When the Law Doesn’t Feel Like Enough


Losing a loved one is an experience that no one wants to go through, and it’s even worse when the tragedy could have been prevented. That’s the reality that the Rodriguez family had to face when they were given the news that Anna Rodriguez unfortunately passed away in a car crash.

On December 31, 2018, Ms. Rodriguez had been out with her boyfriend Edwin Sebastian and some friends celebrating Sebastian’s birthday. In celebration, he had some drinks and was getting noticeably affected by the alcohol. Rodriguez got upset about his drinking and even offered to drive the pair back.

However, Sebastian refused and decided to drive the both of them. Soon after, he ran a red light at Golden State Boulevard and American Avenue, and the car rolled. Unfortunately, Rodriguez did not survive the accident.

The defense team tried to ask for probation and no prison time, stating that Sebastian is admitting to alcoholism and seeks treatment.

In addition, he would plead guilty in order to spare Rodriguez’s family the pain of going through a trial. During the hearing, Sebastian said that he was sorry and asked for forgiveness from the family as well as from God.

Prosecution instead pushed for prison time, which Judge Jon Kapetan eventually granted. In line with state sentencing laws, Sebastian was given a six-year prison sentence for gross vehicular manslaughter. Even the judge apologized for not being able to send him away for a longer period of time and stated, “I agree the law is not sufficient.” State sentencing laws only allow for a maximum sentence of six years for this particular circumstance of case.

In giving out sentences, it is important to remember that state laws are there to make sure that those convicted are judged fairly for their crimes. But, when a judge apologizes to a family of young children because he knows that’s not enough, it makes you wonder what is fair?

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