Thursday, February 21, 2019

People v. Bueno (Cal. Ct. App. - Feb. 19, 2019)

I don't know many of the underlying facts, since they aren't recounted in this opinion.  What I do know is that Vanessa Bueno was driving a vehicle while intoxicated and rolled it over, which in turn ejected her eight-year old son -- killing him -- as well as injured her teenage daughter.  And that Ms. Bueno pled guilty to gross vehicular manslaughter and was sentenced to 11-plus years in prison.

I can only imagine that pain and anguish caused by being directly and completely responsible for the death of your eight-year old child.  I'm not really sure how that plays into how much prison time you get for that offense.  Obviously, the mother gets sentenced to prison -- it's a serious crime.  Whether you need to pile on 11 years in addition to the lifelong pain of being responsible for your son's death is something I can't ascertain from a cold appellate record.

Ultimately the Court of Appeal remands for Ms. Bueno to be resentenced by the same judge that took her plea, since she never waived that right.  Maybe she'll get the same sentence.  Maybe not.

One thing's for sure.  Don't drink and drive.

Particularly when your kids are in the car.