Friday, November 15, 2013

The Mullan Seattle vehicular homicide criminal case is finally over

Seattle's most hated and despised man Mark Mullan was sentenced today to the Seattle vehicular homicide charges he pleaded guilty to last month.  18 years in prison, plus an additional 4 months for failing to have an ignition interlock device in his vehicle.  Thus bringing to an end one of the most tragic stories to hit Washington State in recent memory. 

To Mr. Mullan's credit it sounds like he took responsibility for his actions and pleaded guilty as charged.  He didn't put the family of the people he killed, and injured through a long and sad jury trial.  Obviously everyone in Seattle would rather he trade places with those he killed, or the baby he injured who is now going to be physically handicapped for the rest of his life.  But he did all he could in the legal sense to be accountable.

Far too often people don't understand how the legal system works.  If you read some of the Seattle Times comments people feel this guy should get the death penalty, or life in prison.  And I'm sure the family of those he injured and killed are upset he is only getting 18 years.  Heck I would be upset to if I was in their position and someone who killed members of my family only got an 18 year sentence which would get cut by a 1/3 with good time.  

But unfortunately for those that are not in the legal system.  This is how it works.  There is a sentencing range based on several factors that has been created by the State legislature.  And don't forget the Prosecution could have asked the Judge to impose additional time, but didn't based on his DUI history and the recent DUI arrest he got in Seattle.  

So in the end I know nothing will bring back the members of that family that were killed by this senseless act.  But hopefully they can take some sort of solace that he pleaded guilty as charged and didn't put up any kind of fight at sentencing and appeared to be somewhat contrite over his actions.

About the author:  Matthew Leyba is a DUI lawyer in Seattle.  His practice focuses on representing those charged with DUI and other traffic offenses.   

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