You don't need to be a San Diego criminal defense attorney to know that when punishments for crimes are excessive, it does nothing to reduce incidents of crime, but actually propagates recidivism rates. That is the lesson that we need to take away from an incident in Texas, where a judge ordered a person involved in a drunk driving accident, to visit the scene of the accident, wearing a sign, saying that he was a drunk driver who had killed the victim. The judge has now decided to suspend this appalling public humiliation.
The judge announced the punishment for 39-year-old Michael Giacona. In June 2011, Giacona was driving under the influence of alcohol, when he ran a red light, and crashed into a car driven by a 20-year-old man. The young motorist was killed instantly in the accident.
Giacona was convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol, and sentenced to 90 days in jail. He was also placed on probation for 2 years. One of the conditions of the probation was that he visit the site of the accident with a placard around his neck, reading I Killed Alan Pennywell While Driving Drunk.
He was required to wear the placard, and visit the accident scene between 9 am and 5 pm on every consecutive Saturday for 4 weeks. He was also ordered by the judge to keep a picture of the deceased motorist’s demolished car in his house, and asked to undergo an Alcoholics Anonymous program.
Giacona, as per the ludicrous terms of his probation, has been visiting the accident site with the placard. As to be expected, he has been subjected to extreme public humiliation, and threats. However, the judge has now agreed to reassess the sentence, and has suspended the punishment for the time being.
It's hard for San Diego criminal defense attorneys to tell exactly what the judge had hoped to accomplish by subjecting Giacona to this kind of humiliation.