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Grieving Georgia Mother Convicted of Jaywalking Faces Jail Time

Updated on July 31, 2011
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Raquel Nelson, of Marietta, Georgia, was convicted of jaywalking and now faces a possible three year jail sentence. A seemingly excessive sentence for a minor infraction. And what makes this even more unbelievable is that Nelson’s four-year-old son was killed when the family was forced to jaywalk across a busy city street at night. After losing her son, this woman now faces the fact that she might be separated from her two remaining children.

After a day of shopping for birthday supplies, Nelson, who doesn’t own a vehicle, was exiting the city bus with her children across the street from the family’s apartment complex. Since night had already fallen, and the nearest crosswalk was a distance away, Nelson made the decision to jaywalk with her children and a few other bus riders. When Nelson’s son noticed one of the other pedestrians dart across the street he decided to follow suit and was struck and killed by a vehicle. The driver of the vehicle admitted to drinking and taking painkillers the night of the accident and has two prior hit and run convictions. The driver received a six month sentence for killing Nelson’s son.

A month after her son was killed, Nelson was arrested. She was tried and convicted and will face sentencing next month. Nelson’s defenders are asking why city planners are placing bus stops nearly a mile from crosswalks, a fact that continues to endanger the lives of citizens. The question is also raised as to why a three time convicted drunk driver received a six month sentence for killing a child, while a grieving mother faces three years in jail. When interviewed on The Today Show, Nelson said jurors were specifically asked if they had ever taken public transportation and not a single juror admitted to having done so.

A petition is available to sign on Change.org and those enraged by the court’s stance on prosecuting a grieving mother for homicide by vehicle and reckless conduct are encouraged to add their signatures.

UPDATE : Raquel Nelson has been offered the opportunity for a new trial to clear her name. Let's continue to support her until she is proved innocent of these charges in her son's death. If you haven't already, please sign the petition by clicking the "petition" link above. Here's an article about the progress. Thanks to all who already have and thank you to Happyboomernurse for updating me on the progress!


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    • lovesleftovers profile imageAUTHOR

      lovesleftovers 

      6 years ago from Texas

      Thanks so much for your kind comment Neineive! This was certainly a sad story and I felt badly for this poor mother.

    • Neineive profile image

      Neineive 

      6 years ago from Knoxville

      This was a beautifully written article about a horrible injustice. Thank you so much for posting this and bringing it to everyone's attention!

    • lovesleftovers profile imageAUTHOR

      lovesleftovers 

      6 years ago from Texas

      Thanks for the comments B. I agree with what you've said. I've been trying to find out the outcome of this case, but am unable to find anything new (other than the update Happyboomernurse mentions in her comment above). If anyone knows anything, I'd love to hear about it. Thanks again B. Leekley!

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 

      6 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      Good hub. On the basis of the facts as you present them, I think the petition request should be to drop all charges. If bus passengers, including parents with children, routinely and habitually jaywalk at that bus stop, then the criteria for reckless conduct are not met in this case. See http://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/the-crime-of-... Or can the prosecutor show that all reasonable bus passengers always use the cross walk and only unreasonable passengers jay walk at that bus stop? And going by this description of homicide by vehice,

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vehicular_homicide#Ge...

      does not that law pertain to drivers, not to pedestrians?

      I wonder if the mother refused a plea bargain and the prosecutor is being vindictive because of that?

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 

      6 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      Good hub. On the basis of the facts as you present them, I think the petition request should be to drop all charges. If bus passengers, including parents with children, routinely and habitually jaywalk at that bus stop, then the criteria for reckless conduct are not met in this case. See http://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/the-crime-of-... Or can the prosecutor show that all reasonable bus passengers always use the cross walk and only unreasonable passengers jay walk at that bus stop? And going by this description of homicide by vehice,

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vehicular_homicide#Ge...

      does not that law pertain to drivers, not to pedestrians?

      I wonder if the mother refused a plea bargain and the prosecutor is being vindictive because of that?

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 

      7 years ago from South Carolina

      Great idea. Glad it was what you were looking for.

    • lovesleftovers profile imageAUTHOR

      lovesleftovers 

      7 years ago from Texas

      That's terrific and encouraging news Nurse!! Yayy :) Thanks so much for sharing it. I'll include it in the body of the article as well.

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 

      7 years ago from South Carolina

      When I clicked on the petition link for this hub it brought me to the petition site which had this UPDATE posted: Raquel Nelson has been offered the opportunity for a new trial to clear her name. Let's continue to support her until she is proved innocent of these charges in her son's death. http://news.change.org/stories/raquel-nelson-offer...

      Petition names were still being collected to support the above.

    • lovesleftovers profile imageAUTHOR

      lovesleftovers 

      7 years ago from Texas

      You make some excellent points Nurse! I can't seem to find a follow-up and wonder how it went. I'll keep looking. I'd like to write a happy update :)

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 

      7 years ago from South Carolina

      This is indeed a very distressing case, and raises the questions you've asked in this hub: Why are city planners placing bus stops nearly a mile from crosswalks and why is a three time convicted drunk driver receiving a six month sentence for killing a child, while a grieving mother faces three years in jail?

      Also, if the mother had chosen to walk along the side of the road at night with her children so that she could use a crosswalk, it would seem doubtful that choice would have been less risky than the choice of jaywalking was. It seems that there has been a shocking lack of compassion for this grieving mother by a city that shares some culpability for the poor child's death. This is cruel punishment indeed, for a mother who is already traumatized by the death of her child.

    • lovesleftovers profile imageAUTHOR

      lovesleftovers 

      7 years ago from Texas

      I agree Deborah! There's a petition to sign also. There's a link to it in my article :)

    • Deborah-Diane profile image

      Deborah-Diane 

      7 years ago from Orange County, California

      I saw this on Yahoo today. I hope the publicity makes the authorities back down!

    • lovesleftovers profile imageAUTHOR

      lovesleftovers 

      7 years ago from Texas

      I completely agree Bob! I couldn't believe that a drunk driver only received a 6 month sentence and this poor mother could be thrown in jail for up to 3 years!

    • profile image

      Bob C 

      7 years ago

      That is beyond ridiculous. So many injustices in the world that go totally without notice. Sad, sad article.

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