Supreme Court Refuses to Review DUI Sentence

California supreme court

The Los Angeles Supreme Court refused to review the case of a 30-year sentence given to a man convicted of DUI in a February 2012 crash.

In January, the case went before California’s 2nd District Court of Appeals. A three-justice panel rejected the defense’s contention that there was insufficient evidence to support the conviction of Tommy Lee Cole in two counts of second-degree murder. The murder charges came as a result of an auto accident that claimed the lives of two young men on their way home from work.

The two victims, Beau Josh Owen Fluker and Jeffrey Daniel Gilstrap, had worked the late shift at a local Walmart and were on their way home. Tommy Lee Cole broadsided the vehicle that the two were traveling in at about 2:30 am on February 26, 2012.

Cole had been previously arrested in 2009 for DUI and had attended an alcohol program for six months. He had also signed a statement that acknowledged the dangers of DUI. The statement included the possibility that he could be charged with murder if he killed someone while drinking and driving.

The appellate court, in its ruling, stated: “Defendant’s prior drunk driving offense, his blood-alcohol level and decision to drive while intoxicated, and his highly dangerous acts of speeding and attempting to ‘beat’ a yellow light are substantial evidence to support the jury’s conclusion that the subjective standard for implied malice was satisfied.”

In addition to second-degree murder, Cole was also convicted of two counts gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, one count each of driving under the influence, and driving with a blood-alcohol content of 0.08%.

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