Maryland Mother Sentenced for Drug Charges, Manslaughter

For a mother to lose a child is undeniably devastating, but for a mother to be the cause of her child's death surely magnifies the tragedy. A Maryland mother who was not only facing drug charges, but criminally negligent manslaughter and related charges, was recently sentenced in a Maryland court. The mother's legal representative asked the judge to sentence the defendant to probation only, but that request was denied.

For reasons not mentioned in the report, the mother chose to get into a vehicle in Aug. 2012 and took her four children with her, even though there were apparently not enough seat belts to secure them all. At sentencing, the prosecutor argued that it was the choice of the mother to drive for an extended time while being under the influence of drugs.The prosecutor also claimed that the mother had multiple opportunities to realize the danger and to stop driving, but she chose to continue. It was even claimed that the mother showed no remorse in court, although she was barely able to speak when she was offered the opportunity to address the court.

Police officials reported that the Maryland mother told him that she had taken various drugs before driving, including Vicodin, Prozac, Oxycodone and a muscle relaxant called Soma. The subsequent single car accident killed one of her four children. The judge handed down the longest sentence possible for criminally negligent vehicular manslaughter. Along with the three year prison sentence, she was sentenced to four concurrent sentences of six months each for transporting minors while under the influence of drugs.

In this instance, the defendant chose to proceed by non-jury trial. In doing so, her defense team was able to successfully defend her against the most serious charge, criminally negligent homicide by automobile. Maryland residents who are facing drug charges and related offenses have the right to protect their own interest in court. While this mother must now deal with a prison term along with her grief, the consequqences are likely less severe than if she had been convicted of the homicide charge as well.

Source:, New Ken woman sentenced to 3 years in prison for Md. crash that killed daughter, Vanessa Junkin, March 24, 2014