Assemblyman Spano Calls for Toughest Drunk Driving Penalties in the Nation

eHezi Archives 25 Comments

Spano_Mike Yonkers, NY — Assemblyman Mike Spano (D-C-WF-Yonkers) is joining Governor Paterson in calling for tougher penalties against drunk drivers in New York State. Since 2007, Spano, who has been a long proponent of stricter drunk driving penalties, has pushed for the “Johnny Lopez law,” which he authored, to allow prosecutors to charge drunk drivers who kill with murder in the second degree (A.5356).  

‘Johnny Lopez law’ would allow for the toughest prosecution in the nation against those who drink, drive and kill someone,” Spano said. “This bill is named after Johnny Lopez1.  Johnny Lopez and his wife were stopped at a traffic light at the intersection of Central Park Avenue and Arlington Street in Yonkers when they were hit by a drunk driver who had a history of alcohol-related convictions.  Tragically, Johnny Lopez perished in this accident.” 
On July 26, Diane Schuler entered the Taconic Parkway in the wrong direction and struck a SUV head-on, killing eight people: Schuler, her three nieces, her daughter and three Yonkers men. Police later said that Schuler’s blood-alcohol level was nearly twice the legal limit. Arrests for impaired driving in Westchester County have increased from 3,752 in 2001 to 5,201 in 2008 – a 39-percent increase in seven years. 
Under current law, a drunk driving accident that results in death is classified as vehicular manslaughter in the first degree, a class C felony. There is no minimum prison sentence for such crimes, and the maximum sentence cannot exceed 15 years. Under Assemblyman Spano’s proposed legislation, prosecutors could charge drunk drivers who kill behind the wheel with murder in the second degree, a class A-I felony which carries a minimum prison sentence of 15 years.  
“With creative prosecution, district attorneys have been able to successfully charge perpetrators with second degree murder in certain cases, such as in Long Island,” Spano said. “District attorneys should not have to be creative to charge a person with murder in the instance they kill someone in a drunk driving accident, this creates an unequal distribution of justice in New York State which could be rectified with a clear and distinct penalty written into state law.” 
Spano is also calling for the passage of The Child Passenger Protection Act, which Governor Paterson submitted to state lawmakers this week, that would make driving while drunk or on drugs with passengers under the age of 16 a felony. The offense is now a misdemeanor, or in some cases a traffic infraction. The legislation also would require first-time DWI offenders who had a child passenger to pass a breathalyzer installed in their vehicle before the vehicle would start. 
“Children who are in the car with a drunk driver have no choice in the matter,” Spano said. “The Governor’s proposal, along with other proposals being offered in regard to drunk driving penalties, are long over due.  I am urging the State Legislature to seriously look at these measures in the upcoming legislative session so people who drink, drive and kill someone can be persecuted to the full extent of the law.” 
eHeziAssemblyman Spano Calls for Toughest Drunk Driving Penalties in the Nation

Comments 25

  1. Flemming for Mayor!
    Shit I just spilt my coffee
    Spano and Flemming should be friends
    They are both dumb as rocks
    “I never give them hell. I just tell the truth and they think it’s hell.”
    Thanks Harry.

  2. JOHN J> FLEMMING YOUR NEXT YONKERS MAYOR…..Wait and see….remember you heard it hear first….seen him walking to his car on palisades ave yesterday…i quess he really did move into yonkers????

  3. Now, now calm down. We wouldn’t want you to die from a heart attack. Do you know how many people a year die from heart attacks? Let not your heart be troubled. After Mikey and his new party give us Obama care they’ll just issue you a plastic bag that says ‘insert head, pull string.’ Now go take on the day!

  4. Only the carping scumbags on this excuse for a webpage would belittle someone for trying to do something about a problem that kills around 15,000 people a year in this country. It might interest you rather rude and uninformed people to know that a BAC of .175 % translates into a likelyhood of an accident that is 200 times higher than when the driver is sober. Schuler’s BAC was .19 and heading much higher at the time of the accident.

  5. Does this apply to all his relatives/friends in City Hall? The ones who leave at noon and come back drunk at 3? Or is that an exception?

  6. Mike will save us!! He plants the trees, he gives cheese to the seniors and jobs to all of the deadbeats. Yes Mike is the “One.”

  7. Keep up the great work Mike!!!
    After Amicone’s lead I l;eft the Republican party too… as well as many others in Yonkers!
    Mike for Mayor!

  8. No class Mikey: I was a little concerned that your comment had some validity so I did my homework since I vaguely remembered seeing the Assemblyman on News 12 a few years ago touting the same issue and discovered on that this bill shows “prior leggislative history: A4139 of 2008”. I am relieved you seem to be wrong and that Mike Spano’s legislation is soley for the common good and not “politicizing a tragedy” as you stated.

  9. As an above poster said, this is NOT about driving while impaired, it’s about exploiting a tragedy. Mike and his brother have been in office for yrs., and this has been going on for yrs and suddenly little bro. notices. Remember when Sonny Bono had that fatal accident while skiing, well right after that big bro. comes out calling for skiers to wear helmets. Well these two political opportunist, Darrell and Darrell may fool you, but not all.
    Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice….well you know the rest of the story.

  10. It never ceases to amaze me the caliber of comments on this site. Recently there have been a number of cases where mothers have driven drunk with children in the car-2 incidents have resulted in deaths-this last one caused the death of 4 children and 3 innocent people-it is ver obvious that new laws are needed something needs to be done to prevent this continued problem tougher penalities need to be in place-I applaud Assemblyman Spano for his efforts-maybe someone will think twice before getting in the car drunk with children-maybe it will be a child you know that is saved.

  11. OMG! He cares folks, he really, really cares. He’s marching forward for us. He must be “the one.” OMG get the word out, he has finally come. I feel this thrill going up my leg just thinking about what this means for us. We are saved at last.

  12. Mike Spano cares about people and he works hard everyday. I do not know anything about GPA. I just see him marching forward for us. That is good enough for me.
    Keep doing the right things, Mike and you’ll keep getting my vote.

  13. But he’s not a republican anymore you idiot. He doesnt vote republican you idiot thus he should not have the line u idiot. He changed is voting record 180 when he switched. he wants power not principles.
    You r too unarmed on this one anon u coward.

  14. Why now Mikey? Why didn’t you fight for this yrs. ago? There is never, ever a tragedy that Mikey and his brother have and do not try to take advantage of.
    To all you kool aid drinking Spanoites this is not an endorsement of driving while under the influence. So don’t even go there. It is about politicizing a tragedy. The guy has NO shame. What a moron.

  15. so one poster is pissed off that mike spano
    has conservative support even though he always had it as a republican..and the other
    poster is pissed off that people who get
    behind the wheel while drunk and kill someone should be charged with murder which
    is exactly what the bill mr spano is proposing would do..

  16. People who have the disregard to drink and drive and murder someone should be charged with murder!!! Look at those poor families of the victims of the Taconic crash. And the crash that killed someone in LI that was in Newsday today. The people who drink and drive should pay the maximum penalty!

  17. Every time I see (D-C-WF) it makes me sick. He is not a conservative but an asshole. That C there represents all the corruption and dysfunction that is Westchester

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