In October of last year, a fatal hit and run accident occurred in Fountain Hills. The victim was Dr. Marwan Maalouf, a Scottsdale neurologist who worked at Barrow Neurological Institute (St. Joseph’s Hospital). Dr. Maalouf was out riding his bicycle when he was struck from behind and killed by a Chevrolet pickup truck. The driver of the truck, Nicholas Linsk, drove away.
A 911 call alerted police to Linsk’s license plate, and he was later arrested. Linsk said he was driving home from work and thought his truck hit something. One report said that when deputies spoke to Linsk’s mother, she said her son told her that his truck was damaged in the parking lot at work. Debris from the truck was later found near the scene of the accident.
In any event, Linsk was eventually arrested, and he was charged with leaving the scene of a fatal accident. The offense is covered under A.R.S. 28-661. That statute provides that the crime is a class 3 felony, unless the accident was caused by the driver, in which case it is a class 2 felony. In Linsk’s case, a class 2 felony was charged. If you are convicted of a class 2 felony, the presumptive sentence is five years in prison. Linsk, however, was sentenced to only ninety days in jail, five years of probation, and 500 hours of community serviced. He is also required to pay $18,000 in restitution.
We don’t know for certain the specifics of why the sentence imposed was so light. We do know that Linsk’s “tutor” testified that the defendant was entitled to leniency, and stressed that Linsk has cognitive disabilities, and is socially immature. We’re not sure exactly how the immaturity issue bears on the sentence in the case, but that testimony, or something else of which we’re unaware, definitely worked to spare the defendant years behind bars.
The important lesson from this case is that a presumptive sentence is just that – presumptive. An experienced Phoenix criminal lawyer may be able to significantly reduce or eliminate jail time with persuasive arguments concerning the weaknesses in the prosecution’s case. In the current situation, for example, it may well be that the prosecutor would have a difficult time proving that the defendant was at fault in the collision. Proof problems such as this often lead to lighter sentences when handled properly by your attorney.
Law Offices of David A. Black
40 North Central Avenue #1850
Phoenix, AZ 85004