Man Released After Fatal DUI Sentence Headed Back to Prison - The Chicago DUI Law Blog

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Man Released After Fatal DUI Sentence Headed Back to Prison

Breathe easy y'all. The village idiot is going back to prison.

Sound a little harsh? More than a decade ago, Glen Higginbotham was drunkenly drag racing when he plowed into another car, unfortunately also piloted by a drunk driver, and killed a 10-year-old girl. He was going 81 mph in a 35 mph zone. For that crime, he served seven years in prison and two years parole.

Since his release, he's been arrested for two additional DUIs. One came within five months of release, when he was found passed out behind the wheel of a running car with a half-empty bottle of vodka beside him. The second DUI arrest came on Christmas 2011, when his truck hit another car, then pulled into a parking lot with the tires shredding and sparks flying.

He's obviously not safe for the roads and he hasn't learned his lesson. The judge said that Higginbotham "showed no remorse" when he sent him back to prison earlier this week, reports CBS Chicago. Prosecutors said he was knocking on the prison door to get in. His wish was granted with eight more years behind bars, one more year than he served for killing a 10-year-old girl.

Why the longer sentence this time, when no one was hurt? When sentencing an offender, a judge takes a lot of factors into consideration. There are the obvious factors, like the sentencing range for the crime charged and convicted. Beyond that, prior offenses, danger to the community, remorse, willingness to change, support system, and substance abuse issues can all contribute to the judge's decision.

According to the Yorkville Patch, Higginbotham's counsel argued for leniency because he was attending substance abuse counseling in jail, he had a support system at home with his parents, his parents were frequently ill and needed him to care for them, he had a job waiting for him, and he has three children, including a daughter born while he was in jail who is now in the custody of DCFS.

Though that's a hefty list of soft factors, they obviously didn't sway the judge much, if at all. In less extreme cases, where the defendant didn't have a prior DUI manslaughter conviction, such factors might have actually helped, especially the substance abuse treatment, support system, and in-place employment. The court wants evidence that the defendant will change his behavior and cease to be a danger to others. On your third go-round, that's a hard standard to meet.

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