Jaywalking mother opts for new trial

Aug. 4, 2011 at 11:11 AM
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ATLANTA, Aug. 4 (UPI) -- The Georgia mother convicted of jaywalking in an incident that left her 4-year-old son dead will ask for the case to be retried, her attorney said.

Raquel Nelson, sentenced last week to a year of probation in the case that left her son A.J. dead, was convicted of secondary vehicular homicide, failure to use a marked crosswalk and reckless conduct, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Thursday.

In the sentencing hearing Wednesday, the judge gave Nelson an alternative to probation -- a chance to retry the case.

"Ms. Nelson has decided to proceed with a retrial," her attorney, Steve Sadow said. "I have taken the case pro bono because her prosecution is morally wrong and unjustified."

A law professor said the judge's offer of a new trial is rare.

"If the results of the jury decision are either contrary to the evidence or supply what the judge feels is an unfair result, a new trial can and sometimes is granted," said University of Georgia law school professor Ron Carlson said.

Cobb County attorney Barry Morgan declined to comment on the judge's offer.

Nelson was standing on the median holding another child when her son A.J. pulled away from her and ran into the street to follow his sister, who had safely crossed.

A.J. was struck and killed by a van driven by Jerry Lyn Guy, who fled the scene; Guy has been convicted of hit and run twice before.

Guy received what some perceived as a slap on the wrist for the boy's death; he was charged with felony hit-and-run, served a six-month prison term and must complete 4 1/2 years of probation.

Assistant Cobb County solicitor AnnaMarie Baltz said last week prosecutors didn't ask for his imprisonment.

"We never intended to seek jail time," Baltz said. "But the state is bound to uphold the law."

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