Friday, June 05, 2020

People v. Bettasso (Cal. Ct. App. - June 5, 2020)

Michael Bettasso gets sentenced to 19 years to life for driving while intoxicated.  That's a lot of time.  Mind you, he did hit and kill someone.  That's a huge deal.

Still, there are plenty of people who deliberately kill people that don't sentenced to 19 years.  There are nonetheless some bad facts for Mr. Bettasso.  He's a bartender, and there's a video that shows him drinking a mixed alcoholic drink (while on duty) at 1:21 p.m.  Which wouldn't be all that terrible, but for the fact that the video also shows him drinking "an additional six mixed drinks, including four between 1:21 p.m. and 3:05 p.m., one at 4:16 p.m., and one at 6:06 p.m. . . . [plus] five total shots at 3:49 p.m., 4:53 p.m., 5:39 p.m., 5:55 p.m., and 6:34 p.m."

That's a lot of booze.  A lot.

Plus there were the statements of his co-workers, who testified that he was definitely drunk and told him she shouldn't drive.  Indeed, one of the last statements to Bettasso, from a close childhood friend (who worked with him at the bar), was:  "You are an asshole if you decide to drive."


One last thing.  "The parties stipulated that Bettasso had four prior DUI convictions in 2001, 2005, 2013, and 2014. For the 2013 and 2014 convictions, Bettasso admitted that his blood-alcohol content (BAC) level was over .15 percent."


There's still the issue of whether 19 years isn't too much given that other defendants who knowingly kill often receive lighter sentences.  But some would argue that's a problem with the latter cases, not the former.  Regardless, given the facts of Mr. Bettasso's offense, you can understand why he gets the sentence he does.  Even if you don't agree with it.

Don't get four DUI's, get drunk, and drive.  Terrible idea.

"You're an asshole" understates the appropriate critique.