By Frank Hinds, Executive Director
This week I met Rosemary Frassetto, the widow of Frank Frassetto who was hit by a red light runner while he crossed a Phoenix street. He was in the crosswalk and all other traffic had stopped for the red light.
Rosemary asked if I would write a letter to be read at the sentencing of the at fault driver. The nineteen year old defendant was charged under Arizona Revised Statutes 28-672, which I helped write back in 1998 following the death of my daughter Jennifer. This Statute allows the court to impose various penalties; some at the discretion of the judge. Mrs. Frassetto feared a plea bargain would allow the driver to walk away with little or no consequences for his actions.
ARS 28-672 “Jennifer’s Law” was written with the intent of strengthening the penalties for red light runners who injure or kill others. At fault drivers will not be encouraged to change their behavior if tough penalties are not imposed. All too often, a plea bargain is used to make a case go away quickly, usually leaving the victims to wonder “what happened to justice for my loved one”.
In my letter I urged the Judge to support traffic crash victims and their families by utilizing the laws currently on the books, sending a message to those that violate the law that we aren’t going to tolerate their carelessness any longer. Traffic safety advocates and the courts need to work together to make certain violators are punished to the fullest extent of the law – and if the laws need to be tougher, we need to stand together against a reluctant legislature to see that appropriate change takes place.
Frank Frassetto’s killer will be sentenced April 23, 2013. I’ll let you know the outcome in my next article.