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Saturday, February 26, 2011

New Maryland Legislation Focuses on Vehicular Manslaughter

After the hit and run bike accident last September that killed U.S. Senate's green party candidate, Natasha Pettigrew, the state of Maryland is revisiting its vehicular manslaughter law.

Currently, drivers who cause fatalities, when sober, by flagrantly violating the rules of the road, and deviating from the standard of care used by any reasonable person, pay no more than $1000 in fines through traffic court. These cases are dealt with as though they are all situations of simple negligence. The standards for prosecution under the current statute -vehicle (negligent) manslaughter --are very high. Proof of gross negligence is required for this felony offense. Upon conviction, the person would face up to 10 years in a house of correction and/or $5000 fine.

Under the new proposed Manslaughter by Vehicle or Vessel legislation, or House Bill 363, a person upon conviction, would be subject to imprisonment not to exceed 3 years and/or a fine not to exceed $5000.

Natasha's killer, Christy Littleford, has not been formerly charged after driving nearly four miles to her home before calling authorities.

Is the proposed legislation punishment enough for victims like Natasha

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Pettigrew profiled on Fox News

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