Jamari’s Law: Maryland Family Demands Stricter DUI Penalties After Fatal Crash – NBC4 Washington

John Duckett, accompanied by his family, visited Annapolis, Maryland this Wednesday to discuss the devastating death of his 18-year-old son, Jamari, due to a drunk driver’s negligence, and to work towards preventing further such incidents.

“We must ensure individuals face consequences for their actions, and that’s what I’m advocating for.”

In July 2022, a drunk driver rammed his car into Jamari’s while he was heading home. Prosecutors reveal that the driver, under the influence of alcohol, was speeding at over 90 mph in a zone restricted to 40 mph.

Sadly, Jamari did not survive the deadly collision.

“Losing my son felt like losing my best friend,” said John Duckett.

The guilty driver faced conviction for vehicular manslaughter, getting the maximum possible sentence – 10 years in jail. But as the crime is categorized as nonviolent, the driver can apply for parole post two and a half years. Both the Duckett family and prosecutors consider this punishment inadequate.

“Legislative actions are required now, as the judicial system’s hands are tied,” commented Jaymi Sterling, the St. Mary’s County State’s Attorney. “The law-makers must clearly indicate this is not an acceptable form of murder and beef up the penalties.”

The proposed ‘Jamari’s Law’ would intensify penalties in Maryland for vehicular manslaughter, doubling the maximum sentence from 10 to 20 years. Any following conviction would also attract harsher punishment, increasing from 15 to 30 years.

“The morning when I received that phone call, my life took a drastic turn,” John Duckett testified during a hearing at the Maryland state house.

He stood with several other families who’ve also lost loved ones to drunk drivers, voicing support for the bill at a House of Delegates committee on Wednesday afternoon.

John Duckett divulged that Jamari was the fourth family member lost to a DUI crash since 1968, and expressed his hope that he would be the last one.

“This law will potentially save not just my family but other families as well.” John Duckett affirmed. “It might ensure that nobody else will have to endure the kind of agony we’ve faced.”

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