October 10th, 2013
10:48 AM ET

When Drunk Driving Is Considered Murder

A N.Y. Court of Appeals is set to decide whether drunk drivers should be eligible for the highest punishment for murder.

Three people in the state are convicted of second-degree murder while driving under the influence. It is obvious they were too drunk to be driving, but now they are arguing that they were too intoxicated to be charged with murder.

Although drunk driving murders have been treated as manslaughter or unintentional murder in the past, they are charging these particular cases as outright murder. The defendants could each be facing 25 years to life in prison, depending on the charges.

Anne Grady, a Staten Island assistant district attorney to the New York State Court of Appeals, says "This is not just a human tragedy. A hurricane is a human tragedy. But a hurricane doesn't make choices. These defendants did."

CNN’s Senior Analyst Jeffery Toobin discusses the issue with Chris Cuomo. Cuomo argues that if they do win this case, the court will basically “reward the defendant for being so messed up that they can’t think straight.”

Toobin says, "The question is intent. What counts as murder? ... The question in these cases is.. was their behavior so awful, was it so reckless, so depraved that it counts as murder, that we should punish it like murder, that's what the court is trying to decide."

Watch the video above and let us know, what do you think the outcome should be?



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  1. jcrepp

    I am not against drinking but DWI having lost a sister & bro-in-law to a DWI-I raised their orphaned children as a single parent. The killer was not even arrested. My experience over the years working with victims AND offenders has been that people who CHOOSE to drive drunk-just DON'T CARE-until they might be held accountable. They do NOT drive with "depraved mind" they drive with conscious, malicious, disregard then want courts to believe their capacity was diminished so they are somehow not responsible. None of the 10,000 innocent victims who will be slaughtered by a self-indulgent drunk AGAIN this year was given a PLEA Bargain like the offender usually gets. Please note that our victims are just as dead as "murder" victims. When an offender says he/she didn't "mean to kill anyone"-my response is he/she didn't mean NOT to kill anyone. Driving SOBER is a choice as well. Have a SAFE winter & Thank-you for driving SOBER.

    October 10, 2013 at 11:21 pm | Reply

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