In "A family forgives" [News, Oct. 23], Thomas Stavola of Setauket pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter in the drunken-driving death of a dialysis technician. He is expected to serve just two years in prison.

At first I thought I misread something, but as I continued, I found that the legal system's rationale was that the criminal was a cardiologist, and he shouldn't be in prison for too long because he can still help people when he gets out.

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Stavola was drunk when he crashed his vehicle into the victim's and walked away, leaving her mortally wounded.

So a doctor is considered too useful to be imprisoned? I am now curious if there is an actual formula in our legal system the equates a person's occupation to the discounted sentence he or she will receive.

What if the drunken driver were a teacher, an accountant, a construction worker, a stay-at-home parent or unemployed? Is there a certain amount of lives you have to save before you are allowed to take one?

Gary Schultz, Smithtown