Prosecutors Try For More Prison Time For Actress In Fatal DWI In Second Appeal
SOMERVILLE – According to court documents, the Prosecution has asked in its second appeal to the Appellate Division that a different judge be assigned to the case of former “Melrose Place” actress, Amy Locane, to revisit the sentencing.
Matthew Murphy, Assistant Prosecutor at Somerset County, claimed in the latest appeal that Superior Court Judge Robert B. Reed was twice too lenient in sentencing Locane in the June 2010 drunk-driving crash that killed Helene Seeman. The latest appeal stated that Reed sentenced Locane “illegally” and “abused his discretion.” The Prosecutor also charged that he wants the sentence “revised and remanded.”
44-year-old Locane was paroled in June 2015 after serving two and a half years in prison for her conviction. She was facing vehicular homicide and assault by auto charges.
Locane’s conviction was downgraded from a second degree offense to a third degree offense at her first sentencing by Reed. This gave her 3 years on both offenses which were to run concurrently. Even though Reed said in September that she should have been required to serve all three years before being paroled, he recanted his statement during the sentencing in January. He also stated that he sentenced Locane in accordance with the law at that time. The law has changed on the state and federal level since then, stated Reed.
The Assistant Prosecutor has been seeking a 7 year prison term for Reed with 85 percent of the term to be served before being eligible for parole. He was also seeking an additional nine-month term for assault by auto.
The decision taken by Reed in January’s hearing again angered the family of the victim as well as the prosecution who immediately vowed to file an appeal. The husband of the victim, Fred Seeman, said following the January hearing, “The judge bent over backwards to let her walk free.”
A civil case between Locane and the Seeman family is still pending.
The spokesman for the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office, Capt. Jack Bennett, said that his office had no comment on the latest appeal. On the other hand, Reed cited that the actress’ incarceration would have a strong impact on her two young children, which was the reason for handing down a lesser sentence in the first place.
Reed was asked by the Appellate Division in July 2016 to explain the reason behind considering a lighter sentence following the prosecutor’s initial appeal. The Appellate Division said that Reed’s sentence lacked enough explanation and was inappropriate.
In the hearing held on 13 January, Reed defended his sentence saying that Locane’s post-conviction conduct has been exemplary and that there was no need to have her return to prison. Reed also stated that Locane did not pose any danger to the society and that there was no threat that she would repeat the offense.
In a recent speech given at William Paterson University, Locane shared her story with others as a cautionary tale.
A new hearing date before the Appellate Division has yet to be scheduled.
News Source: www.NJ.com