MINNEAPOLIS - Amy Senser's fate is in the hands of the judge that presided over her trial and in these final hours before Hennepin County District Court Judge Dan Mabley renders his decision on what her punishment will be, both Senser's lawyer and the prosecutor for the state are arguing yet again.
Eric Nelson, Senser's attorney, submitted documents this week asking the judge for a downward departure in Senser's sentence.
That departure basically asks that Senser be spared prison and given probation.
Nelson wrote in his motion:
"Ms. Senser is amenable to probation, has shown respect to the court, has no criminal history and is deeply remorseful for the pain caused to Mr. Phanthavong's family and friends as a result of this unfortunate accident."
Nelson's chance of Judge Daniel Mabley granting that, in legal minds, is a long shot.
"Judges are not inclined to give downward departures when a jury has found the defendant guilty of two separate crimes where a person is dead. He is just not inclined to do it," Hamline University Law Professor Joe Daly said Thursday night of Nelson's motion.
Nelson's request for mercy didn't go unanswered by the state.
Assistant Hennepin County Prosecutor Deborah Russell said this Thursday in her terse response motion:
"Defendant has not shown remorse for her criminal choice to drive away after crashing into Mr. Phanthavong."
"Defendant has continually minimized her criminal choices with hollow excuses."
Daly predicts the judge will take both sides arguments into consideration, but in the end will stay to the sentencing guidelines.
"He is a by the book kind of judge, he is not going to go the far left, he is not going to go to the far right, he is going to follow the law," Daly said.
Under the law Senser can be sent to prison for a term of 41 to 57 months.
The state is asking for the full 57 and the conventional legal wisdom about the area is predicting the judge will go with a term of about four years.
Senser, if that is the sentence given, could serve three of those years and be out with good behavior, Daly said.
The sentencing is set for Monday at 9 a.m.
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