Cuffed and stuffed

We got at the courthouse about 7:45 (Rusty had been awake since 3:30). They don’t open until 8, so some of us piled into a nearby cafe for coffee (regular; their espresso machine had exploded and its replacement hadn’t arrived). We went over at 8 and got coached in court protocol by the victim advocate. An order for the Victim Impact Statements was set. The judge was to be retired (sitting)judge Joseph R. Kainrad, as rumor had it that Judge Pittman was at the party in D.C. Events were set for 8:30, but were delayed because the prosecutor was late. There were 17 of our guys and about 15 on Nelly’s team (I counted as they came through the door; it would have been rude to look back.) The reserved front bench contained a young woman from the Record-Courier (presumably Marci Piltz, author of this.) and 3 members of the Warren team invited to come up as there was no room in back. The only decoration in the court was a plant and a picture of Abe Lenin Lincoln on the wall.

Proceedings began at 8:52. The judge briefly reviewed the charges. He was curt and no-nonsense, though not in any way hostile, and seemed ancient(he’d been on the bench 40 years). The Victim Impact Statements followed: Rusty, Jessie, Ada, Laurie Ann. Rusty got weepy, but plowed ahead. Hers was longest (as befits the only true victim to still be incarnate), and fact-oriented, as well as having a bit of humor (“We were looking for her next husband”). Then Jessie up with her husband. She was halting at first, but got going. The Nelly crew was audibly pissed when she accused Nelly of deliberation in the homicide; I hadn’t suggested an edit when they were over, because I know better than to step between a woman and her fury; even though statements were to be addressed to the judge, there was plenty of third-person abuse of Ms. Perp to go around. Ada was with hubby and her son Dustin. She got talking about “the holidays” which elicited a “Jeez” from somebody behind me. Laura’s was shortest and dealt principally with the medical bill. This was all done by 9:16.

Then the defense lawyer had his say: Nelly has a loving family too. Weather conditions were not good, Nelly had wanted to turn around (whoops, he’s getting into trouble here with the judge, as Nelly was going home; where would she turn around to? Uh, the bar?), the most remorseful client he’s ever had (probably true; there were those phone calls while Rusty was still in the hospital), these things are a matter of fate — 30 seconds earlier departure by either party would have avoided this (hmmm, wouldn’t that just change the location of the accident?). Then he put Nelly on to apologize. The emaciated woman cried her way through…and I did feel sorry for her, and for her family. That could have been me, when I was young and stupid, though I never got a DUI. And they’re going to lose her. It sucks. But that doesn’t change ultimate responsibility, which nobody was trying to duck (not even the lawyer who was blaming the weather).

The prosecutor then had to clarify the license situation for the judge (as she was driving on a valid license, contrary to the original writeup). The judge philosophized about how hard these cases are, saying “I wish I’d stayed down on the farm in the dairy business”. Then BOOM- the verdict:
For the aggravated vehicular homicide: 4 years
aggravated vehicular assault: 1 year, to be served consecutively
Five years!

They cuffed her, her family shouted “We love you, Nelly!” And one graceless lout from our crew shouted “She got off easy!”

Then they brought her back. Rusty thought for a moment that they were going to lighten her sentence because one of our folks was rude. No… the judge being old-school had neglected some modern niceties, like explaining post-release control and the penalties for probation violation (Doing maximum time: 8 and 5, respectively.) All done by 9:25 or so.

There was some hand-wringing afterwards, as she’ll be up for judicial review after 2.5 years, and the militant wing of the family took this as “She only got 2 years” (as opposed to “Hanging’s too good for her”, which was their sentiment.) The family lawyer set them straight on this. Oddly, since it’s my wife after all who now has trouble with those “romantic walks around the block”, I felt very dispassionate about things, and think 5 years was a reasonable sentence. 2 would have been a slap in the face, but 8 would have been inappropriate due to mitigating factors. Yes, I want her to serve it all, but I’m more optimistic about that happening than some are (and I’m the guy who doesn’t trust the government, remember?). I’d rather see money than revenge.

There was a brief meeting with the lawyer about insurance stuff (He met today with our first lawyer, who called for the first time in 5 months last night), then 14 of us were off to Cracker Barrel to stuff face. I took Rusty home, got lunch together, and it’s done.

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10 Responses to Cuffed and stuffed

  1. Kim says:

    The scrawny-legged drowned-rat of a woman blubbered her way through…What kind of person are You,You don’t even know her,It was a accident,A cop took her blood without her permission…It could be one our children…Its wrong…. I have heard everything,And the reason you probably didn’t have a DUI when you were young was you just didn’t get busted..Things have changed,You talk about GOD ,Would GOD Want you to put one of his children in Prision?We are all part of GOD so who did you guys put in prision?Sounds like you all need to do some reading from the good book…There are no accidents,we all have our time. .And why did the hospital do surgery on an elderly women back to back…One surgery is hard,But 2…come on…and the there was a DNR….She could still be alive, but because of the DNR they didn’t even try to bring her back…

  2. jeffreyquick says:

    Point taken, Kim. Post edited for unnecessary snark.

  3. kishnevi says:

    I’m with the militant wing of the family. However appropriate “there go I but for the grace of God”, you never did kill anyone when you were drunk. And, while she undoubtedly will be remorseful for the rest of her life, a minute’s thought beforehand on her part would have spared all of this.

    Probably I’m biased by the criminal defendants I dealt with when I was interning at the PD’s office yea these many years ago–there was never a one I felt sorry for at all, except for the schlub who came for Spring Break (from Ohio, IIRC) and whose quickie on the beach turned into a sexual battery charge when the girl sobered up next morning. (The case turned on some sand in a particularly private part of the female anatomy.) He pled out to get it over with. Of course, this bias probably has something to do with the fact that I have never touched a criminal case since then.
    But I don’t see any factors that would mitigate for me.

    Of course, that’s easy for me to say here in freezing Florida*.

    As a practical matter, she may only serve those 2 1/2 years, so tell the militant wing of the family to start laying in ammo now–I’m assuming it’s basically the same as here, and the victim’s family will have a chance to state their case. After all, the state will need her cell for another drug dealer (or fresh milk producer, at the rate things are going) well before the five years are up.

    *Global warming strikes again. Low tonight forecast in the 30s, wind chill taking it down into the 20s. You may be almost as warm as we are tonight.

  4. Hammer says:

    My posting was mistakenly posted under comments for Nelly Warren arraigned instead of here under cuffed and stuffed… of course our genious bloggers knows that cause he is so in touch with this site.

  5. jeffreyquick says:

    Hammer’s comments are here. I’m going to address them here though, because that’s where he intended to put them, and where they’re topical. (Yes, I could probably move them…I’ll try that after I finish this.)

    First, thank you for taking the time to post here. I really do think all sides of this story need to be told. If I’ve been “blogging ignorance”, I am willing to be set straight. Posting in public like this, I do think I have a duty to get it right.

    As for those “boisterous comments” … that wasn’t me, and I was as appalled as you were. The irony was that the person chiefly involved has an alcohol problem himself. Every family has a black sheep, and we try to help him, just as I’m sure you tried to help Nelly before this tragic event.

    Re my wife’s impact statement: she started with the little stuff and ended with the big stuff. It was a literary choice. You would have made other choices. But it in no way implies that she valued her car more than her mother. In the hospital she was complaining about having lost a full tank of expensive gas; that didn’t mean she valued the gas more than her car, mother, or her own health. She’s worked on that statement since the accident, and it’s probably good for all concerned that she didn’t read everything that she’s written. It was condensed in the last week, and condensed more on delivery.

    Re “Ms. Perp” : I began using that at the beginning, even though I knew Nelly’s name, because It was not yet a matter of public record, and I didn’t feel it was my job to put it there. Once her name came out in the papers, I began using it, but occasionally used the old form for variety. The intent was to protect Nelly’s privacy, not to dehumanize her; I’m sorry if it was taken that way.

    I’m truly sorry about your sister and your daughter. No, the FDA can’t be trusted to protect you. And the same people who can’t be trusted to ensure that drugs are safe can’t be trusted to keep drunks off the road. Personally, I find your policy idea appalling, but I’m not going to get into that here; if you read more of the blog you’ll figure it out. Ultimately, everyone must be responsible for him/herself. Government exists solely to protect us from those who will not be responsible.

    Re the legal niceties: thank you in particular for those details. From the prosecution side too, we saw enough sloppiness to ruin whatever faith I had in the legal system. My wife had figured out the license suspension issue from online court documents, and tried to tell the prosecutor’s office, but they didn’t want to listen. I believe that justice was done, but it was done almost in spite of the courts, which seem to act mainly as a full-employment system for lawyers.

    My wife woke up today feeling that it was the first day of the rest of her life. I know that this, too, is the first day of the rest of her life for Nelly and your family, but in a darker, sadder sense. But there’s the same need to go forward. I personally bear Nelly no ill will, nor any of your family. My hope and prayer is that both families will use this experience to become more than they ever dreamed to be.

  6. jeffreyquick says:

    Hammer’s comment (copied from the other post):

    Wow what an amazing display of hatred I observed today in the courtroom today… as I sat in the courtroom to support my best friend I was overwhelmed by the fact that to HATE take so much effort and to LOVE comes so naturally. To the Quick family I would like to pass my sincerest condolences…. losing a loved one is never easy no matter what the circumstances. Unfortunately, however Mr. Jeffrey Quick and other in the family have continually turned their love in hatred by BLOGGING IGNORANCE and making boisterous comments while court was in session. I had to wonder what was going through the judges mind as Patricia started her statement by discribing her unbareable pain in losing her NEW CAR with its new hoses, engine, and 100,000 mile warranty. Obviously, material things are very important to Patricia. Why are you taking about your car first before your MOTHER that you love so much??? Needless to say I was stunned. I emotionally sat teary-eyed both for a stranger that I have never met and my best friend due to all the sorrow in both families hearts and listened to another family member attempt to tell the judge that the decision to turn off life support was something they will always question….. after 8days. The pain of that decision was very evident in the courtroom… I would always wonder myself if in their shoes if after a little more time to help the recovery process she may have lived??? Would we even be here for this hearing??? Sure the rest of her life would have been hard and many would have to have help just get around but the love would be there and it would never be a burden to care for your loved ones. Having been through some life changing times myself, I understand how easy it is to blame others for the hurt. My baby sister passed away at the age of 4months due to SIDS. She loved having her big brother hold her and would cry anytime the other family members wanted a little of her time…. hard days for me as just a 7th grader. At that young age I thought it was God’s fault cuz my baby sister couldn’t have hurt anyone and never deserved this after all I was there to protect her from harm…..it takes alot of energy to hate. After becoming an adult and marrying at the age of 30 my wife and I had a son and soon after a little girl… The day of her 4month shot for DTaP she went into an hour long seizure and within months was diagnosed with SMEI (servere myclonic epilepse of infancy) the doctors said it has nothing to do with the shot…. who could I blame??? Doesn’t the FDA make the drug companies prove their shots won’t hurt our children???? Instead of hating I decided to turn it into LOVE and try my best to make sure my baby girl is as happy as she can be for the rest of her life. The fact that she will be like an infant for the rest of her live WILL NEVER be a burden to me but a blessing that has changed my life forever…. I pray that this family will be able to put love back into their hearts and understand that NOONE wanted this. Remarkably, Nelly was never arrested after her accident. As a matter of fact she continued to drive with a VALID license for over 6months. The officer at the scene has admitted to NEVER arresting Nelly while being questioned on the stand at an earlier court hearing. Also admitting that he was so busy with all the accidents that night he didn’t remain at the hospital for to long. Amazingly, the PERP as the ignorant blogger calls her, DID NOT try to get the case thrown out of court due to a tecnicality….. Rather, she knew she made a bad decision and wanted to take responsibility for her actions but wanted the court to know that the investigator for the prosecuter findings were wrong and her license WAS VALID and not under suspension. Why does the court paperwork signed by the judge say she was arrested????? especially when the cop ADMITTED UNDER OATH that she was not. Why because HE made a mistake and the system is trying to cover for his incompetance… Find any law book and it clearly states that an arrest must be made once the BAC reading indicates someone over the limit or there are grounds for dismissal. Guess that only comes into play with “to use our brilliant blogger Jeffery’s tact” people with OJ Simpson money. Reguardless of the screw ups by the legal system, the defendant only cared about the well being of both families that were affected by the accident and NOT how she could get out of it. That fact is something that the Quick family SHOULD think about… Ironically enough as I was leaving the courthouse I passed as couple members of the extended Quick family…. they were very somber as expected and were talking among themselves….. I heard the conversation as I approached my car…… they were discussing how they were not drinking anymore……. It was then that I realized that most people, including these two men, drink and have been behind the wheel at one time or another when they should not be…… Sadly not many think of the ramifications until after a tragedy like this happens. We hear about repeat offenders all the time…… WHY???? because alcohol is a DRUG and should be treated as such…… If the system cannot stop the repeat offerners NOONE CAN….. It is time for the government to use this BAILOUT MONEY to assure that these kind of accidents NEVER EVER HAPPEN….. Cars should have a monitoring device that attacts to the driver while driving….. The device could monitor the drivers blood alcohol levels every 10 or 15 minutes or the COMPUTER would shut off the car. NO ONE would ever be involved in a alcohol related crash again and it only would cost a few hundred dollars per car to install that the government would pay for at local area service stations. Wow more jobs to help the economy and less heartache for families from DUI accidents. That way families can use the LOVE in their hearts and not the hatred, which takes to much energy and consumes us in a negative way, to try to essure that tragedies like this are not a concern in the future. With Mrs. Vanhorn now in heaven, I know Jesus will show her how to help her family forgive and put his love back in their hearts instead of the hatred that is consuming them. As for Nelly and her family I would like to let you know that I think the LOVE your family shares for each other is something all families should share.

  7. Tom Jackson says:

    I’m happy for your wife that the sentencing finally has been carried out. Five years seems about right.

    In the end, I guess the system worked. I’m glad this will be the newspaper, because it’s a chance to educate everyone who drinks about how dangerous it is to get drunk and get behind the wheel. I don’t care if people drink themselves silly (and I think all drugs should be legalized), but I also think people should take responsibility for themselves.

  8. PAMELA says:

    I WAS JUST THINKING ALL YOU TALK ABOUT IS FOOD, MONEY AND PUTTING NELLY IN PRISON. THE WAY I HEAR IT THE FAMILY WAS IN CHARGE OF THE DNR AND STATED “PULL THE PLUG AND WALKED OUT” WOW…..IS THIS TRUE? JUST LEFT HER TO DIE ALONE. I KNOW NELLY WAS MORE CONCERNED ABOUT HER THAN WHAT YOU THINK. NELLY HAD A VERY LOVING MOTHER AND SHE DID TEACH HER CHILDREN TO LOVE ALL AND NOT TO JUDGE. NELLY HAS BEEN A BEAUTIFUL PERSON FROM BIRTH. DIDN’T SHE CALL PATRICIA FROM THE HOSPITAL ROOM TO CHECK ON THEM AND THE ONLY ANSWER SHE RECEIVED WAS THAT “MY LAWYER SAID NOT TO SPEAK TO YOU”, LOVING AND CONCERNED IS THE REAL NELLY NOT WHAT YOU HAVE PAINTED HER AS BEING……
    ALL YOU CAN DO IS MAKE COMMENTS ABOUT HER FAMILY. STOP AND TAKE A LOOK IN THE MIRROR.. ARE YOU PERFECT.. IS YOUR FAMILY PERFECT…. REMEMBER YOU TALK A GOOD TALK WHEN IT’S ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE. WE WILL ALL BE JUDGED BY GOD….IT’S NOT YOUR JOB TO DO IT.
    Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; LUKE 6:37..
    I DO PRAY FOR YOUR FAMILY TO FIND PEACE WITH THIS BUT TAKE A MOMENT AND REREAD THE COMMENTS YOU HAVE MADE.
    **NELLY IS LOVED BY MANY AND BY THE MEAN THINGS YOU SAY YOU ARE HARMING THE PEOPLE THAT LOVE NELLY….REMEMBER NELLY IS NOW IN JAIL AND SHE IS UNABLE TO READ YOUR COMMENTS.
    **WHY DON’T YOU LET THE HEALING PROCESS BEGIN AND QUIT ADDING TO THE PAIN OF “ALL”

  9. jeffreyquick says:

    “All I talk about?” There’s little about money there. I was trying to report the proceedings as they happened, and they included food. You’ll have a different take on it. Start your own blog, and you can vent to your heart’s content.

    “Left her to die alone?” Pamela, what kind of monsters do you think we are? Rusty had a friend rush her to the hospital, at a time when she wasn’t even supposed to be trying to walk with the walker, so that she could be there. Your side has been discussing the decision to withdraw life support as if we were putting a dog down, and frankly, that opinion says more about you than us.

    About those two calls: I was at the hospital for the one there, and I heard the message on the voice mail at home. And I don’t doubt for a minute that Nelly was truly contrite. But it was really bad timing. We had more important things to deal with than her feelings of guilt: Rusty and her Mom getting well. Who was that call supposed to benefit?

    My wife woke from a nightmare about the accident at 3 AM this morning. Did you? Did Nelly? As for letting the healing process begin, this blog post was quiet for 2 weeks before you decided to add to it. So who is it who is keeping things going? I’m minded to block comments, but I thought y’all might appreciate having your say.

    And you might want to get your caps lock fixed.

  10. PAMELA says:

    I SAID WHAT I WANTED TO SAY.

    **I LIKE TYPING IN CAPS**

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