Donte Stallworth's Sentence Was No Slap on the Wrist

Erin McLaughlinSenior Analyst IIJune 17, 2009

NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 7:   Donte Stallworth #18 of the Cleveland Browns carries the ball during the game against the Tennessee Titans on December 7, 2008 at LP Field in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Let me be clear about one thing: I believe that if you kill somebody when you are driving drunk, you are a murderer. I get mad whenever I hear anybody say this action is an accident. 

You know that by getting behind the wheel of a car you can kill somebody. That is no accident. It is premeditated murder.

However, in this case there were extenuating circumstances. Those circumstances have nothing to do with him being an NFL receiver. It has to do with the fact that the death of the victim was probably unavoidable.

He ran out into the street in front of Stallworth. It also was not in a crosswalk, but in an area where pedestrians are not supposed to be. Therefore, Stallworth, or anybody else, would have hit him if he were completely sober.

To me, it now becomes a DUI case as opposed to vehicular manslaughter. Did he get a fair sentence for a DUI? I think he did.

As far as I know it was his first offense. Most people lose their license for a period of time and can get it back after a while if they live up to certain conditions. He, however, will never get his license back.

Jail time isn't always given on the first offense. In this case it was. While 30 days isn't a long time, some people get community service the first time for a DUI.

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Stallworth has paid a lot of money to the victim's family. Again, not everybody who gets a DUI does that.

He will likely not be able to play at all this year. I think Roger Goodell will probably suspend him for the season. Not all employers suspend a worker for a year after a DUI.

So let's run it down. He drives drunk and that is horrible. He hit a pedestrian that a sober driver couldn't have missed. Then it becomes a DUI. For his DUI he gets:

1. No chance of ever having a license again.

2. 30 days in jail.

3. Ordered to pay a lot of money to the victim's family.

4. A likely suspension for a year.

If you ask me, that doesn't sound like a slap on the wrist at all. The punishment has to fit the crime. Due to the circumstances this was a DUI and not vehicular manslaughter. For a DUI, this is a very strict punishment.

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