I can't wait to be busted for something trivial, oh lets say possesion, and then given a sentance of flying to South America with a flame thrower to burn down cannibis crops.

Its called jail, break the law and you will probably end up there and not on some poetic justice fantasy of some judge.
posted by skallas at 1:31 PM on July 13, 2001


This is absurd. There are rapists and child molesters who don't get 3 years.
posted by revbrian at 1:32 PM on July 13, 2001


The existence of unjust sentences does not make this one less just.
posted by frykitty at 1:34 PM on July 13, 2001


I can't wait to be busted for something trivial, oh lets say possesion, and then given a sentance of flying to South America with a flame thrower to burn down cannibis crops.

Bust me and sign me up... as long as I'm downwind.
posted by tj at 1:35 PM on July 13, 2001


This is absurd. There are rapists and child molesters who don't get 3 years.

See, in my world *that* is absurd. Rapists and child molesters should get plenty of jail time, but so should violent jag-offs with poor impulse control.
posted by CrazyUncleJoe at 1:36 PM on July 13, 2001


Personally, I didn't think the dog was cute (fluffy white Bichon Frises -so pretentious!- annoy me). But there is no excuse for this man throwing any animal onto a busy freeway because he couldn't control his temper. Just like there's no excuse for beating the crap out of a kid for being curious and making messes.
posted by raintea at 1:36 PM on July 13, 2001


Exactly, frykitty.
posted by raintea at 1:39 PM on July 13, 2001


The existence of unjust sentences does not make this one less just.

Nor do they make it just, other sentences have nothing to do with this one. That said, I too feel that the sentence was NOT commensurate with the crime - I don't feel that the life of a human being should be worth less time than a dog under ANY circumstances. If he had killed a human being in a rage like that he could have claimed insanity, how was this any different? The guy needs psychological help not jail time...
posted by RevGreg at 1:52 PM on July 13, 2001


Wait, so because there have been unjust sentences meted out to those who hurt people that have been less than 3 years, this guy shouldn't get 3 years for this gross offense? That's circular logic. Or something.

In any case, the very fact that this guy reached into the woman's vehicle and grabbed anything shows a problem. He decided to react in an aggressive, physical, confrontational manner over a fender bender.

I don't doubt for one second that if there had been no dog, he would've grabbed and attacked the woman. If it had been a child on her lap, we'd be having the standard argument here about the death penalty.

The guy does need psychological help, and hopefully part of his sentence will include mandatory counseling. But he also did something illegal and offensive to society, and therefore deserves the punishment of jail. He may be ill, but he's also a criminal and ought to be treated as one.
posted by Dreama at 1:57 PM on July 13, 2001


See, in my world *that* is absurd. Rapists and child molesters should get plenty of jail time, but so should violent jag-offs with poor impulse control.


This case is pure sensationalism. What about the thousands of newly bought pets that get abandoned every year especially around Eastertime? Its one thing to lose your temper and kill an animal and its another to let "the dog go free" and later find its remains on the street after being hit by the car. Or the ubiquitous starving cats in urban centers.

I would hope one would get less of a sentence for doing something out of passion compared to planning to do something illegal. Its really the difference between manslaughter and murder one.

Here's a fun scenario, this guy tries to grab my dog and I lose my temper like a good violent jag-off and throw him into traffic. At best this is manslaughter. Now picture me sitting at home and making elaborate plans to kill someone I don't like and pulling it off. That's murder.
posted by skallas at 2:02 PM on July 13, 2001


People, it was just a dog. Now, I completely agree that his actions were inhumane and uncalled for, but three years is more than a little excessive.

Let's say instead of tossing a dog into traffic he tossed a goldfish and its bowl into traffic. Would anyone even consider giving him six weeks? Of course not. Doing more so for an animal just because it happens to be a mammal is stupid.

(By the way, don't try the argument that a dog's life is worth more than a goldfish's life. I cried when my goldfish died.)
posted by mrbula at 2:04 PM on July 13, 2001


I don't doubt for one second that if there had been no dog, he would've grabbed and attacked the woman.

Or her child? Sorry, but that doesn't register. There are a whole bunch of people out there that have no trouble beating a dog but wouldn't dare beat their wife. You might as well say, "Osama Bin Ladin is violent, so is this guy, thus this guy must be Osama Bin Ladin."
posted by skallas at 2:10 PM on July 13, 2001


New link but the thread debate's identical to the last time we had it...
posted by DiplomaticImmunity at 2:13 PM on July 13, 2001


Why 3 years? Why not 5? Why not 6 months? Why not fifty bajilliion quintillion years? Why not spin a wheel to see how long his sentence will be? Is there any "sense" or reason behind the jail times, or are most of these numbers all but plucked out of a hat? That's my concern- what's he going to learn or change about himself in 3 years that he wouldn't learn in 1? Or in 6 months? While no jail time would be silly, it seems that people who create sentences like "3 years" are being completely arbitrary. It's part of the dehumanization of our "justice" system- people making or supporting sentences like N years or X months who haven't spent even one night in jail, or one week, to presume what it would truly mean to spend 3 years in jail. Three years is a long time, and seems like it is so long as to not really accomplish anything beyond slapping this guy down as if he were a misbehaving cur...

Some of the comments on this thread sound less like "This sentence is meant to properly punish and rehabilitate him so he learns his lesson while also changing his behavior so that it doesn't happen again when he gets out" and more like "Rar! Fuck him! Bad man! Hulk Smash! Graaaaar! Revenge! Mwuhahahaha!". The old thread DI linked has gems like "Disrespect for... life is a dangerous thing" followed by calls to punish the guy as harshly as possible. Not that we'd, uh, disrespect his life or anything... :) Emotional rage shouldn't be a component of justice- because when it is, it's nothing but revenge.
posted by hincandenza at 2:26 PM on July 13, 2001



yar yar yar. Yes, we've discussed Leo before, so what.

Although I too am unfond of little yappy dogs (are bichon frise dogs yappy? whatever, my prejudice for miniature canines remains), I'm glad to see this bastard locked up. A person who would do such a thing really needs to be made to see that his actions have consequences. I am in agreement with those who feel that it would have been totally ridiculous to let this guy get off easy because other criminals sometimes do; what kind of justice would that be? The message sent would have been, essentially, "Yeah, so you went into a murderous rage and caused a stranger much grief and loss but it was just a dog so *shakes finger* don't do that again, mmmkay?"

But I dunno how I would feel about making the guy work in an animal shelter---on one hand, it would ostensibly be more geared toward rehabilitation than punishment, which is generally good---on the other, you don't see child abusers sentenced to work in day care centers.
posted by Sapphireblue at 2:29 PM on July 13, 2001


He murdered a dog. 3 years doesn't seem so hard. Murder a baby that can't even open its eyes and you can get longer!
posted by wackybrit at 2:39 PM on July 13, 2001


Just out of curiosity, how many of you that are cheering this decision are vegans?
posted by ljromanoff at 3:01 PM on July 13, 2001


And how many of you aren't?
posted by ljromanoff at 3:02 PM on July 13, 2001


This isn't about the dog, it's about someone who reacted with rage and violence to a minor incident. I do think he presents a threat. I do think he might violently attack a person. I can't speak to the length of the sentence, since I have no idea what formula was followed (although I doubt it was strictly of the "pull a number out of a hat" variety) - but yes, I do think [x] jail time is warranted.

The previous discussion talked about the public outcry and the reward money being out of proportion, given the number of acts of violence against humans which are slip by without a mention. I don't disagree with that. I don't even think it's particularly newsworthy (although it has proved discussionworthy IMO). That doesn't mean his actions weren't criminal. Maybe the punishment will cause him to reflect on the inappropriateness of reacting to trivial events with explosive rage before he becomes the subject of a death penalty discussion.

... then again, the clips they showed of him in court didn't portray someone who was eager to learn...
posted by CrazyUncleJoe at 3:18 PM on July 13, 2001


The question is, how many year should this human-attacking cat get?
posted by nicolotesla at 3:37 PM on July 13, 2001


"It is not known why Daigle was giving his parrot a shower."

Best. Closing. Ever.
posted by frykitty at 3:50 PM on July 13, 2001


3 years? This is amazing, blows my mind actually.

As discussed earlier, thousands of animals are put the sleep each year, but this guy did it in a high-profile way and we're giving him 3 years in JAIL! It's a dog! A dog!
posted by Mark at 4:44 PM on July 13, 2001


thousands of animals are put the sleep each year, but this guy did it in a high-profile way and we're giving him 3 years in JAIL! It's a dog! A dog!

So you're saying his road rage assault and killing of a dog is the same as being "put to sleep"..."in a high profile way"?

The scary thought is I'm sure he (the killer) also shared the "it's just a dog" line of thinking.
posted by jca at 5:15 PM on July 13, 2001


As far as I see it, this is more than an act of animal cruelty. It was, essentially, an act of psychological torture against the dog's owner. He certainly had nothing against the dog, he was trying to hurt the owner. That's pretty sick, and that's what makes it an appropriate sentence.
posted by jpoulos at 5:22 PM on July 13, 2001


Must concur with your assessment, jp. It's not about the dog at all.
posted by kindall at 5:36 PM on July 13, 2001


substitute dog for something small and living. this guy got his. yessir, dogs can lower your heartrate(where they got the license is still in doubt...i suspect Tijuana.)Really, i wanna fop again, but i think this is a message to men. Dont fuck with a persons dog.(though i would have given him one year, no parole) 3 years is what..16 months maybe less.(this guy doesnt deserve the chance to lighten his sentence through 'good deeds')
posted by clavdivs at 6:27 PM on July 13, 2001


Just out of curiosity, how many of you that are cheering this decision are vegans?

Must invalidate. MustMust invalidate. Must invalidate. MustMust. . .

Does babyjesus have any other emotions. . .like cooing?
posted by crasspastor at 7:35 PM on July 13, 2001


Crispy Feline not withstanding. . .
posted by crasspastor at 7:39 PM on July 13, 2001


Three years? About right.

If it were my dog, let's just say I'd probably be serving some time myself - know what I mean?

Murderers, rapists, child molesters? Lock 'em up and... damn, where's the key? Oh well.
posted by owillis at 9:22 PM on July 13, 2001


At least it wasn't a cute little kitten....
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:15 AM on July 14, 2001


I don't think three years is excessive. He'll be eligible for parole in one year and one day, if I understand the charge correctly. If anyone had been injured in a car accident caused by his actions, he'd be doing a lot more time.
posted by rcade at 6:49 AM on July 14, 2001


Here in the UK, we've been slaughtering hundreds of thousands of animals over the past few months because of foot and mouth disease. As this article in the Guardian suggests, possession of cute fluffiness and doe-eyes does appear to skew our judgement. Would he have done the time if she'd had a pet RAT on her lap?

"Calves are pretty so they will now be spared. Sheep and pigs are not that pretty, so they're still for it. Lobsters, toads and stag beetles might as well all just commit suicide now. But if it's suddenly discovered that labrador puppies and koala bears are the worst carriers of foot and mouth then the government is really in trouble."
posted by RichLyon at 12:49 AM on July 15, 2001


Would he have done the time if she'd had a pet RAT on her lap?

There's a difference between killing animals for food, killing animals to stop a disease, and maliciously killing an animal to terrorize its owner -- and endangering drivers on a fast-moving highway in the process.
posted by rcade at 6:14 AM on July 15, 2001


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