Miami-Dade Legislative Item
File Number: 130535
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File Number: 130535 File Type: Resolution Status: Adopted
Version: 0 Reference: R-261-13 Control: Board of County Commissioners
File Name: URGING MINIMUM SENTENCE FOR HIT AND RUN Introduced: 3/20/2013
Requester: NONE Cost: Final Action: 4/2/2013
Agenda Date: 4/2/2013 Agenda Item Number: 11A14
Notes: Title: RESOLUTION URGING THE FLORIDA LEGISLATURE TO ENACT LEGISLATION THAT IMPOSES MANDATORY MINIMUM TERMS OF IMPRISONMENT TO DRIVERS WHO ARE FOUND GUILTY OF LEAVING THE SCENE OF A CRASH
Indexes: URGING
Sponsors: Jose "Pepe" Diaz, Prime Sponsor
  Lynda Bell, Co-Sponsor
  Esteban L. Bovo, Jr., Co-Sponsor
  Audrey M. Edmonson, Co-Sponsor
  Dennis C. Moss, Co-Sponsor
  Rebeca Sosa, Co-Sponsor
  Sen. Javier D. Souto, Co-Sponsor
  Xavier L. Suarez, Co-Sponsor
Sunset Provision: No Effective Date: Expiration Date:
Registered Lobbyist: None Listed


Legislative History

Acting Body Date Agenda Item Action Sent To Due Date Returned Pass/Fail

Board of County Commissioners 4/2/2013 11A14 Adopted P
REPORT: Commissioner Diaz noted the purpose of the foregoing proposed resolution was to impose stricter penalties upon drivers who left the scene of a crash. He recognized the presence of Dr. Mickey Witte, representing the Aaron Cohen Foundation; representatives of the Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD); and Cyclist Enda Walsh, who was injured in the crash that killed Aaron Cohen. Dr. Mickey Witte, 950 Brickell Bay Drive, Miami, appeared before the Board representing the Aaron Cohen Law Initiative and noted Miami-Dade County was among the three metropolitan areas with high occurrences of cyclists being hit by cars for the past ten years. She added that Miami-Dade County also ranked number one for the highest number of hit and run accidents in the State of Florida. Dr. Witte reported that 13,000 hit and run accidents occurred in this County last year and 166 fatalities resulted from hit and run accidents throughout the State of Florida. She explained that the penalty for driving under the influence was much harsher than the penalty for fleeing the scene, which was the main reason people committed hit and runs. Dr. Witte noted the driver involved in the hit and run accident, that killed Aaron Cohen, was sentenced to 364 days in jail. She stressed the need for legislative reform in order to provide harsher consequences for anyone fleeing the scene of an accident. Commissioner Diaz referenced a recent initiative by County Mayor encouraging employees to ride their bikes to work and noted he planned to meet with the Attorney General for the State of Florida tomorrow (4/3) regarding this issue. Commissioner Heyman noted that mandatory fines and terms made it much more difficult to get a conviction, especially under extenuating circumstances. She spoke in support of this item. Commissioner Bovo recalled in 2009, an 11-year-old girl, Nicole Valdez, was the victim of a hit and run accident after being dropped off on the wrong side of the street by a school bus driver. He noted he initiated legislation which provided that in the event of a fatality, hit and run drivers could not bond out and must remain in custody. Commissioner Bovo stressed the importance of holding hit and run drivers accountable for their actions. Chairwoman Sosa and Commissioners Bell, Bovo, Edmonson, Moss, Souto, and Suarez asked to be added as Co-Sponsors to this resolution. Commissioner Souto described an incident in which his father was killed by a hit and run driver several years ago, which was still fresh in his mind, and agreed that this issue needed to be resolved. Hearing no further questions or comments, the Committee proceeded to vote.

County Attorney 3/20/2013 Assigned Annery Pulgar Alfonso 3/21/2013

Legislative Text


TITLE
RESOLUTION URGING THE FLORIDA LEGISLATURE TO ENACT LEGISLATION THAT IMPOSES MANDATORY MINIMUM TERMS OF IMPRISONMENT TO DRIVERS WHO ARE FOUND GUILTY OF LEAVING THE SCENE OF A CRASH

BODY
WHEREAS, Florida Statutes section 316.027 imposes maximum terms of imprisonment to drivers who are found guilty of leaving the scene of a crash involving death or personal injury; and
WHEREAS, Florida Statutes section 316.027 does not impose mandatory minimum terms of imprisonment to drivers who are found guilty of leaving the scene of a crash involving death or personal injury; and
WHEREAS, many times drivers who are found guilty of leaving the scene of a crash involving death or personal injury are sentenced below the statutory maximum penalty; and
WHEREAS, in January 2013, Michele Traverso was sentenced to 364 days in prison and 2 years of community control for leaving the scene of a crash that killed cyclist Aaron Cohen and injured cyclist Enda Welsh; and
WHEREAS, in November 2012, Harvey Abraham was sentenced to 6 years imprisonment and 8 years’ probation for leaving the scene of a crash that killed 11-year-old Ashley Valdes; and
WHEREAS, the maximum sentence for leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death is 30 years; and
WHEREAS, Florida Highway Patrol reports that in 2012, nearly 20,000 incidents of drivers leaving the scene of a crash, out of Florida’s total 69,994 incidents, occurred in Miami-Dade County and Broward County; and
WHEREAS, in 2012, Miami-Dade County had 12,813 incidents of drivers leaving the scene of a crash, the highest in the State of Florida; and
WHEREAS, in 2012, nearly 17,000 people were injured and 166 people were killed across Florida in incidents of drivers leaving the scene of a crash; and
WHEREAS, incidents of drivers leaving the scene of a crash tend to result in death or greater bodily injury; and
WHEREAS, incidents of drivers leaving the scene of a crash have resulted devastating consequences for the residents of Miami-Dade County and create immeasurable dangers for pedestrians and drivers alike; and
WHEREAS, this Board urges the Florida Legislature to take action regarding the dangers and alarming frequency of incidents of drivers leaving the scene of a crash across the State of Florida; and
WHEREAS, imposing mandatory minimum terms of imprisonment to drivers who are found guilty of leaving the scene of a crash may decrease the frequency of these incidents in Florida,
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, that this Board:
Section 1. Urges the Florida Legislature to enact legislation that:
1. Makes it a second degree felony, with a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 7 years, for a driver to leave the scene of a crash that resulted in the injury of any person;
2. Imposes a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years to a driver that is found guilty of leaving the scene of a crash that resulted in the death of any person;
3. Imposes a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years to a driver that is found guilty of leaving the scene of a crash, while under the influence, which resulted in the death of any person; and
4. Eliminates probation, as an alternative to imprisonment, for drivers that are found guilty of leaving the scene of a crash that resulted in personal injury or death.
Section 2. Directs the Clerk of the Board to transmit a certified copy of this resolution to the Governor, Senate President, House Speaker, and the Chair and Members of the Miami-Dade State Legislative Delegation.
Section 3. Authorizes and directs the County’s state lobbyists to advocate for the passage of the legislation set forth in Section 1 above, and directs the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs to amend the 2013 State Legislative Package to include this item and to include this item in the 2014 State Legislative Package.



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