Sunday, May 31, 2009

Jennifer Porter hit and run case: A letter to the editor

This letter - the latest of many I have sent on this particular case that many know is of special interest to me - was sent to the St. Petersburg Times on Friday, May 22, it was not published by the paper as most of the others had been. It is the very first post on this new blog:

Re: Jennifer Porter denied probation reduction Fri. May 22

I have to say that I am disappointed with the shortsightedness of the court in denying Jennifer Porter's request for an early end to her probation, but not surprised. It is too often the case these days that judicial decision-making is impacted more by what is politically expedient than juridicially appropriate. Had this not been such a high profile case surrounded by an absurd panoply of media sensationalism I am convinced this petition would have been granted as a matter of routine.

As Porters attorney adduced in court, she has complied with all the terms of her probation in a manner far exceeding the usual expectations. Indeed, it is a well known fact that many felons on probation fail to comply with such terms with apalling frequency. Jennifer Porter on the other hand has been a model citizen in the three plus years since her conviction. It is in fact the case that she was a model citizen prior to the tragic accident that killed two children and subjected her to the very public shame of criminal liability. At her sentencing hearing, which this reader attended, it was compellingly demonstrated that it was an acute stress reaction (actually quite common in situations of high trauma - like fatal automobile accidents) that led to her fleeing the scene, and not a malicious intention to do wrong.

I am sorry for Lisa Wilkins and the loss she has suffered - but now I think that Jennifer too has suffered enough for the events of March 31, 2004. Let's let it go!

John Feeney, Pinellas Park