Nicole Shellard leaves the courtroom after pleading guilty to second-degree...

Nicole Shellard leaves the courtroom after pleading guilty to second-degree manslaughter, second-degree vehicular manslaughter and other charges in the death of bicyclist Kathryn Underdown. (Nov. 7, 2011) Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

As I perused Newsday on Jan. 19, two news stories really confused me ["Lawsuit in crash that killed girl settled" and "Driver thanks victim"].

We have two people driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs who each took a person's life. One was a 30-year-old man who killed a beautiful young girl and a limousine driver; the other was a 34-year-old woman who killed a lovely 45-year-old woman. Both drivers had intoxicating substances in their bodies and got behind the wheels of their cars.

But the young man got a prison sentence of 18 years to life, while the woman who committed a similar crime only got 11/2 to 41/2 years.

Who's to say what the punishment should be for taking a life? But shouldn't our courts hand out similar sentences for similar crimes? What's going on here? This doesn't sound like justice for all.

Barbara Gilman, Old Bethpage

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