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October 10, 2015

Lane Garrison most likely to get a "Prison Break" -- UPDATE

by Varun Lella, posted Aug 3rd 2007 12:35PM
So, sue me -- please don't, I can't afford a lawyer -- but I couldn't help using the pun. Garrison, who plays David "Tweener" Apolskis on FOX's Prison Break, will undergo a 90-day evaluation to help evaluate an appropriate sentence for his act of vehicular manslaughter.

In late May, Garrison pleaded guilty to the manslaughter and linked alcohol charges that resulted in the death of a 17-year-old passenger and the injury of two teenage girls. Garrison was driving with a blood alcohol content of .20 (California's legal limit is .08).

Apparently, these kids were just fans of his who invited him to a party and the accident occurred on the way to get some more booze. What a horrible, mindless tragedy. The in-jail diagnostic by parole officers and psychologists will lead up to an Oct. 31 sentencing, where the judge will decide if he is a suitable candidate for straight probation.

I am personally torn over how to feel about Lane possibly getting such a lenient sentence. Manslaughter is always a crime of mistakes and, given his courtroom tears, he seems genuinely sorry. However, I can't help but wonder whether this is just another case of "celebrity justice."

UPDATE: This is just to put some perspective on things. A 2001 review shows that 42% of of vehicular manslaughter convicts receive a jail sentence of 58 months (or 5 years, almost) on average and 50% of VM convicts are handed some sort of probation with an average of 329 days in jail as a part of their sentence. So, from my perspective, 90 days in jail and probation is on the low, low end, especially for someone who had a BAC of .20.

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Take another look at those stats on vehicular manslaughter convictions again and see how many cases involved guilty pleas, no priors and no aggravating circumstances like hit & run, suspended license, etc.

You've also got the physiological responses to think about -- his blood alcohol level was .2 WHEN IT WAS TESTED. How long was that after he stopped drinking? After the accident? It's true that it metabolizes OUT of your system with time, but it also takes time for it to get INTO your system. He took a couple of shots of vodka and it was probably still working its way into his bloodstream when he got into that car.

You know the whole thing about being too drunk to drive? You're also too drunk to know you're too drunk to drive! In any kind of altered mental state, self-awareness is the first thing that goes down the tubes. Doesn't it sound like everyone else at the party was so shit-faced they didn't try to stop him from driving? Since the injured passengers and the decedent weren't on trial their blood alcohol level wasn't publicized -- gee, think their judgement might have been a little impaired as well when they asked to go with Lane for him to buy more booze for them -- 'cause I'm real sure it wasn't his idea -- they probably wanted to make sure he didn't leave the party until they got their liquor.

These are all issues that would have been addressed at trial if Garrison hadn't pleaded guilty. As if everybody involved in this tragedy wasn't already devastated enough, a trial would have focused attention on the character of the parents who didn't control their kids, the kids who may not want every detail of their prior run-ins with law enforcement or school discipline made public, the adults whose home was used for the party, etc. etc. etc.

Lane chose the high road by pleading guilty, and sparing those families the anguish of opening their private lives to public scrutiny. If he was a manipulative sociopath, casting blame on the victims would be second nature and he'd have done anything to go to trial. If he's "faking" anything about how he feels about making such a tragic and uncharacteristic mistake, the 90 day evaluation will certainly make that clear.

After you've considered all these things, as I'm sure the judge has, wait for the battery of qualified medico-legal professionals to make their recommendations and decide whether the victims deserve vengeance, or Lane deserves justice.

August 05 2007 at 3:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think drunk driveing is one of the worst things you can do, ever!! And if anything celebritys should actuly be judged hard because they have money to pay for a driver i home!!
I dont get what goes throughe theire heads when they go in to theire cars when they know they are too drunk to drive!

August 05 2007 at 12:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Thanks for the update :-)

Let's wait what the psychologist says and if he gets a low sentence then we can complain. First of all he will get a criminal record, no way to avoid that - but I guess in showbiz that's not so much a problem compared to getting a job anywhere else.

Here in germany there's the option called "free jailtime" which allows the convict to attend his dayjob from 9 to 5 and then he has to get back to prison to spend the rest of his day there. There are actually a couple of actors who have been allowed to keep their acting job as long as they were back in jail for the night. Considering there are no amenities in jail (no TV internet or any large variety of magazines allowed back into prison at night) and that acting is not really a piece of cake that seems kind of fair - but those folks have only committed stuff like embezzlement or were the head of pyramid schemes.

We'll see what happens. 0.20 is really a lot of alcohol - nobody in their right mind would get into a car to get MORE alcohol for a party, no matter how cool you want to be...

Richard Hatch of Survivor Borneo fame has been sentenced to 51 months in prison for tax evasion (and he has to pay 500.000$) so I guess if you accidentally kill two teenagers you should at least value their life in a similar extent. Thats got 4 years and 3 months. He's been in prison for 14 months now and won't see the light of day untill 2011 with an additional supervised period of time after he's set free of three years.

Honestly. That was just money.

August 04 2007 at 11:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If the direct-to-probation thing is an option for EVERYBODY then why shouldn't he be allowed to get it?

I don't get your comment, Verun.

August 04 2007 at 6:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joey Geraci

Probation for vehicular manslaughter seems crazy. He certainly shouldn't go to jail for the rest of his life, but it seems like he should at least go to jail for a few years. I am sure the family of the victim will sue him as well, and hopefully some measure of justice will end up being done.

August 03 2007 at 3:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Roger Rees

As someone intimately involved in the criminal justice system, I can say that a straight probation sentence wouldn't necessarily be "celebrity justice." Then again, I think that what happened to Paris Hilton was "celebrity injustice." No regular guy or gal would have served time for what she did.

August 03 2007 at 3:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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