Legal Question in Criminal Law in Missouri

Involuntary Manslaughter

My 12 year old son was killed while riding his bike. He was hit by a car driven by a 17 year old criminal. He was driving recklessly, passed a car before he hit my son who was riding his bike with the flow of traffic going the same direction. My question is, our PA will says that there is not enough to convict him of a criminal charge, all they have are traffic violations. They can only (using the mathmatics formula) get his speed going 50.23 miles per hour and the speed limit in the area is 45 miles per hour. We have witnesses stating that he was driving reckless and with disreguard for others. We want to go over our PA's head and get some Justice for our son. One witness said he thought that my son turned into the car, but 2 other witnesses stated he was driving to fast and recklessly. What do you think? We do not seem to be getting any help what so ever from our so called legal system that protects us!

Asked on 7/21/03, 1:21 pm

3 Answers from Attorneys

Kevin Linder The Linder Law Firm

Re: Involuntary Manslaughter

If you would like to discuss the specifics of your case e-mail me. However, ultimately as far as criminal charges go the elected PA of the county or jurisdiction does have the final say. Convine him to put the matter to a Grand Jury, might be the best way to go about this. Secondly, you still have a civil claim, you can "get him" where it counts, and you might even have a claim for felony murder, if the teen's acts were reckless enough to rise to the level of Assault 2nd. It's equivelant in monetary terms could be significant particularly if he had insurance, or if you have other children. I'm horrified by your loss, and share your grief, if I can be of assistance please e-mail me or call me at 508-759-7189. Sinecerely, Kevin

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Answered on 7/21/03, 3:44 pm
Michael R. Nack Michael R. Nack, Attorney at Law

Re: Involuntary Manslaughter

First of all, let me tell you how sorry I am for your loss. I have handled several cases over the years involving the death of a child, and there is simply nothing that will ever make things "right" again. I hope that your faith is some help for you in these impossible times, and I hope that you will obtain counseling to help you cope. Personally, I would not look to the criminal law system to obtain any form of "justice" in such a matter. There is simply too much about that system that is completely outside of your control. It seems likely that spending time, effort and emotion in seeking appropriate punishment for the responsible party will only add to your frustration and pain. You do have the option of seeking some financial compensation through a civil suit for "wrongful death". The driver's insurance company will probably pay the limit of his coverage whatever that might be, and there is the possibility that you could obtain a judgment in excess of that amount which the driver would be personally responsible for. In my experience the law in Missouri does not even approach fair compensation in such a case, if that concept is even possible, but it may be the best you can do. If you would like to speak to me about it, I would be gald to give you some time. You may call me at 314-727-2822. In any event, good luck and may God be with you.

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Answered on 7/21/03, 4:47 pm
Anthony Smith LawSmith

Re: Involuntary Manslaughter

Many of the regional and national advocacy groups such as MADD, were started by parents so upset at the letdown they got from what they saw as the prosecutor's mandate to seek justice. You may find some solace, in finding what groups there are out there to reduce the chance that this will happen to another parent's child.

The first two attorneys are correct in sayting that they may not be much you can do to force a criminal prosecution in this case. However, given the emotion that oozes from your posting, I suggest you go one step up, and make your plea to the Prosucting attorney (asumming that you have been dealing with an Assistant thus far) If the collison occurred near the state line, you might want to make your plea to the US Attorney. Few of these actions have a strong probability of success, but any may help you realize that you have done all you could. It i snot your fault that the driver is not being severely punished.

May God grant you strength and peace.

Tony Smith

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Answered on 7/21/03, 5:57 pm

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