With the new year 2014 arriving, one Georgia lawmaker will introduce a bill with tougher sentences for those convicted of driving under the influence, or DUI. Our Georgia wrongful death attorneys read a news story about this proposed law by Representative Earnest Smith and the story behind it.
The bill, which will be introduced in the State Legislature in January, will give judges the option of ordering up to five days in jail for first time DUI offenders. At present, there is only a 48-hour mandatory sentence for first time DUI offenders. The bill is in honor of former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue’s intern, Jordan Griner, whose death Rep. Smith called “truly tragic”. Jordan was from Augusta, Georgia, the same area as Rep. Smith. Jordan was killed by a drunk driver on June 19, 2010 when he was 24 years old. He was the designated driver for friends after a party and was almost home at around 4 o’clock in the morning. The drunk driver was 26-year-old Christa Scott. She was driving her Mustang home from working as a bartender at Door 44, a club in Atlanta, and had a blood alcohol level of 0.229, nearly triple the legal limit to drive, when she ran a red light and hit Jordan’s car. Ms. Scott was later convicted of a DUI and wrongful death. She got a 10-year sentence, five years in prison and another five on probation.
Ms. Scott apologized to the family, but they felt she should have thought of her actions before getting in her car to drive under the influence. Jordan’s mother, Autumn Griner, asked the judge in the case to make Ms. Scott have a reminder of Jordan, and the judge complied, ordering Ms. Scott to carry Jordan’s picture with her during the 10-year sentence. The district attorney from Fulton County, Clint Rucker, said of the family, “they felt like having his photo, even as she is in prison, would be a source of a constant reminder for her of how the consequences of drinking and driving had affected an exemplary young man.”