Judge John Kase's statement on Gerdes plea, read from the bench on April 10, 2012.
A judge sometimes must make hard choices under the rule of law. Some decisions will not be popular but this must not stand in the way of the true administration of justice.
This case is a particularly difficult one to resolve. Here we have the tragedy of a death of a wonderful person with an outstanding successful family who will forever mourn her loss.
The defendant is a 20-year old woman who has shown no sensitivity to the tragedy.
The District Attorney has brought the charges; the most serious of which is Manslaughter in the Second Degree, a Class C felony. The maximum sentence is 5 to 15 years in jail.
The practical effect under the present parole conditions is that the defendant would serve 10 years, that is IF, and I say IF, the appellate courts did not reduce the sentence as excessive as the maximum given to a first felony offender.
I have agreed to sentence the defendant over the District Attorney’s objections to a term of 3 years to 9 years, wherein the defendant will serve, under current parole standards, 6 years. She will be supervised by parole for an additional 3 years.
She will waive her right to appeal, and a projected two month trial, involving numerous police officers, technicians, medical personnel, and the lives of at least 16 Nassau County jurors, will not take place.
The family will be spared the agony of daily press reminders of this tragedy. The defendant will NOT get the media spotlight her behavior seems to attract.
Sentencing will end the process. The defendant will be moved from the Nassau County jail to state prison or federal custody in about 90 days.
Thus I am assured that the defendant will be swiftly punished with certainty, for her criminal conduct.