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Author Topic: Court date for the guy who hit Bluesman: May 31 2017  (Read 1701 times)

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Offline Nice Goat

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Re: Court date for the guy who hit Bluesman: May 31 2017
« Reply #15 on: June 01, 2017, 06:44:19 PM »
A lawyer would need to assess his assets.  If he doesn't have any, then a civil trial would be a waste of time and energy.

If by some miracle the guy had auto insurance, the insurance company would likely fight any claims because the insured was committing a felony at the time of the accident.  That probably lets them off the hook.
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Offline Brian A

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Re: Court date for the guy who hit Bluesman: May 31 2017
« Reply #16 on: June 01, 2017, 07:17:15 PM »
I agree. If he has nothing (personal assets) then a civil suit is a waste of time and money.

But I'm not so sure about the insurance issue.

I might be mistaken but I believe his insurance would not cover any claims made by the insured (him) for compensation for injury/losses sustained during the commission of a felony (or other crime) on the part of the insured, but I am not sure it frees them from liability for losses sustained by other innocents as a result of actions of the insured (whether or not said losses occurred during the commission of a crime on the part of the insured).

I guess what really matters is whether or not he had liability coverage in force at the time of the accident, and if so, is it worth the pursuit of compensation. If he had only the state required minimums, and the lawyers get a chunk of that, the family would be left receiving a relative pittance considering their loss.

Those that have, pay.
Those that don't have, don't pay.

« Last Edit: June 01, 2017, 07:19:12 PM by Brian A »

Offline kylepeterson

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Re: Court date for the guy who hit Bluesman: May 31 2017
« Reply #17 on: June 01, 2017, 08:09:46 PM »
The Honorable Johnny  Hardwick, Presiding Judge of the 15th Judicial Circuit Court, saw fit to put Joel Harris Slaton in the Alabama Correctional System for ten years today. 

Sitting through the morning of junior thug cases was absolutely the most entertaining and enlightening thing I have ever witnessed.  Then there was a break, then it was our turn.  First, the judge asked Joel what he had to say.  He told how he was doing so much to turn his life around, not mentioning the two stints in rehab he's had.  He talked about how he is a veteran with PTSD, but didn't elaborate on how he got it.  He did say he was on two medications for that condition.  He said he just blanked out when he left the scene of the accident and went to his mother's house to hide.

I'll be glad to write down the entire conversation if you guys want to hear how a master judge lets a defendant hang himself.  After asking him if that was all he had to say, twice, Judge Hardwick fixed him with a laser beam gaze and asked, "It's all about you, isn't it?"

I knew right then that things were going to go our way.
He let Charlotte speak as long as she wanted, then their son spoke, then he let Matt, Larry, and I speak.  He listed intently and with absolute respect to what we had to say. 

He was outraged that Joel Slaton was only there for leaving the scene, and not for killing Dave. 

Joel Harris Slaton was sentenced to ten years in the Alabama Correctional System.  We all counted it as a victory.

Joel, in the yellow shirt

Judge Hardwick

The obligatory selfie:  Kris Cook, Matthew Schroeder, and Larry Lindsey, of Dixie ABATE, doing what we do. 

Thank you Kris.

I saw this today, or I would have been there yesterday. I about fell over when I realized the idiot wasn't charged  with and convicted of, murder.

I know the lawyers sort things into neat little boxes, and the more money you have the softer the box is..... But fang ,  you can kill a man, run home to mama, and get away with it minus a few years to think about it. Then if you're really nice in jail, get out early. That burns my ass.

I hope our respectable moto friends family rests a little easier tonight, and his spirit feels a little justice because of today.

Offline Nice Goat

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Re: Court date for the guy who hit Bluesman: May 31 2017
« Reply #18 on: June 01, 2017, 09:19:36 PM »
Most of you don't know that I attended law school in Tuscaloosa for a year (it was 15 years ago).  I had good grades but I changed my mind about continuing.  Certainly doesn't qualify me as any kind of lawyer, but it does give me a different perspective about this case. 

I don't want anybody to take this the wrong way either.  I'm certainly not defending the guy at all. 

Criminal procedure requires proving all of the "elements" of a crime.  A prosecutor is like a chef working down the recipe.  If you don't have all the ingredients, you can't make that dish, so you figure out what dish you can make with the ingredients that you have.

Section 13A-6-2, Murder.

(a) A person commits the crime of murder if he or she does any of the following:

(1) With intent to cause the death of another person, he or she causes the death of that person or of another person.

(2) Under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to human life, he or she recklessly engages in conduct which creates a grave risk of death to a person other than himself or herself, and thereby causes the death of another person.

(3) He or she commits or attempts to commit [another felony] clearly dangerous to human life and, in the course of and in furtherance of the crime that he or she is committing or attempting to commit, or in immediate flight therefrom, he or she, or another participant if there be any, causes the death of any person.


Murder requires proving "intent" (in other jurisdictions, and sometimes on TV, this is called "malice aforethought.")  Difficult to prove without direct evidence (e.g., video, eyewitnesses) or circumstantial evidence (e.g., some kind of prior relationship/connection that indicates retaliation/revenge).

Compare that to manslaughter and you can see the differences:

Section 13A-6-3, Manslaughter.

(a) A person commits the crime of manslaughter if:

(1) He recklessly causes the death of another person, or

(2) He causes the death of another person under circumstances that would constitute murder under Section 13A-6-2; except, that he causes the death due to a sudden heat of passion caused by provocation recognized by law, and before a reasonable time for the passion to cool and for reason to reassert itself.


In this case, even manslaughter is hard to prove without video or witnesses.  Nobody knows how Slaton was behaving at the time of the accident.  We don't even know if he was intoxicated because he fled the scene.  He probably fled the scene because he was also screwing up in some other way, e.g., alcohol, drugs, guns, underage hooker, etc.

Prosecutors are notorious for over-charging defendants, in hopes of scaring a plea out of them for the actual charge that they know they can win.  But they have to be careful not to push their luck.  If it truly was an accident, why would somebody confess to murder?  Better to take your chances at trial, and that's exactly what the prosecution wants to avoid (unless it's a high profile case).  A crafty defense attorney can easily sell an accident as just that ... an accident --- even if the defendant was drunk.

Murder =  Class A felony
Manslaughter = Class B felony
Leaving the scene + death = Class C felony

There simply was not enough evidence to convict him of a Class A or B felony.  If Slaton was drunk, or high, or committing another dangerous felony at the time of the accident, he apparently did the one thing that helped him to lower the charge to a Class C felony.

Judges have to follow the sentencing guidelines handed down by the legislature.

Section 13A-5-6, Sentences of imprisonment for felonies.

(a) Sentences for felonies shall be for a definite term of imprisonment, which imprisonment includes hard labor, within the following limitations:

(1) For a Class A felony, for life or not more than 99 years or less than 10 years.

(2) For a Class B felony, not more than 20 years or less than 2 years.

(3) For a Class C felony, not more than 10 years or less than 1 year and 1 day and must be in accordance with subsection (b) of Section 15-18-8 unless sentencing is pursuant to Section 13A-5-9.


I'm glad that the judge was empathetic with the family and friends in attendance.  Good on him for imposing the maximum, even though we all would have preferred a higher charge.

If anybody is interested in learning more about Criminal Law and it's background, I've attached my notes from law school.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2017, 09:24:51 PM by Nice Goat »
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Offline springer

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Re: Court date for the guy who hit Bluesman: May 31 2017
« Reply #19 on: June 01, 2017, 09:34:53 PM »
 May he die in prison. That is my wish.

Offline Buzz

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Re: Court date for the guy who hit Bluesman: May 31 2017
« Reply #20 on: June 01, 2017, 10:05:01 PM »
To my knowledge, Glen and Brian have nailed down all the key points. 

The burdon of proof was likely to high to pursue further charges.

Just as likely, if convicted of a more severe crime, he would have been sentenced to less time in prison.

The judge used the maximum sentence at his discretion. This is a good thing. Actually probably the best outcome we could have hoped for.

Thanks to all that went to support the family.

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, but I am annoyed by them daily.

Note: soon he should be visible in the department of corrections website.

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Offline Slede

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Re: Court date for the guy who hit Bluesman: May 31 2017
« Reply #21 on: June 02, 2017, 12:15:28 AM »
May he die in prison. That is my wish.

not me, but it would be nice to get a heads up when the release is going to be.
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