This is a follow to an earlier post about former Chicago police officer Joseph Frugoli, who in September plead guilty to aggravated DUI in a car crash that took the lives of two young men, 21 year old Fausto Manzera and 23 year old Andrew Cazaras.
Today, a sentencing hearing was held. This included victim statements from the families involved, and reading pre-sentence reports about the officer. According to news reports, Officer Frugoli’s attorney admitted that his client is an alcoholic who began drinking at the age of 16. I am not surprised at this admission. The officer had a BAC almost three times the legal limit at the time of the crash, which would indicate a high tolerance for alcohol. I also find that most alcoholics began drinking at an early age.
Perhaps this admission and his career as a police officer swayed the judge, because 8 years struck the victim’s families as a light sentence for such a terrible tragedy. Frugoli could have been sentenced up to 30 years for this case (15 years per victim). Then again, earlier this year, another Chicago Police Officer, Richard Bolling, received only three years for his DUI crash that took one life. So in comparison with that case, Frugoli’s sentence seems harsh. Sentencing is not a science, however, and a judge must consider many factors including the specific facts of the case, the defendant’s background, his likelihood to repeat the offense, his remorse, the danger he poses to the public, deterrence value and the impact the sentence will have on others, including the defendant’s family.
I know that the judge in this case is a very thoughtful man, and one who is not soft on drunk drivers, so I would caution anyone against leaping to conclusions about the sentence based solely on a few paragraphs in a newspaper.