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Ex-Baltimore bishop involved in fatal DUI denied early release

Many people in the Baltimore area are familiar with the case of the Episcopal bishop who struck and killed a man who was riding a bicycle in 2014 while she was under the influence. She then left the scene -- returning a half an hour later after others had called 911 and stopped to give first aid to the man. She was sentenced to seven years in prison for four separate charges.

With time off for good behavior, she is eligible to be released next summer, after serving five years of that sentence. However, having thus far spent three years behind bars, she recently went back to court to seek early release that would make her a free woman very soon. That release would involve allowing two of her sentences to be considered concurrent rather than consecutive.

The woman's attorneys cited the fact that she had gotten sober in prison and noted her involvement in other programs behind bars as reasons to shorten her sentence. Leaders with the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland attended the hearing to support her. The former bishop told the judge that she believes God has called her to "work the program that keeps my sobriety strong and to help other women free themselves from the grip of addiction."

Nine members of the victim's family were there to oppose the request, as was a prosecutor, who noted that the former bishop's repeated requests to have her sentence shortened had taken an "unimaginable toll" on the family. He cited her earlier DUI conviction back in 2010 and called the former bishop "a threat to public safety."

The judge denied the former bishop's request. He quoted a tenet he learned from another judge -- that "concurrent time is no time at all." He said that making the two sentences concurrent as requested would mean "justify[ing] no time at all for leaving the scene."

No two DUIs are alike. If you're arrested for a DUI incident in which no one was harmed, you may not feel lucky, but you are. When people are injured or killed, the potential legal consequences can be severe -- and you'll carry the burden of that harm forever. Leaving the scene and not helping an injured person will only make things worse. Whatever the situation, it's essential to have an experienced attorney by your side to protect your rights and work to mitigate the consequences.

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