Let’s Make a Deal

After reading about Sergio Quintana’s seven-year sentence for what should have been attempted murder with serious bodily injury [News, 6/10/10], I couldn’t help comparing his case to that of Michael Mims (formerly of Lompoc) a few years ago. Mims got 32 years for attempted murder resulting in serious injury (nerve damage in a leg) and he must serve 80 percent of his time, even though he has no previous felony or violent convictions. When Mims shot his victim, he was responding to what he perceived as a threat. He wanted to give the victim a warning by showing he had a gun; then the victim made a move that Mims perceived as reaching for a weapon. That’s when Mims shot the victim. (Incidentally, it seems this defense works well for cops, but not for convenience store workers.) Mims did not go to work that day intending to shoot anyone; you might say he had a momentary lapse in judgment and improperly responded to a situation. He stayed on the scene, calling authorities and attempting to provide first aid to the victim. He pleaded self-defense rather than plea bargaining.

In Quintana’s case, he caused major stab wounds and hearing loss. Both victims were seriously injured, but the nature of Quintana’s case seems more brutal and premeditated. How could they allow this to be pled down to assault with a deadly weapon and a sentence one-fourth of Mims’s? One sentence was too harsh and the other too lenient. I hope our new District Attorney-elect Joyce Dudley doesn’t contribute to these kinds of inconsistencies in the legal system.—Edmund Geswein, Lompoc

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