Occasionally, not often, a high profile wealthy lawyer comes to the aid of a down and out defendant to equal the justice system for all; even if it is one case. When that happens it encourages me just a tad that by giving these attorneys restores my faith in our legal system. Not totally but enough to feel good and hopeful.
That is what criminal high profile lawyer Steve Sadow from Atlanta Georgia has done in the last two weeks. He heard of the plight of Raquel Nelson, and although there are rich clients waiting and needing his specialty to keep them out of jail, he announced he was taking the case of convicted mother Raquel Nelson, not just at a reduced rate, but PRO BONO, for free.
From an Atlanta Journal-Constitution story that came out the month after the incident:
When the Cobb County Transit bus finally stopped directly across from Somerpoint Apartments, night had fallen. She and the children crossed two lanes and waited with other passengers on the raised median for a break in traffic. The nearest crosswalks were three-tenths of a mile in either direction, and Nelson wanted to get her children inside as soon as possible.
Three-tenths of a mile walk with three young children to the nearest crosswalk, and three-tenths of a mile walk back to the apartment. Over half a mile walk, wait for a light to get her young children home. Every day the bus stops right across the street from the Somerpoint Apartments, and every day people cross this highway at their peril to get home, tired, and wanting to get home quickly. Who among us can say, we too would do the same thing, who among us can say for sure that we would spend the extra 15 – 30 minute, over a half mile walk to cross at the light?
I used to do the park and ride thing in Seattle, and you are tired when you get back at night, I can say I would probably follow the others as they stopped, looked and then dart to save that time and to save that extra walk.
Things are great unless you are the one that is hit by a drunk hit and run driver. Then there is the thing here in the U. S. of “the letter of the law” and “the spirit of the law”. That gives a District Attorney a wide latitude in what they choose to prosecute and what they choose not to prosecute. We will never know why they decided to charge Raquel Nelson, the mother of the dead child with secondary vehicular homicide, crossing roadway elsewhere than at crosswalk and reckless conduct in the April 10, 2010 incident. Where is the compassion for a mother who will grieve the rest of her life over the tragic death of her four year old son AJ.
Sadow has made short work since taking the Nelson case last week. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that:
Attorney Steve Sadow has filed pleas in Cobb County State Court asking Judge Katherine Tanksley to declare his client not guilty before a scheduled new jury trial Oct. 25.
The judge gave Raquel Lee Nelson of Marietta the option of a new trial after sentencing her July 26 to 40 hours of community service and 12 months’ probation in the death of her child A.J.
A not-guilty verdict would clear her record.
Here are the filings Sadow filed with the Court on August 8, 2011
Let’s hope with the help of the Gentleman from Georgia, Nelson will get the compassion that any parent who loses a child to a drunk hit and run driver deserves.
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August 10, 2011
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