Tommy: Crime and Punishment

Did a drunk driver get out of jail soon?

Tommy Tucker, WWL First News
April 09, 2019 - 11:48 am

I realize that title belongs to Fyodor Dostoevsky, and I would never steal it because that would constitute a crime for which I should be punished.  Some people don’t fear punishment, so they are more inclined to commit crime.  At least that’s what I gleaned from the conversations we had this morning.

Alanah Odoms Hebert, Executive Director of the Louisiana ACLU, talked with us this morning about her organization’s plan to reduce the prison population in Louisiana some fifty percent by the year 2025. That would be accomplished mostly be reducing prison sentences for drug offenses, burglary, robbery, assault, weapons offenses, theft, fraud and DWI.  You can listen to that here.

This brings us to the case of Jason Adams.

Jason Adams, as you may remember, plead guilty to driving a Lamborghini, while drunk, at least 118 miles per hour on Tchoupitoulas and killing his 23-year-old passenger Kristi Lirette. He was drunk enough to go to jail, but apparently NOT drunk enough to stay there for any length of time.  The legal Blood Alcohol Content to be legally drunk while driving is .08.  Jason Adams was 0.11.  Had his BAC been .2 or higher, his crime would be considered one of violence and required a longer sentence.  His wasn’t, and it didn’t.

Adams was ordered by Judge Robin Pittman to serve a minimum of 35 percent of his five year sentence.  According to District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro, Adams would have been required to serve at least 40 percent of his sentence had it not been for criminal justice reforms signed into law by government John Bel Edwards.  One would presume that was after the bill was passed by the Republican controlled legislature.  But that’s the least of it. Listen to the DA here.

Because of classes offered during periods of incarceration, taking and passing them earns you “good time” credits. Such was the case for Jason Adams, the guy who killed the girl, 23-year-old Kristi Lirette,while driving drunk at 114 miles an hour on Tchoupitoulas. He reduced his sentence by four months simply by completing courses on:

  • Pre-Release
  • Personal Development
  • Problem solving and decision making
  • Anger management
  • Values clarification and goal setting achievement
  • Victim awareness and restitution
  • Employment skills and job placement assistance
  • Money management
  • Re-entry support resources
  • Counsel on individual community re-entry

But it doesn’t end there. Jason Adams also reduced his sentence by three months by completing a Nurturing Parenting course and a Cage Your Rage course.

Jason Adams was the owner of Elite Investment Group, a company that handles multi-million dollar transactions.  If you can explain to me why ANY of the above mentioned courses taught him anything or made him a better citizen I’m listening. Or perhaps you can convince me that taking, what are to him, basic elementary courses was worth knocking at least seven months of his time in prison.  I’m still listening.

Depending on where her birthday falls, Kristi Lirette would be somewhere in the neighborhood of 26 by now. Unfortunately she’s now in the neighborhood of the cemetery.  I suppose her parents could bring balloons to her grave; but, as a parent, I can’t imagine that would provide neither comfort nor solace.  I don’t think much pain was relieved after watching the drunk driver that killed their daughter walk out of prison after serving only nine months.  Nine months… the same amount of time Kristi’s mom carried her before giving birth.

Crime and punishment.  There was definitely a crime but was there proportionate punishment?  I’d have to say no.  What do you think? 

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