Protestors not pleased with Mattituck woman’s plea deal

06/14/2010 12:00 AM |

Dorothy Marino and others are protesting outside the courthouse
in Riverside over the plea bargain in the case involving the
woman who fatally hit her son in a drunk driving accident last

The mother of the 15-year-old boy who was killed by a drunk driver in Hampton Bays last summer is protesting the plea bargain in the case involving the Mattituck woman who hit her son.

Dorothy Marino,mother of victim Joseph Marino, said the proposed six month jail sentence in exchange for a guilty plea from Caroline Goss, who was admittedly driving drunk when she hit her son, is too light.

“We felt like they were basically blaming the victim,” Ms. Marino said of the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office, while standing outsidethe courthouse Monday.

The DA’s office has said a reconstruction of the accident shows Joseph was at fault because he veered into the road just before he was hit.

Ms. Marino maintains that by sentencing Ms. Goss to six months in jail, Justice Gary Weber, the judge overseeing the case, would create a dangerous precedent paving the way for reduced sentences in drunk driving related deaths.

“He’s sending the wrong message,” she said. “By giving her six months, you’re creating a trickle down effect.”

Protesters plan to stand outside the Suffolk County criminal court building in Riverside until Ms. Goss’s expected sentencing Thursday. Ms. Marino said about a dozen protesters showed up Monday.

Ms. Marino said she is also pursuing a wrongful death civil lawsuit against Ms. Goss.

Ms.Goss, 34, is expected to plead guilty to a felony count of second-degree vehicular manslaughter, driving while intoxicated as a misdemeanor, endangering the welfare of a child and carrying an open container of alcohol in the vehicle, said Robert Clifford, a spokesman for district attorney Thomas Spota.

Ms. Goss was driving a 2001 Jeep Cherokee north on Ponquogue Avenue Aug. 12, 2009, when she struck Joseph. She told police she had reached for her phone just a moment before.

Southampton Town Police said Ms. Goss had a blood-alcohol level of .13 and was driving with her then 6-year-old son in the front seat. Her son was not injured.

Police also reported discovering a cup containing an alcoholic beverage by the front seat and a half-full bottle of vanilla vodka in the back seat.

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