Sentencing Guidelines Mean Lesser Sentence In Some Cases

Sentencing Guidelines Mean Lesser Sentence In Some Cases

A judge sentenced former Memphis police officer Alex Beard to six months in prison for causing a crash that killed a mother and daughter in downtown Memphis last year.
MEMPHIS, TN (localmemphis.com) - A judge sentenced former Memphis police officer Alex Beard to six months in prison for causing a crash that killed a mother and daughter in downtown Memphis last year.

Friends and family of the victims believe Beard should spend more time behind bars.

A spokesperson for the district attorney says Alex Beard's sentence was fair. Six months in prison and six years probation after that.

The victims family wanted beard to serve a much longer sentence.

Local 24 went digging into court records to look at other people convicted of the same charge.

A check of records at the criminal court clerks office found since January of 2012 there have been just nine reckless vehicular homicide convictions.

And yes, Beard's sentence is the lightest. But all the other convictions involved drinking and driving or drugs.

Michael Flippin, William Miller, Gary Corbin, and two others were sentenced to three years in prison..

Rudy Perez and one other person were sentenced to six years in prison. But all of those cases involved alcohol.

Benjamin Edwards is spending three years in prison. The fatal accident he caused was the result of a drug deal gone bad.

According to the circuit court clerk, Beard's case is the only reckless vehicular homicide conviction since the beginning last year not involving alcohol or drugs...

“Mr. Beard was treated like everyone else. That comes before justice. The fact he was law enforcement had nothing to do with that,” attorney Leslie Ballin said.

At the criminal justice center, defense attorneys were not surprised with Beard's sentence. They said Tennessee's sentencing guidelines encourage the court to give probation or diversion for first time offenders. And Beard hasn't been in trouble before.

They said if it wasn't a high profile case, than that person may have just been given probation or diversion.

But the question may not be was the sentence fair, but was the original charge correct.

No matter the charge, the bottom line is that this was a fatal car accident caused by an on duty police officer. And one family's life will never be the same.
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