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Hanin Goma Case Update: No Plea in Sight for Carter Vo's Killer

There is still time to avoid a trial, but the woman who caused a car accident that killed a 9-year-old on a bicycle while allegedly driving under the influence of multiple drugs failed to come to a plea agreement during yesterday’s court hearing. Should a deal not be struck by the next hearing, set for January 4, the case could be set for trial, reports the Chicago Tribune.

That probably would not work to Hanin Goma’s advantage. As we reported before, she confessed to police officers that she had smoked marijuana earlier that day. She was headed home from work when she hit a van while turning, spun out, and ended up on a sidewalk, where her car collided with Carter Vo, whose bicycle was hit so hard that it slid across the street and into a parked car.

The child died at the scene. Goma confessed to marijuana use and a later blood test revealed traces of both marijuana and amphetamines. The presence of ether drug in her system, no matter how much, suffices for a DUI conviction. The evidence against her seems damning.

That might be why the sides have yet to agree to a deal. Though we lack inside knowledge of the negotiations, the prosecutors’ case is strong and made even stronger by the tragic death of a child. The stronger the case, the less motivation there is to hand out a favorable deal.

As we stated before, under the aggravated DUI statute, the minimum sentence is three years, absent extraordinary circumstances. The maximum is fourteen years.

Another reason why the prosecutors might be hesitant to offer a favorable plea deal is because of Goma’s past run-ins with the law. She had a previous arrest for drug possession and did not complete drug classes, despite a court order to do so. In addition, she had a pending case for leaving the scene of an accident. She was on bond when she hit Carter Vo.

Though this may be her first DUI, it is not her first traffic or drug violation. That reduces the sympathy that one might feel for a first time offender who made the unwise decision to drive while under the influence.

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