Here is another one of those outrageous cases, where a driver can hit and kill a cyclist without consequence:
The felony conviction for an attorney who killed a Chinese tourist in a hit-and-run crash in 2011 was reduced to a misdemeanor by an Alameda County judge on Friday over “strenuous objection” by prosecutors, according to the district attorney’s office.
Hayward Judge Michael Gaffey also changed the terms of the sentence he handed down to Spencer Freeman Smith just two weeks ago, much to the chagrin of an American friend of the man Smith killed.
“Obviously, I am not a judge or a lawyer but, for me, using common sense, it’s an outrageous decision,” said Dr. Arnold Owens of Oakland. “Everything has gone so much in favor of the defendant, it seems like some shenanigans are going on.”
Smith, 36, was living in San Ramon working as a San Francisco labor attorney on March 12, 2012 when, after a night of drinking with a paralegal from his firm, he fatally struck 57-year-old Chinese financial adviser Bo Hu on Dougherty Road in Dublin, prosecutors say. Hu was in the country for his fiancee’s relative’s graduation and was killed while he was walking a bicycle.
Smith did not stop or even brake at the scene and was apprehended by Dublin police investigators after they matched broken vehicle parts left at the scene to his brand new Mercedes-Benz sedan.
Oh, did I mention that the driver is blind in one eye? Incredibly, that fact worked in his favor:
“Anyone driving down that dark roadway could have hit Mr. Hu; it just happened to be Mr. Smith,” he said. “The judge recognized that this was a tragic accident and Mr. Smith was in a more vulnerable situation because he is blind in his right eye.”
The Judge did not even take away Smith’s driving license. Though I suppose the real question is why the California DMV gives out driving licenses to people blind in one eye.