Friday, December 19, 2008

Daughter of Houston Judge Sues Driver She Hit While Drunk

There are endless examples of criminals blaming either the victim or an innocent third party for the consequences of their illegal actions. Burglars have sued homeowners after being shot in an act of self-defense. Shoplifters blame store owners for high prices when the proprietor is simply trying to keep with the changes in the economy. And, who can forget the Twinkie defense? If high levels of preservatives and processed sugar in one's blood stream can be used as an excuse for violent acts, how can any other excuse dreamed up by the defense seem implausible? Perhaps Elizabeth Shelton was thinking of some of these examples when deciding to sue the truck driver she hit while drunk.

Ms. Shelton, the 21-year-old daughter of Houston juvenile judge Pat Shelton, decided to get behind the wheel in October 2007 even though her blood alcohol level was three times more than the legal limit. In her impaired state, she rear-ended a truck and killed her boyfriend who was riding in the passenger seat. She was convicted of intoxicated manslaughter and received four months in jail and eight years of probation.

Now, Shelton has decided that she wants to sit at the other attorney's table and, along the family of her deceased boyfriend, is filing her own lawsuit against the truck driver. She claims that the driver, Lance Bennett, swerved into her lane and his negligence caused the fatal accident. She wants $20,000 to pay for the ruined Lexus SUV and additional money for mental anguish, pain, and suffering. Considering her decision to drive after drinking excessive amounts of alcohol and the resulting death that occurred, I question how sympathetic her efforts will appear to a jury.

If you have been accused or even convicted of a crime, but you believe someone else is really to blame, the attorneys at Bertolino LLP can help. We have criminal defense attorneys as well as business litigators and other specialists who can assist with your specific needs. Please contact our Austin, Houston, or San Antonio office today.

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