STATE OF NEW JERSEY VS. AMY LOCANE
Defendant Amy Locane, who had been convicted of second-degree vehicular homicide, N.J.S.A. 2C:11-5(a), and third-degree assault by auto, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(c)(2), was sentenced on our remand to precisely the same three-year term of imprisonment as on the first occasion. The panel remanded the matter a second time because the trial judge again erred in the application of the downgrade statute, N.J.S.A. 2C:44-1(f)(2). The judge found mitigating factors not supported by the record, and accorded too much weight to them. Further, the judge failed to find aggravating factors that were present, and thus accorded them insufficient weight. Not only did the mitigating factors fail to substantially outweigh the aggravating, but there were no compelling reasons requiring a downgrade. See ibid.
The panel further found that double jeopardy barred the State from appealing the concurrent terms that were improperly imposed for the offenses. The panel nonetheless discussed State v. Carey, 168 N.J. 413, 428 (2001), concluding that it creates a rebuttable presumption favoring consecutive sentences when a drunken driver inflicts grave harm on more than one victim. Ultimately, a careful and close application of the Yarbough factors must be made in vehicular homicide cases, as in every other instance. State v. Yarbough, 100 N.J. 627, 643-44 (1985).