Monday, February 19, 2007

'McMissile' leads to major injustice

Imagine you are sitting in a hot car in July, driving on a major interstate highway, you have three squirming kids in the back seat, a sister in the front who is six months pregnant and having early contractions, some wacky driver keeps weaving in and out of your lane as traffic slows down and then creeps almost to a halt. Do you think you might be tempted to want to throw something?

Jessica Hall, 25, of Jacksonville, N.C., was -- and now she is a convicted felon facing two years in prison.

Hall, clearly stressed, decided to veer onto the shoulder of the road and speed up next to the car that had been cutting her off in traffic. And then wham! She tossed a large McDonald's cup filled with ice into the other car. To the locals, it's the "McMissile" case.

No one was injured, but the cup launcher, Jessica Hall, [who] was charged and convicted by a Stafford County jury of maliciously throwing a missile into an occupied vehicle, a felony in Virginia. The instructions given to the jury said that "any physical object can be considered a missile. A missile can be propelled by any force, including throwing."

Hall, a mother of three young children whose husband is serving his third tour in Iraq, has spent more than a month in jail.

The jury sentenced her to two years in prison, the minimum, and a judge will formally impose a sentence Wednesday. Under state law, the judge can only
decrease the jury's sentence.
Even the couple who filed charges think the sentence was wrong.

"I think that this is way too much of a punishment for her actions. This is just to me absolutely ridiculous," Fowle said.
According to court documents Hall is unemployed and with her husband's salary, the couple takes in $30,384 a year. She receives $388 a month in food stamps. (Keep in mind he is on his third tour of duty in Iraq!)

What is going to happen to their three children? What fate is in store for this family? Hall was supposed to start nursing school the day after she was sent to jail. Anyone want to guess what her chances will be to find employment now?

Yes, she made a mistake ... yes, she knows she made a mistake ... but this is simply ridiculous.

"Now people are going to see me as an angry, road rage, convicted felon. And it really upsets me," Hall said. "I must have been wrong . . . but seriously, God. Lesson learned. Lesson learned is one hour in this place."

For more on this, check out Howling Latina.

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