Creative judge tailors woman’s punishment to her cell-phone crime

At the behest of the deceased victim’s husband, a distracted driver in Michigan has been banned from using a cell phone for two years.

“I don’t think she has a right to have a cell phone,” said Clinton County District Court Judge Stewart McDonald, according to Fox affiliate WLNS. “I think it’s a privilege.”

Mitzi Nelson, 23, was involved in an accident in September that killed 35-year-old cyclist Jill Byeich, and police say Nelson was distracted by her cell phone, which contributed to the crash, WLNS reported.

McDonald spoke of the high price for a lesson on having the responsibility to do things the right way.

“The lesson to be learned here came at too great a price for the Byeich family,” he added. “A lesson that came at too great a price for Miss Nelson.”

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Nelson pleaded no contest in April and was sentenced to six months in jail, 24 months of probation and 150 hours of community service. She also has to pay $15,600 in restitution and court fees.

In addition, she cannot own a phone or portable texting device for two years.

And while that may seem like harsh punishment to Americans who are all but addicted to the “machines,” for the family who lost a loved one, it must seem ridiculously light.

Tom Tillison

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