A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Friday, January 22, 2010

NJ Supreme Court Upholds Judge's Sentence in Manslaughter Conviction

In a recent judgment, the NJ Supreme Court told the appellate courts in a 4-3 decision to stop second guessing the sentences meted out by lower court judges when they clearly fall within established guidelines. The case used for this purpose involved Cory Bieniek, a young local man who went on a drunken joyride through local streets of Old Bridge with two of his friends over the Christmas/New Year's holidays in December 2006, achieving speeds at times in excess of 100 MPH. The driver, whose alcohol level was .17, drank nearly half a case of beer and a vodka shot, and smoked marijuana, before striking and killing a young woman who happened to be pulling her car out of the family driveway. The impact, which pushed her vehicle 235 feet, sounded to family members like a terrorist explosion.

Facing a certain 40 years in prison if his case went to trial, the man accepted a generous plea arrangement that required him to serve a minimum of 15 years without parole, with a potential total for 18 years incarceration. The defense appealed what it called a harsh sentencing, asking for leniency due to his upbringing and inherited alcoholism, but the majority opinion of the Supreme Court said that the transcript of the case clearly showed that the judge had taken everything into consideration when forming the sentence and the appellate court decision was reversed.

See NJ.com, MyCentralJersey.com, and The Daily Record for reporting on the Supreme Court decision. See NJ.com for reporting on the original case and The Suburban for reporting on the grieving father's call for society to keep their friends and family from driving drunk.

The papers constantly refer to the driver as having been a resident of Cliffwood Beach, only one stating that he lived on the Aberdeen side of Whale Creek. My research suggests that he lived off Route 18 in Old Bridge. Can someone clarify in which township he lived?


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