Jail. Don't think it can happen to you? Tricia Lynne Coccomo probably thought the same thing when she left her house on July 26, 2005. A little over 6 years later the Connecticut Supreme Court, which has become increasingly hostile to criminal defendants, reinstated her 12 year sentence which had been vacated and returned to the trial court for a new trial by the Appellate Court which found Judge Robert Devlin, Jr. had made errors in the trial. What separates her case from the standard DWI case? One thing and one thing only. She killed three other people; the exact same consequence ever driver risks when they get in the car and turn it on once they are over the .08 limit.
As we enter the 2011 Holiday season maybe this outcome will make people think twice before getting in the car. Ms. Coccomo was 32 years old and has 3 young children. She was a school teacher. She lives in Stamford, Connecticut. Sound familiar? Probably sounds like a lot of the people reading this. Now she will be a convicted felon serving a sentence of 20 years suspended after 12 years. That means she has to serve 12 years of that sentence and then have 8 more years hanging over her head if she violates her probation after she gets out of jail.
Most of us sat around a table yesterday that was full of food, surrounded by family and friends, being thankful for all the blessings we have. This case should remind us how quickly that fabric can be ripped apart by operating a motor vehicle after drinking. The family of the convicted and those of the victims probably had much different meals than we did yesterday.