When I first began practice, there were not any public defenders. Young lawyers handled most of the criminal cases. I handled several 1st degree murder cases in my early years of practice.
Now I only handle personal injury cases, but I was thinking: How would I defend Kyle Busch?
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You’ve almost certainly heard the story. NASCAR racer Kyle Busch wascharged with reckless driving by a sheriff’s deputy in Iredell County, North Carolina on May 24th, 2011.
Busch was behind the wheel of a $350,000 Lexus LFA sports car, driving 128 mph through a residential area marked with a 45-mph speed limit. He was stopped on a winding road where there are several neighborhoods, a church and a day-care close by.
What possible excuse could he have for driving 83 mph over the speed limit through a place like that?
Under structured sentencing laws, Busch is probably looking at zero jail time, a small fine, and maybe some community service.
But our client is not really Kyle Busch.
Our real clients are Joe Gibbs Racing and NASCAR.
It will probably cost Busch’s boss and NASCAR untold millions of dollars if public opinion is so strong they have to yank him out of the No. 18 Toyota.
With that in mind, here is how I would defend this case.
First, when Busch appears in court, he has to acknowledge up front how terrible a thing he did, and that his action could have cost lives.
Then he should voluntarily submit to a punishment more severe than the court could impose.
- He should unconditionally surrender his driver’s license for a period of 5 years.
- He should perform 500 hours of community service, speaking to youth groups about the dangers and consequences of reckless driving and speeding.
- He should pay into the court $50,000 to be used to employ the Institute of Government to propose legislation making it a felony to speed on a public roadway in excess of 100 mph. After all, that’s merely twice the fine he had to pay to NASCAR for his dust-up with Kevin Harvick at Darlington.
If Busch would voluntarily submit to the above punishment, I would hope that it would take would take the heat off of Joe Gibbs and NASCAR to punish him further. It would represent a serious effort to heal the outrage of NASCAR’s fans, and put a good face back on stock car racing.