Sad day for justice

To the Valley News:

Aug. 8, 2013 was a sad day for justice and for a well revered family of Crown Point. Society was not served well when Judge Richard B. Meyer handed down the maximum sentence allowed under the plea agreement reached in the People v. David R. Lang case.

Background, for anyone not familiar with the tragic consequences of a drunken afternoon on a family farm in June 2012: David R. Lang shot and killed his brother Russell, at the residence they shared on the family farm on Lake Road in Crown Point. Both David and Russell were lifelong Crown Point residents. This horrific incident was David’s first criminal offense of any type. Family and friends have always contended that this was an alcohol-fueled tragic accident. They obviously knew first hand, the love and destructive enabling that existed between their brothers.

Jury selection was to begin on July 8, 2013. But on June 5, David was brought to the court, unbeknownst to any in his family. Judge Meyer started the hearing by stating his wishes to have David Lang’s trial to begin in a week’s time because another case on his docket had been cleared. David Lang’s Public Defender, Brandon Boutelle, protested the one week notice, citing evidentiary items were still being gathered and expert testimony, on David’s blood alcohol level at the time of the shooting incident, were still not in. After a barrage of questioning by Judge Meyer, as to wether he would even allow such an expert to appear in his courtroom, a recess was called. Within the short recess, out of public eyes, a plea agreement was reached. No call was made or attempted to contact the victim’s family. Because that family was also Dave’s family.

On the afternoon of Aug. 8, sentencing began with the theatrics of a district attorney on the verge of her third electoral bid. Her lust for winning overshadowed any compassion or decency towards the surviving family. She construed a soliloquy of how events transpired on that fateful day in June 2012. But DA Sprague’s timeline of events was riddled with suppositions that did not come out at trial (there was none) or acknowledged in any plea deal. With all of David’s family and friend in attendance, sitting behind him, DA. Sprague mocked letters sent to the court pleading for leniency. The court had received numerous letters from David (and Russell’s) family, friends, community and beyond. Sprague made reference that lacking in all of these correspondences was compassion for the deceased of the two brothers. She stated that all concern in the letters was for David and not Russell. She mocked one letter that included references to other examples of alcohol-infused family tragedies that had received leniency.

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