From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Madeline Kudlata, 18, of Mequon was sentenced Thursday to a year in jail, with release privileges to attend Marquette, as a condition of five years probation. If she violates that or other conditions, she could go to prison for two years, and as many as five, under a sentence imposed, and stayed, by Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Kevin Martens after a daylong hearing of emotional testimony from family on both sides.

Sydney Tabakin died Sept. 18 after Kudlata lost control on the ramp to northbound U.S. 41 from eastbound I-94. Kudlata and a front-seat passenger were not seriously injured. Tabakin was riding in the back seat without a seat belt.

In April, Kudlata pleaded no contest to homicide by negligent operation of a motor vehicle. She was initially ticketed for driving too fast for conditions and having an open container of alcohol in her car, but was charged with the felony in January.

Witnesses told investigators that Kudlata was disposing of liquor bottles at the scene. A blood test showed traces of marijuana, but no alcohol. Tabakin had no alcohol or illicit drugs in her system.

Tabakin’s parents and uncle spoke eloquently about Sydney’s vivacious, talented and determined character, and of their own despondence and continuing grief over her loss.

Her father, Neil Tabakin, told the judge how he and his wife initially hugged and embraced Kudlata, and forgave her for what at first appeared to be a simple accident, before they learned Kudlata had smoked marijuana, tried to hide evidence, swerved from a middle lane, partied in the weeks after the crash, and even posted photos on Facebook.

He thanked the community for its support and the stranger who tried to help his daughter as she bled on the pavement.

“I’m thankful someone held Sydney while she was dying,” he said, after pointing out that Kudlata did not.

Tabakin spoke of his daughter’s many dance recitals, competitions and performances, and said his favorite dance is the one he’ll never see – at her wedding.

He requested a prison term, calling jail an insult to his daughter’s memory.

She must report on June 25, the day after she registers for classes at Marquette. Martens also ordered that she remain sober, pay $37,000 in restitution and perform 300 hours of community service.

My Take:

This girl was high on marijuana and was seen disposing of open alcohol bottles at the scene of the accident while her supposed best friend laid dying on the pavement…yet is only sentenced to one year in jail…and will only serve this sentence in between going to college at Marquette. Is our judicial system really this weak? Or is this a case of white privilege (read up on it, it’s real) where everyone pities the 18-year old white girl from Mequon…doesn’t want her to become a prison statistic, but live her life to the fullest–an opportunity her friend will never have. It was even noted that she partied and posted pictures of herself enjoying life weeks after the crash. The father of the deceased asked that this girl be sent to prison, but the judge refused. Is this a slap in the face of the victim & her family, or is this a just sentence? Would this sentence be different if it involved minorites from the inner city?

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