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Charlie (not verified) December 20, 2019

Dear Professor, I know not what the fascination in the U.K. over this case is. No, the U.S. will never send Sacoolas back to the U.K. to face a trial where the possible penalty is 5 up to 14 years. This in most or nearly all of my countrymen’s educated opinion is an unconscionable punishment. Not only will the original argument of diplomatic immunity probably prevail here in the U.S.,even it does not I do not believe for second that a Federal judge and our Department of State will allow Sacoolas to face such jeopardy in the U.K. absent of malicious intentions or gross recklessness (speeding In great excess, drink driving.. etc) It may feel good in U.K. to criminally charge Sacoolas. Ultimately, little will come of it. I suspect that this is an effort in the U.K. to appeal to the parents and supporters of the victim— to let them know that their government is listening and cares.
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Craig Welch (not verified) December 25, 2019

The impertinence of Charlie (not verified) beggars belief. He thinks that the potential penalty for the wife of this spy / diplomat is not proportionate. Yet he lives in a country where this is commonplace: https://www.blackenterprise.com/alabama-man-serving-life-sentence-stealing-9-dollars/
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Geoff Berridge (not verified) December 26, 2019

Dear Charlie, Thank you for your comment. I agree that it is highly unlikely that the Trump administration will either encourage or require the return of Mrs Sacoolas to the UK for trial. However, I think you exaggerate the punishment she would have faced had she remained, or would face were she to come back, although I admit that this depends on whether her driving is judged to have been 'dangerous' or merely 'careless' (my guess is the latter). Since, as I understand it, she behaved very properly at the scene, this page https://www.sentencingcouncil.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/FINAL-Death-by-driving-sentencing-leaflet-for-web1.pdf on sentencing guidelines in the UK suggests that she might have got away with no prison sentence at all, only a fine or community service.
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Geoff Berridge (not verified) December 26, 2019

Dear Craig, I sympathise very much with your reaction, although you will appreciate that sentencing policy is beyond my competence and was touched on only as an aside in my blog.
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Jack Jones (not verified) January 14, 2020

According to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) as peported in The Independent Newspaper (20th Dec 2019), the immunity does not apply to dependants of consular officials based outside London. As a conequence the CPS in consulation wit the DPP Max Hill QC have charged Mrs Sacoolas, and the Home Office have sent an extradition request. Te Director of Public Prosecutions has explained the situation personally to the Dunn family. It's still unlikely that Anne Sacoolas will be extradited, however the events have been very damaging to the US and are not over yet. Everyone knows that Croughton a spy base involved in hacking in to world leaders phones and even drone strikes. The lack pof accountability of US bases may yet be highlighted by the Judicial Review in to the Foreign Office, whilst Diplomatic Immunity is one again being questioned, whilst the case was also seen as important in relation to the much criticised current UK extradition laws. The media are also not finished with this one, and the Dunn family will keep on fighting and appearing on television with Piers Morgan and others who have taken a personal interest. All of this because a woman couldn't be bothered to come back and say sorry, get a slap on the wrist in terms of a suspended sentence and pay a fine. Matthew Broderick killed two people in Northern Ireland and was charged with the same offence of causing death by dangerous driving, and his sentence was a fine equivalent to $175. There have also been numerous other cases involving tragic accidents, and the 14 years only applies to those who caused such deaths by deliberate behaviour such as racing or using mobile phones.
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Geoff Berridge (not verified) January 14, 2020

Thank you for this, Jack, which has prompted me to update on this affair. Yes, rather to my surprise, I see that the CPS has recommended that Anne Sacoolas be charged with dangerous, rather than careless, driving and that an application for her extradition has been made via the Home Office to the US Department of State. I see from the press that there is now reference to a US-UK agreement of 1964 whereby staff at RAF Croughton 'pre-waived' immunity but their families were still to enjoy it. The British foreign secretary has asked for a review of this 'anomaly' as well as for a general review of the immunities given to US staff at RAF Croughton. I have just the following observations: (1) Anne Sacoolas was granted diplomatic immunity by the UK government and, in principle, the State Department should have been asked to waive this before she left the country; obviously, she was whisked out by the Embassy too quickly. (2) As a rule, diplomatic immunity ceases when diplomatic functions cease, so Anne Sacoolas, no longer enjoys diplomatic immunity. It is, therefore, entirely legitimate to apply for her extradition. (3) This will not be granted, although I imagine that there might have been more chance of this had she been charged only with careless driving. (4) Except in The Independent (the article of 20 December to which you refer) I can find no reference to any CPS claim about the dependants of 'consular' officials having no immunities. This is a thoroughly confused article, which is not surprising since the reporter chiefly covers Sport!
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Brownlee (not verified) January 15, 2020

She was driving on the wrong side of the road and hit a young man, who died of his injuries. This is a crime on whichever side of the pond you reside.

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