Judge’s sentence for DUI manslaughter overruled

Joseph Schumacher NWFDN

Joseph Schumacher

FILE PHOTO / Northwest Florida Daily News
Published: Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 11:17 AM.

The First District Court of Appeals has ordered Okaloosa County Circuit Judge John Brown to resentence Joseph Patrick Schumacher and impose a four-year prison term for DUI manslaughter.

The court called Brown’s sentence of two years of house arrest sanctions followed by eight years of parole “illegal.”

“The sentence is illegal because it does not include a minimum mandatory prison sentence of four years,” the ruling states. “The legislative language is unambiguous.”

Schumacher was arrested Dec. 17, 2009, and charged with DUI manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident involving death. He was accused of driving his Ford Explorer down a residential street in a drunken stupor and dragging his Alzheimer’s patient father, whose foot had become entangled in a seat belt.

Stephen Schumacher, 67, died from his injuries.

Joseph Schumacher was found guilty of DUI manslaughter, but not of leaving the scene of an accident involving death.

Brown departed from the state-mandated sentencing guidelines based on his findings that the crime committed was unsophisticated.

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