How many times have you stepped out to cross a busy street, glancing up at the flashing crosswalk, with the pulsing, flashing red hand…and crossed the street anyway? How many
times have you looked out into the road and judged you had enough time to cross it, right where you were, as opposed to walking to the crosswalk? We all have. And while Racquel Nelson may not ever do it again, she shouldn’t be sent to jail for it or for the tragic
accident that happened while she did it.
On April 10, 2011, Raquel Nelson, a single mother of two, was stepping off a city bus with her children, trying desperately to make it home before dark. Her 4 year old son
darted out in front of her to cross the street and as she followed, Jerry Guy,
drunk and under the influence of pain killers, flashed his hazards and sped
down the street. The little boy’s body flew into the air as Guy’s SUV hit Racquel and her daughter. Her 4 year old son was killed. By a man drunk, high on pain pills, and blind in one eye. By a man who didn’t even STOP his car to see what happened. Jerry Guy was charged with Hit and Run and sentenced to five years in jail. After 6 months, he was released. The sentence for Racquel Nelson is much greater. Not only has she been sentenced to a life of grief, guilt, and sadness, she is now facing up to 3 years in jail. Tomorrow (Tuesday) a judge will sentence her on charges including reckless conduct, crossing a roadway elsewhere than a crosswalk, and 2nd Degree Vehicular Homicide. Seriously? I watched her tell her story on the Today Show this morning. If you haven’t seen it watch here. http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/26184891/vp/43878930#43878930
The scales of justice are supposed to reflect balance, fairness, and equity. And yes, fairness
often takes a backseat to the law, but there are situations where a call for justice is needed. And this is one of those times. And yes she was convicted by a jury but I have a hard time acknowledging that an all white jury, of people who had NEVER taken public transportation (except on an Atlanta Braves game shuttle, as stated by one of the jurors), nor had raised children in a single parent household, can be considered a jury of her peers. If this woman goes to jail, the system has failed. Will making an example of Raquel deter jaywalking? Absolutely not. Especially not in Marietta, Georgia.
I live in Georgia. This is NO New York City. Many of our towns and cities only have one traffic light so crosswalks are far and few in between anyway! The justice system cannot be used to punish a mother for an accident! She has already made the ultimate sacrifice in losing her little boy.
It’s not too late to make your voices heard.
This mother and her two surviving children are suffering enough. This is a CALL TO ACTION. By midnight tonight, send letters of support, as short or as long as you like to firstname.lastname@example.org, asking the judge to not sentence the mom. The attorney for the mother will present all of your letters to the judge at the sentencing hearing tomorrow,
July 26, 2011. The attorney has emphasized that the letters need to be given to
him and not to the judge directly.
In the letter please provide:
1. Your Name
2. Your Address
3. The number of years you have
lived in Cobb County GA (if applicable, but you don’t have to live there to
write a letter)
4. Your desire for the judge to
exercise her discretion and sentencing the mom to no jail time.
If you can show up tomorrow at Cobb County State Court at 10:30am, that’s even better.
Let’s DO SOMETHING before this tragedy becomes an ever bigger travesty and
miscarriage of justice.