Amy Senser will have 41 months … and longer to wonder how different things might have been had she stayed at the scene of her accident last year. Martiga Lohn’s AP story on Senser’s sentencing this morning says: “Hennepin County Judge Daniel Mabley said Senser’s remorse rang true, but he wasn’t satisfied with her account of what happened last Aug. 23, when she struck and killed Phanthavong, 38, on a freeway exit ramp. Mabley said Senser avoided taking responsibility, even after the panic immediately following the crash had subsided. ‘This avoidance of responsibility was not out of panic or confusion. It was orchestrated,’ Mabley told an overflowing courtroom in Minneapolis. ‘A certain momentum develops around these denials.’ Mabley said the prison sentence was important to deter what he called an ‘epidemic’ of hit-and-run deaths in the state. He rejected defense attorney Eric Nelson’s request that Senser remain free pending an appeal.”
At MPR, Bob Collins adds to what David Hanners and others have written in recent days: “How does it stack up against other hit and run sentences? Here are a few recent ones:
March 2012 — Christopher Trauman, of Oronoco, was given 16 years in prison in the November 2010 hit-and-run of four people in Rochester, one of whom died. Authorities lodged 21 counts against him. He was drinking at the time of the accident.
February 2012 — Mark Wayne Lindgren, 55, of Bloomington was sentenced to three months in the workhouse for the hit and run accident that killed Dorothy Hanson. The accident occurred on 10th Avenue S in October 2010 as Ms. Hanson was crossing Old Shakopee Road.
November 2011 — Gregory John Larsin , 21, was sentenced to seven years and four months in prison for the hit-and-run death of a 78-year-old man. He passed a group of vehicles stopped at a crosswalk to allow the elderly man to cross.”
David Peterson of the Strib writes of Senser’s new home in Shakopee: “The prison houses about 600 inmates in a complex that includes 11 buildings, including seven “living units” and one designed to segregate offenders from one another. Shakopee houses people at all levels of security and with a range of severity of crimes, from homicide to driving offenses. Amy Senser, 45, will find an inmate group that’s nearly two-thirds white and, while it tilts slightly younger than she, has nearly 300 people in the 36- to 55-year-old age range. Inmates can work on jobs maintaining the institution itself or serving food. They can also take jobs through a state-owned enterprise called MINNCOR, which pays them for their work but slices off a portion for taxes, cost of incarceration and restitution to victims. It also has educational programs.”
Also in the realm of lawyering up … ESPN is reporting: “Minnesota Vikings tailback Adrian Peterson has hired high-profile attorney Rusty Hardin to represent him after he was charged with resisting arrest Saturday in Houston. ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter confirmed Peterson’s hiring of Hardin. Hardin successfully defended former major league pitcher Roger Clemens against charges he lied about not using performance-enhancing drugs in testimony he made before Congress. Peterson was arrested in Houston early Saturday morning after an early morning incident where police say it took three officers to subdue him. Peterson, from Palestine, Texas, was released from jail Saturday on a $1,000 bond. The charge is a misdemeanor, and Peterson is due in court on Friday, according to the Houston Chronicle.” That’s a lot of firepower for a misdemeanor charge. But then when endorsement money is at stake …
Also in the realm of make-work projects for attorneys: Rachel Stassen-Berger of the Strib says of marriage amendment supporters’ plans to sue over the ballot question’s title: “In late June, Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, a Democrat, said he planned to change the title of the amendment question on the November ballot from ‘Recognition of marriage solely between one man and one woman’ to ‘Limiting the status of marriage to opposite sex couples.’ Supporters of the amendment, which would constitutionally define marriage as only the union of heterosexual couples, say Ritchie ‘unlawfully’ changed the title. … Ritchie has said he was empowered to change it because Gov. Mark Dayton, also a Democrat, issued a veto of the amendment, which Ritchie believes negated the title of the question.The veto, the thinking goes, applied to the legislation around the amendment question, which included the title, but not the question itself.” There is no truth that Ritchie considered changing the title to “The 2012 Republican Wedge Issue/Fringe Voter Catalyzation Amendment.”
In Don Davis’ story for the Forum papers, we have GOP Rep. Steve “The Draz” Drazkowski, never confused with the Legislature’s most-publicity-shy member, going on record with his complaints about Mr. Ritchie: “Ritchie said the veto stripped the amendment of its title and it is his job to make sure each constitutional amendment proposal has a title. ‘I’m rather saddened to see a secretary of state get involved in a partisan’ issue like the proposal, said Sen. Warren Limmer, R-Maple Grove, the chief Senate author of the proposal. Rep. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa, said that changing the title violates the state Constitution because that decision belongs to legislators. ‘Secretary of State Mark Ritchie is attempting to subvert the will of the people of Minnesota.’ While there is no deadline, Sen. Julianne Ortman, R-Chanhassen, said she expects the high court to accept arguments from both sides and hold a hearing within 45 to 60 days, in time to decide the title issue before ballots are printed.”
In Tim Nelson’s MPR story, we read: “Letters exchanged in June between the offices of Ritchie and Swanson point to a state law under which ‘the secretary of state shall provide an appropriate title for each question.’ Ritchie announced Monday that he has also reworked the title for a constitutional amendment seeking to impose a photo ID requirement for voting. In a news release, Ritchie said the ballot question would carry the following title: ‘Changes to In-Person & Absentee Voting & Voter Registration; Provisional Ballots.’ Sponsors of the measure had set the title previously as ‘Photo Identification Required for Voting.’ That measure is also before the Supreme Court because opponents say the question is vague and misleading.” I thought “The American Legislative Exchange Council Non-Job Creator Suppression Amendment” had a nice ring to it.
“Vodka Mom” has died. Says Bob Shaw at the PiPress: “A Cottage Grove woman accused of getting drunk and accidentally suffocating her baby has killed herself. Toni Medrano, 29, died Saturday at Regions Hospital — after national news coverage ridiculed her as the ‘Vodka Mom.’ Medrano, Cottage Grove, set fire to herself on Monday, July 2, in her mother’s yard in St. Paul Park, according to the Associated Press. She was hospitalized for five days before she died. In June Medrano was charged with two counts of manslaughter in Washington County District Court. She allegedly drank almost a fifth of vodka on the night of Nov. 21, 2011, then fell asleep with her baby boy, Adrian, on a couch. The boy died. Medrano was recently the subject of a segment on the ‘Nancy Grace’ show on the HLN cable channel. In that segment, Grace dubbed Medrano the ‘Vodka Mom’ and decried Medrano’s carelessness. The story was picked up by other national news outlets.”
Have you seen the video of the truly startling thunderclap at last night’s Twins-Rangers game in Texas? Here it is, via the PiPress site. Watch Josh Willingham at first base.