After 3-year court battle, jaywalking mother's case ends with $200 fine
by Lindsay Field
June 14, 2013 12:27 AM | 32444 views | 14 14 comments | 50 50 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Raquel Nelson smiles at her attorney, Steve Sadow, right, after completing her paperwork accepting a $200 fine for jaywalking after arranging a plea deal to avoid being prosecuted for vehicular homicide by the Cobb County Solicitor's office on Thursday morning. This ends the three-year ordeal after Nelson's son was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver as Nelson crossed Austell Road outside of a crosswalk with her children.<br>Staff/Laura Moon
Raquel Nelson smiles at her attorney, Steve Sadow, right, after completing her paperwork accepting a $200 fine for jaywalking after arranging a plea deal to avoid being prosecuted for vehicular homicide by the Cobb County Solicitor's office on Thursday morning. This ends the three-year ordeal after Nelson's son was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver as Nelson crossed Austell Road outside of a crosswalk with her children.
Staff/Laura Moon
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In less than 10 minutes, a mother who has been fighting criminal charges related to her son being fatally hit by a drunk driver while crossing a busy road walked away with paying a $200 fine for jaywalking.

Raquel Nelson, 32, of Marietta appeared Thursday before Cobb State Court Judge Kathryn Tanksley and entered a negotiated plea so that her case could finally come to a close.

Tanksley ordered her to pay a $200 fee on the jaywalking charge and the second-degree vehicular homicide and reckless conduct charges were dismissed by the state.

“It’s been a really long process and I’m glad to have it over,” Nelson said outside the courthouse afterwards.

“(This will) allow me to move forward with what it is that I really wanted to come out of this in the first place, which is I did not want to point fingers but just give the state of Georgia an opportunity to help me help them, save a life from the loss of a life or more,” she said as tears slowly welled up in her eyes.

“I’m glad to have it over and done with,” she said. “It’s a breath to say the least. It’s been a really long, hard road.”

Nelson was charged in April 2010 after her 4-year-old son, A.J. Newman, was struck and killed by a drunk driver as she and the boy were crossing Austell Road near Somerpoint Apartments in Marietta.

During the last three years, a jury has found Nelson guilty of all three charges but Tanksley granted her the opportunity to have a new trial, an appeal related to charges was denied by the Georgia Court of Appeals and a petition before the Supreme Court of Georgia was also denied.

Deputy Solicitor General Jimmy Newkirk, who has been handling the case all along for the state, said during the 8-minute hearing that the state does recognize the tragedy Nelson has dealt with the last three years.

“It is very traumatic for a mother to have witnessed the death of the child she birthed,” he said. “The state recognizes that as parents you expect your children to bury you, rather than for you to bury them.

“Ms. Nelson will have to live with this each and every day of her life and, in this particular case, if you will look at the record, the case has never had her arrested. She has not been inside a jail on this particular case. Because of all these facts and procedures of the case, the state asks the court to accept the plea offer we put before you today.”

After the hearing Nelson’s attorney, Steve Sadow, said he was satisfied with the outcome.

“I think it is in her best interest,” he said. “It has been three long years. It’s been a horrible tragedy. She doesn’t need to relive this again.

“It was always important to her for the state, the prosecutors and the community to know that she is not responsible for the death of her child and (Thursday’s) resolution shows that and proves it.”

Sadow also said that the jaywalking charge is equivalent to a traffic ticket and shouldn’t reflect negatively on her record.

As far as what Nelson will do now and how she moves on with her life after this tragedy, Nelson said she is unsure.

“I might just go and sit and cry for an hour, I’m not quite sure,” she said. “The grieving process is exactly what it is, a process.”

She also said she doesn’t hold any grudges against the state because of the way the case dragged on for so long.

“I did, but I realized at the end of the day it really boils down to they have to do what they have to do,” she said. “I don’t really think it was in the interest of A.J., but what’s done is done and I can’t change that.”

Nelson said she would like to work with the county in some way and see what she can do to create more crosswalks so that this doesn’t happen to another family.

“I’m hoping it’ll give me that push to get, with everything I’ve had in mind, out there,” she said.

New charges for mother

Her legal issues aren’t over, though.

Nelson was arrested this past August on charges of fleeing from police, speeding, driving with an expired tag and window tint that was too dark, all misdemeanors.

According to Cobb Police spokesman Sgt. Dana Pierce, two motorcycle officers on Cobb Parkway measured her as driving 64 mph in a 45-mile-per-hour zone.

The officers motioned her to pull over, but she drove around them and pulled into the campus of Southern Polytechnic State University. Officers began searching the area when construction workers pointed them towards the back part of a parking lot, where they found her parked behind another vehicle.

Nelson said that the case is still pending.

“I’m not going to comment on them because it does not pertain to this,” she said. “But as the prosecutor said, it’ll all be over soon, so I’m going to stick to that one.”

According to personnel at the Cobb County State Clerk of Court Office, Nelson is scheduled to appear back before Tanksley on June 26 on these charges.

 

Comments
(14)
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Pissed off voter
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June 14, 2013
She'll go to jail on the new charges!
anonymous
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June 14, 2013
People, people, people..how many of you have never jaywalked? How many of you have never put your child at danger, maybe speeding? How many of you have never gone above the speed limit? This woman was crossing the street with her child. They were horribly at the wrong time in the wrong place. She does not deserve prison, come on now. Next time you go 60 in a 55 mile per hour zone with your kid in the car, can we come out and slap you with 20 years?
Ender7727
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June 14, 2013
And no one charges the drunk driver? There were two faults here, one is significantly worse than the other, and yet everyone is blaming the Jay walker. Which is worse Jay walking or drunk driving? It never should have been a discussion.

I want to hear the Drunk driver is in jail for a long time. WHy am I not seeing this?
Just Wait
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June 14, 2013
This is a travesty of justice. The judge in the trial that convicted this woman should have never offered her another trial. The conviction should have stood. The court of appeals verified it and the Supreme Court would not hear it. Consider this. If the driver who struck this child had been sober and remained at the scene, he would not have been charged with a crime. So then who was responsible? That's right, the mother, who had charge of her children. Yes, she will remember her actions that night and the results. But a $200 fine for Jay Walking? Why even have laws in the first place.
Please Please
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June 15, 2013
To all of the heartless who say you believe in justice and think this was unjust; well let me tell you of the many incidents that occur and go unpunished. In affluent East Cobb parents drop their middle school aged children at the theater and malls where they hang out unsupervised until the mall closes. Some of the young girls dressed in very provocative clothing. If the children are assaulted in any way, whose fault is it? Is it "Blatant stupidity" on the parent's part, or do you blame the pervert that hurt the child?

Oh "Just wait" I can tell you from experience that had their been a crosswalk there, the drunk would have still hit the child. The lady has been sentenced to life for her poor judgment.

In the words of JC, "Let ye who are without sin cast the first stone". That's what I thought.
Holy McJesus
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June 14, 2013
Kill your kids through blatant stupidity in Cobb County and bam that will be $200 bucks. Way to show justice to that kid and the next group of kids killed through stupidity.
fellow parent
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April 03, 2014
as a parent I can say that losing my child right in front of me would be the worst punishment I could ever receive, EVER. I would rather be physically tortured ruthlessly for eternity (literally) than have to watch my child die. every parent has done something stupid before, most of us just are fortunate enough to have had nothing bad come of it. this woman unfortunately did, but prison time for jaywalking, come on people. ALL of us have done this at some point. you are heartless to judge this woman, I can guarantee she blames herself more than any of you haters do. and what about the drunk driver, are you people really forgetting about that. if that driver was not drunk the mother and child would have safely jay walked across the street; now Im not saying that she should have jaywalked (she shouldn't have) but the threat of punishment does not fit the crime in this case
Money Talks
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June 14, 2013
How does she afford an attorney who demands a $25,000 retainer?

Certainly she deserves more than a fine. Reckless endangerment at the very least.
SAAS
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June 14, 2013
Wow, what is going on with this place? Next thing you know, we will consider the lives of pedestrians and public transit users to be equal to the lives of the people who buy and use cars! That just ain't right! After that, public transit users might get to vote or buy homes! Watch out!
juliay
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June 14, 2013
You can LEAD your child into the street putting them in danger were he was killed and be charged $200.00. What is wrong with our system? Oh poor mom her child was killed p.s. Because you took him into the street he was counting on you to keep him safe and you lead him to his DEATH.(He is safe now in Jesus arms and will never be in danger again with someone who cares for him and loves him)
Shame Shame
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June 14, 2013
Tell me "julilay","Holy Jesus", and "Just Wait",

Who do you blame when young girls are allowed to dress provocatively at an early age, allowed to stay out late at night and then are assaulted.

Their parents are also responsible for their children's behavior.

Please tell me you blame the person who committed the assault, and not the parents!!!!

Oh! and "Just Wait" had their been a crosswalk or a traffic light there, no doubt the drunk would have still done what he did.
1legup
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June 14, 2013
It is obvious that this woman has no regards for the law. IF only she would have been driving on a suspended license the night that she careless LET a 4-yr old child out of her control so he was able to dart out on a busy 4-lane road,that child would still be here today. I'm curious, is her lawyer handling her case pro bono (free) for the publicity? This unemployed woman living in low-income housing could hardly afford an attorney of this ones reputation.
Shame Shame
|
June 14, 2013
Tell me "1legup,julilay,Holy Jesus, and Just Wait",

Who do you blame when young girls are allowed to dress provocatively at an early age, allowed to stay out late at night and then are assaulted.

Their parents are also responsible for their children's behavior.

Please tell me you blame the person who committed the assault, and not the parents!!!!

Oh! and "Just Wait" had their been a crosswalk or a traffic light there, no doubt the drunk would have still done what he did.
Shame Shame
|
June 15, 2013
To all of the heartless who say you believe in justice and think this was unjust; well let me tell you of the many incidents that occur and go unpunished. In affluent East Cobb parents drop their middle school aged children at the theater and malls where they hang out unsupervised until the mall closes. Some of the young girls dressed in very provocative clothing. If the children are assaulted in any way, whose fault is it? Is it "Blatant stupidity" on the parent's part, or do you blame the pervert that hurt the child?

Oh "Just wait" I can tell you from experience that had their been a crosswalk there, the drunk would have still hit the child. The lady has been sentenced to life for her poor judgment.

In the words of JC, "Let ye who are without sin cast the first stone". That's what I thought.
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