FREE Raquel Nelson
Once again Georgia is in the spotlight for insane prosecution.
On April 10, 2010, Raquel Nelson lost her 4-year-old son. Nelson was crossing a busy Marietta, Georgia, street with her son and his two siblings when they were struck by a hit-and-run driver. Police were able to track down the driver, Jerry Guy, who later admitted he had been drinking and had taken painkillers the night of the accident. He was also mostly blind in one eye. Guy had already been convicted of two prior hit-and-runs. He pleaded guilty, served six months of his five-year sentence, and was released October 2010.
In an earlier jaywalking case, another mother was charged with involuntary manslaughter while the driver who hit her daughter was not charged.
A month after her son's death, the Georgia Solicitor General's office charged Nelson with homicide by vehicle and reckless conduct.
She was convicted by a jury and will face sentencing July 26 2011
Nelson, who doesn't own a car, said she was out shopping with her three children when the Cobb County Transit bus stopped directly across from Somerpoint Apartments. 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. A.J. carried a plastic bag holding a goldfish they'd purchased.
"One girl ran across the street," Nelson said. "For some odd reason, I guess he saw the girl and decided to run out behind her. I said, 'Stop, A.J.,' and he was in the middle of the street so I said keep going. That's when we all got hit."
"I think to come after me so much harder than they did him is a slap in the face because this will never end for me," she said. "It's three years away from the two that I have left."
Nelson also said that the jury had "never been in my shoes," because each of them answered that they had never taken public transportation before.
Georgia citizens have been "unsympathetic" with the woman's story, arguing that parents should walk to traffic lights no matter how far away they are. Meanwhile the rest of the country is appalled and support Nelson.
"We are just hoping as a family that [the judge] is compassionate and lets my niece remain with her other children," Nelson's aunt Loretta Williams said. Nearly 100,000 have signed an online petition in support of Nelson.
Meanwhile Solicitor General Barry Morgan should be fired
Prosecutors have a great deal of discretion over when to bring charges, and over what charges they bring. If those in the office of Solicitor General Barry Morgan are charging Nelson to punish her for her jaywalking, they're misguided -- it's hard to conceive of a more potent punishment than the loss of a child. If their aim was to make an example of a devastated mother to prevent others from jaywalking, they're delusional.