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Speak Out
Should a R.I. teen receive a lifetime ban for reckless driving?

March 16, 2012

By Jeremy Quattlebaum, Student Voices staff writer

For Rhode Island teen Lyle Topa, it’s going to be walking, biking, bumming rides or taking the bus if he wants to go anywhere. That is because the 17-year old received a lifetime ban on driving in Rhode Island from Chief Magistrate William Guglietta.

Guglietta issued the ban after the teen was involved in a near-fatal accident in October. Topa was driving with a suspended license and had consumed alcohol at a party before racing a friend, resulting in a high-speed crash into a tree. One of his three passengers was in a coma for weeks. Topa pleaded guilty in court to several charges, including speeding.

“If you’re going to drive dangerously in Rhode Island and you’re a young person, this court is going respond accordingly,” Guglietta told KABC. “The law in this case allows this court to impose that penalty. If they think that more stringent penalties are important for drunk driving, then I’m assuming at some point in time, those issues will be raised with the legislature.”

Car accidents are the leading cause of death among teens, reports the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with eight teens dying every day from motor vehicle injuries. Seventeen magazine and AAA found that nine out of 10 teen drivers engage in reckless driving or distracted driving.

The state allows for traffic judges to dole out punishments, and Guglietta said he wanted to send a message to Topa and to other teenagers who drive recklessly. Guglietta said Topa can ask the court to have his license reinstated.

Not everyone agrees with the ruling. Across the state line, Massachussets state Sen. Robert Hedlund thinks that the punishment is too harsh. “The kid might mature and actually be a responsible driver,” Hedlund told the Boston Herald. “I don’t know how you can take it away from a kid that age forever. What’s he going to do ... bike for the rest of his life?”

Is this the proper punishment for Topa’s crime, or is it too harsh?

The case could be made that the punishment is too harsh, and a violation of Topa’s Eighth Amendment rights that protect from cruel and unusual punishment. The amendment states, “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”

On the other hand, Topa’s behavior harmed others, which infringes on their rights. And his punishment did not inflict bodily or monetary harm to him, but rather prevents him from having a license.

What do you think?

Does Lyle Topa’s punishment fit his crime? Is the lifetime ban a violation of his Eighth Amendment rights? Join the discussion and let us know what you think!
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Comments
12/4/2015
Watertown/MA
Stephen
Mr. Rimas/Watertown High School
I believe that a lifetime ban from having a drivers license is a bit extreme. Even though he consumed alcohol and was definitely breaking the law, he should be allowed to have a license later in life after he meets set requirements. Having to rely on buses, trains or walking for the rest of his life would be very difficult to get around when he could have the means to buy and use a car.

9/2/2015
Sidney, MT
Trista
Mr. Faulhaber
Banning his license for a lifetime is a very harsh punishment. He was seventeen when he made this mistake so I understand taking his license away, but forever? They could have taken his license away until he was 18 or 21. He probably learned his lesson and won't do something like that again. So taking his licence away was a huge punishment he shouldn't have got.

11/24/2014
Murrieta, CA
Kailee
Jabro/Creekside
I don't think the punishment fits the crime because it is way to harsh. I get that he made a mistake and should have his license taken away for a short amount of time, but not a lifetime ban. He was only a teenager and he has plenty of time to mature enough and become a safe driver again.

11/13/2014
Stroudsburg/ PA
Kelsee
Mr.Hanna/ Stroudsburg JHS
I believe that a life time is too harsh!!! A lot of people have died because of reckless driving. I don't think it is fair to do that to one person and not all of them. He is also still a kid. He is learning and learning from his mistakes. He will learn from this. He wasnt thinking about what could have happened, but he isn't the only person that hasn't thought about what could happen when drinking and racing. He shouldn't have the privilege to drive taken away from him.

5/15/2014
murrieta california
kevin
mr jabro creekside
I believe that a life time is to harsh of a punishment , only because no one came out dead.If you think about it hes only a kid still , kids think everything is so easy and they think they can handle any situation by themselves. In his case he thought he could handle drinking and racing. In the moment of getting all hyped up he didnt think of the bad things that could happen ,or what was about to happen. I believe they should punish him but not for a life time of no driving , imagine how hard it would be always asking for a ride or trying to catch a bus. In my opinion i think that he should be suspended from driving for 7 years , that should be enough time for him to grow up and realize that drinking and driving is not a joke and you could loose the ones you love in seconds.

3/19/2013
Denver
Daniel
Ms.Mumby
No i dont think Lyle Topa should have his license taken away for the rest of his life. Everyone messes up and i think he should have another chance. This is harsh and he is going to learn that he shouldnt be doing that.

3/19/2013
Denver
emiliano
ms. Mumby
Honestly, maybe a certain kind of punishment should be charged, but a lifetime ban is a little crual for an individual teenager.

1/11/2013
Sidney/MT
Mitch O.
Faulhaber/SHS
I believe he should have the chance to get his license again. He will pay taxes, so I believe he is entitled to drive. Also he will mature. I'm not saying they should give him his license right away. However he doesn't deserve to lose it forever. People make mistakes, and when those people got into his vehicle they agreed to be in there. They could have gotten out. It's their fault they got into a car with a driver that has been drinking. So to me the fact the kid was in a coma is irrelavant.

1/8/2013
Montgomery/TX
Savannah
Metzger/Montgomery High
I believe the punishment wasn't as bad as it could be. Topa could have been sent to jail for the rest of his life and then really had no way to go anywhere. Like it says in the article, he already had a suspended license which means he had a previous driving record. Driving is a huge responsibility and some people take advantage of it. Like is he only banned from driving in R.I.? Topa could go anywhere else in the United States and do the same thing; drink, drive and have teenagers in the car with him. So i think, in reality, he got what he deserved.

1/3/2013
Montgomery, Texas
A. Buamgartner
Metzger/MHS
I believe that the punishment was not too severe. Topa put one of the passengers in a coma, what if he killed them? Then he would be in jail for the rest of his life. I think it was a good compromise of him losing his license for making multiple bad decisions that could have affected more than just his life. And he already had a suspended license so that meant he already had previous driving record. Driving is a huge responsibility and not only a privilege. So I think he lost his right of driving when he decided to drink and drive.

1/2/2013
Montgomery, Texas
S. Garza
Metzger/MHS
In my opinion the punishment was not too severe. Topa made the decision, one to drink underage, and two drive drunk with a suspended license. He then decided to street race with a friend, that not only put his life in danger but other kids lives at risk. There are punishments far worse than what Topa received. He put a teen in a coma, what if that teen was to never come out of it? He would live with the guilt for the rest of his life. Thank God that there were no deaths in the accident. Being able to drive is a huge responsibility and a privilege. In my opinion he lost that privilege when he decided to drink and drive.

1/1/2013
Montgomery, Texas
S. Garza
Metzger/MHS
In my opinion the punishment was not too severe. Topa made the decision, one to drink underage, and two drive drunk with a suspended license. He then decided to street race with a friend, that not only put his life in danger but other kids lives at risk. There are punishments far worse than what Topa received. He put a teen in a coma, what if that teen was to never come out of it? He would live with the guilt for the rest of his life. Thank God that there were no deaths in the accident. Being able to drive is a huge responsibility and a privilege. In my opinion he lost that privilege when he decided to drink and drive.

12/10/2012
CA
Yovana
MHS
In this particular case the punishment is not too severe. If he decided that he wanted to go out and drive drunk while he has his license suspended then he obviously did not learn his lesson the first time his license got suspended. It is not a violation of the 8th amendment, it is him paying for the consequences.

12/5/2012
Rudyard. MT
Donovan
Mrs.Campbell. Northstar
Lyle Topa is stupid why would you go drinking with friends and go race them and you know when you go drink and then drive. You will crash and you can kill some one doing it. I disagree with Doob from Watertown , I don't care if you are minor and you have your whole life. If you did what Lyle Topa you should get your Lic. taken away for life.

10/24/2012
Watertown
Doob
Rimas
It's unfair that Lyle Topa cannot drive for the rest of his life for something he did at the age of 17. He has his whole life ahead of him to learn from his mistakes

9/28/2012
Belleville, New York
Kassie
Miss Colby
The punishment that was given under the circumstances fit the crime. Topa should never have gotten into the vehincle after drinking. Driving is a privilege. If one of my friends had gotten killed by this sort of situation, i would have liked the person to have serious consequences just like Topa. Hopefully after this situation happened, teens saw how big of a deal it is to drive under the influence of alcohol.

9/11/2012
Irving/Texas
Cody
Mr. Austin/Academy
The fact is, plain and simple, Topa's recklessness put another person into a brain dead state for weeks by crashing into a tree while street racing intoxicated. That person could have never come out of that coma. The lifetime ban is most certainly just a slap on the wrist compared to what could have happened if his friend(s) would have died. Letting him have his license back wouldn't teach him a lesson, it would show him that even though he put his "friend" in a brain dead state, he can get away scot-free.

5/11/2012
Porterville, CA
John
Smith/Monache
What is justice for? Is it to reform the convicted, or is it to punish him/her? This has always been a difficult question. One way to answer this is to bring to light another definition of justice: equality and fairness. Is it fair, is it just, to ban an individual for life just for one misdemeanor, no matter how serious? There is always the opportunity to change, and after such a horrendous occurrence, and seeing that the boy pleaded guilty to the charges, I'd wager he's changed. He wouldn't do that again, even if he could drive.

5/10/2012
Porterville, CA
Andres
Mr.Smith/Monache
I think that his punishment was way to harsh giving him a lifetime from driving at that young of an age is surely not going to go well since we will probably start to disrespect the law. In a way I believe that it does violate his eight amendment right because it could be considered a harsh and unusual punishment.

5/10/2012
porterville,ca
salinna
smith/monache
i think that they have no right to ban it for life. yes maybe till he's 30 but for life that's a little harsh. considering the fact that most teens and adults have killed people. knowing that i believe that they still had a license after they came back from doing time. Though the punishment does fit him. knowing that he had a suspended license, speeding, and drinking. Thus where are the parent in this situation.

5/6/2012
porterville Ca
Anthony
Smith/Monache High SChool
I think that his punishment was to harsh. He is a teen and teens do things they will later regret . Yes driving is a privilege not a right but he made a mistake and should be later reconsidered after he has served numerous penalties. After he goes through numerous penalties by the court he should be able to get his license back in so many years.

4/13/2012
Irving/TX
Yasmin
Bradley/Nimitz
Everyone who is legally driving is “technically” suppose to be aware of the consequences, and Topa should definitely have known what could have happened with him driving under the influence and racing with his buddies. But the punishment he was given was a little too harsh. Banning someones license is a big deal. Topa will eventually grow and realize that what he did was not right and taking a punishment for it was understandable but not banning his license. Maybe the punishment can still involve him getting his license revoked or banned, but just for a couple of years. Having a license is something that is important to have here in America. You can work around not having a a license for a couple of years, but not a whole lifetime, and that's why I think this punishment is too harsh.

4/13/2012
Irving, TX
Lilly H
Bradley/Nimitz
Driving is a privilege not a right. People should fully realize the consequences of their actions, and with a lifetime ban on driving, Topa wouldn't go a day without reflecting on and regretting his foolish behavior. However, some, even I, would find that a lifetime ban on driving, in this day and age, is quite unusual and to some degree even “cruel.” With more than half our population living in urban/suburban cities, you can't help but take into consideration the issue of transportation. Sure, Topa could arrange carpooling or busing options for the rest of his life, but obviously, it'll drastically change his lifestyle- probably making it hard for him to find a better paying job, meet up and out with friends, etc. In short, I believe Topa should have his license revoked for a minimum sentence of perhaps fifteen years, but then only after that should he be able to appeal for the reinstatement of his driver's license. His punishment should only be taking away his driving privileges not his livelihood, and that's why I believe it's too harsh to have a lifetime ban with all the effects it entails.

4/13/2012
Irving/ Tx
Randie
Bradley/ Nimitz
I don't think that Lyle's punishment fits his crime, I think that it is actually too harsh. Because as a teen you are going to make bad mistakes, but you learn from those mistakes as you mature and get older. I feel like having your license banned for a lifetime is really harsh. Because how is he going to get from place to place when he gets older? I think that the lifetime ban a violation of his Eighth Amendment rights.

4/13/2012
Irving, TX
Lilly H
Bradley/Nimitz
Driving is a privilege not a right. People should fully realize the consequences of their actions, and with a lifetime ban on driving, Topa wouldn't go a day without reflecting on and regretting his foolish behavior. However, some, even I, would find that a lifetime ban on driving, in this day and age, is quite unusual and to some degree even “cruel.” With more than half our population living in urban/suburban cities, you can't help but take into consideration the issue of transportation. Sure, Topa could arrange carpooling or busing options for the rest of his life, but obviously, it'll drastically change his lifestyle- probably making it hard for him to find a better paying job, meet up and out with friends, etc. In short, I believe Topa should have his license revoked for a minimum sentence of perhaps fifteen years, but then only after that should he be able to appeal for the reinstatement of his driver's license. His punishment should only be taking away his driving privileges not his livelihood, and that's why I believe it's too harsh to have a lifetime ban with all the effects it entails.

4/13/2012
Irving/Tx
Lucy
Bradley / Nimitz
Lyle Topas was clearly wrong for driving intoxicated and the punishment seem to fit the case for the most part, but he was only being a typical teenager that made a stupid decision in the heat of the moment. The fact that he caused someone's death alone could have mentally ruined him. It's debatable whether or not it violates his eighth amendment. Because technically no cruel or unusual punishment is being given to him because he is capable of walking and riding a bike as transportation, and his punishment could possibly really reach out to young teenagers and let them reflect on their actions and think twice before they do something they might regret. But as humans we all go through trial and error then learn from our mistakes. Yes he should be punished, but I think a less cruel punishment should have been considered, like community service or something. Stupidity and a lack of judgment can really affect an individual's life.

4/12/2012
Irving, Texas
Keller Simpson
Bradley/Nimitz
The very first lessons of Drivers ED – driving is a privilege, not a right. The second lesson is don't drink and drive. Mr. Topa, driving with a suspended license after becoming intoxicated, does not deserve to go unpunished, nor does he deserve the privilege the license grants for quite some time; however, a lifetime ban for the purpose of “send[ing] a message” is far beyond the scope of reasonable punishment. As cities grow, so do suburbs, and after hitting the seven billion mark not long ago, it can be expected that the urban spread will only grow in the next decades. Without the ability to drive, to commute, Mr. Topa will be limited to only jobs, stores, restaurants, and travel destinations accessible through public transportation – a system notably weak and unreliable, especially when compared to that of Europe's. And with cities like Arlington, Texas, who's city council has consistently shut down any attempts to establish public transportation, there are some parts of the United States Mr. Topa would never be able to operate within. While a permanent ban might not seem cruel for the moment, when Mr. Topa is expected to get a job, maintain a family, and assist with getting any children he may have to school or extracurricular events, the decision begins to lose its definition, and start lending into moral and ethical ambiguity.

4/12/2012
Irving/TX
Carolina
Bradley/Nimitz
The punishment put on this young teen was the correct thing to do. With the consequences being banning from driving was a bit hard the Rhode Island Chief had the right mind set to punish Topa. He both put himself in danger and others as well. Having the ability to drive is a privilege if you break the rules when knowing the consequences you should take responsibility of the things you have done and take your punishment given to you. While violating the eighth amendment their maybe a conflict to because of the unusual punishment put on him. You see cases like this many times with drunk driving, but most of the time the are fined and put into jail. So having this punishment in a teen may cause problems.

4/12/2012
Irving/ Tx
Itzel
Bradley/Nimitz
I personally think Lyle Topa's punishment was definitely to harsh. Yes he crashed into a tree while he was under the influence, yes he caused one of his friends to be in a comma for weeks, but suspending his drivers license for a life time is a bit out of the ordinary. He is a teenager for crying out loud, our teen age years are pretty much programed for us to make mistakes but then learn from them. I believe he should get at least a couple of years on his license suspension. Taking it to a life time punishment is just to much on the extreme side. Cut the kid some kind of sympathy, we all make mistakes and we all learn from them. I'm pretty sure he already feel bad enough.

4/10/2012
Irving/Texas
Michael U
Bradley/Nimitz
Yes, I believe that Lyle Topa’s punishment fit his crime. Lyle chose to drink and he then proceeded to choose to race a friend that nearly got them all killed. he put his friends lives in danger and innocent people. He already had a suspended license so he clearly did not learn his lesson the first time. He never learned from his first mistake, proving he would never learn. He made a bad choice, by driving when he was drunk. He knew that what he was doing was wrong, and decided to but others life in danger. He could have killed people. I think the punishment is very fair and I hope it makes him grow up a little. If Topa gets his life together and becomes a mature, responsible driver,he can always go to another state to get a drivers license and the Rhode said that he would always come back and appeal for his license back. but again it does not seem right to ban him for life because of one event.

4/3/2012
Benson
Chace
Mr. Sorensen
Nope if he is that stupid he deserves it. GIT SUM!!!

4/2/2012
Napa
Marc
Hale/New Tech
Mistakes like this has to be punished. I totally agree with a ban on driving, for at least a several years, but a ban for a lifetime seems to be kind of harsh.

4/2/2012
Napa
Mandeep
New Tech High School
The punishment of ban on driving was an appropriate punishment, as it did not infringe on Lyle Topa’s eight amendment rights, while it also protected other’s rights. It is the responsibility of the court to implement appropriate punishment to offenders, and it is neither cruel nor unusual to keep someone from harming others on the road. By allowing him to convince court in reinstating his license, Topa is technically given a ban for an indefinite time rather than lifetime, thus the punishment is not an infringement on Topa's eight amendment right, as it is neither cruel nor unusual. The punishment also addresses Senator Hedlund’s concerns, that the punishment is too harsh and Topa might change and become a better driver. Since Topa is allowed to ask the court to have his license reinstated, his punishment may be annulled if he proves to the court that he is a better driver and he is not a risk on other’s health, which sounds reasonable.

4/2/2012
Napa, California
Ryan
Nancy Hale/New Technology High
I believe that this ban is the right choice, because not only did he harm himself he put other peoples lives in danger as well. Driving is a priveledge not a given right and I stand by that, me being a driver as well would like to be as safe as possible on the road by having people play their part in safe driving me included. On the other hand I do believe that it is a little harsh but he should of been above the influence.

4/2/2012
CA
Grady
NTHS
I think that this is a fair punishment for what was done. Driving while intoxicated is something that should never be taken lightly. Esepcially in cases where the drunk driver injured, or worse, killed someone else is a time where they should lose their driving privileges. Driving is not a right, and if someone does something as reckless as Topa, regardless of age, they should not be allowed to drive. Addressing the state senator: yes, he should have find other ways to transport himself. There are public transit options and other means of transport that either take Topa out of control or make him less of a threat to others. Drunk driving is inexcusable, no matter what the situation, and permanently taking Topa off the roads was the right decision.

4/2/2012
Napa, California
Crysta Tim
Nancy Hale, New Technology High School
I haven't begun driving yet, but I understand the risks that teenagers (like myself) put on the road. This is a scary thought indeed, but teenagers today are not the only generation that has caused car accidents by a long shot. Many generations have caused this sort of trouble, if not all. Teens are reckless. Teens are immature. Teens grow into adults. Without these accidents we cause, how would we learn, grow, and change to be successful drivers and even more successful people? This. Is. A. Phase. We all go through it (sparing a few amazingly good drivers.) Whether it be a fender bender or a full-blown total, we go through these expiriences and learn what happens and how to conduct proper driving. It is a learning expirience and this kid, Lyle Topa, doesn't deserve to be condemned to no driving for his entire LIFE. If that were the punishment for every reckless teen driver, thousands, maybe millions of teens would have no ability to drive which can lead to even worse downfalls in their lives, things that could have been successes. This ban on driving for Topa is irrational and I disagree with it totally and completely. I think a better solution would have been revoking his licence temporarily, making him go through schooling, and going through a few driver's ed courses again. Much more rational than punishing him for his whole life and still mandatory and grueling. Much better, I think, than never allowing him on the road again.

4/2/2012
Napa California
Nicholas
Nancy Hale
I don't think the the reckless driving that he was doing is okay. But I don't think that a lifetime ban on driving is fair given that this has been shown to be an age related problem that could pass with time. Once he learns responsibility, he should be able to show that he is responsible. The lifetime ban should be after several events of reckless driving. I understand that could lead to an accident, but it does not seem right to ban him for life because of one event.

4/1/2012
Irving TX
Carly T
Bradley/Nimitz
As a teenager who has to drive to several places in a typical day, being a on a road with a driver like Topa is one of my greatest fears. The reckless teenage driver, intoxicated with alcohol and adrenaline, is a terror to those of us going to and from school, rehearsals, and practices, often with a younger sibling in the back seat. Lyle proved himself to be this kind of heinously irresponsible driver, and from this perspective, Guglietta was completely justified in punishing the teenager the way he did. The judge was looking out for all of the citizens of Rhode Island could be in danger because of a driver like this on the roads. But there is also the fact that Topa is extremely young. He has many years of growing and maturing still ahead of him, and if he grows into a husband and father that wants to live a normal life, he will have always have to look for alternative means of getting to work and transporting his family to places. He didn't actually kill anyone in the act, so there's no debt to be settled there. Guglietta should be able to go before a judge in a few years and have his record looked at to see if he's cleaned up his act, but no one could argue with a judge who turned down his plea for an eased punishment because no one wants to be in the car that gets smashed by a drunk driver.

3/30/2012
BELLEVILLE NY
CALLIE
MISS. COLBY BELLEVILLE HENDERSON
I THIN HE SHOULD BE ABLE TO GET HIS LISENCE BACK BECAUSE EVERYONE DESERVES A SECOND CHANCE. MAYBE SUSPEND IT TIL 25 OR SOMETHING LIFE IS JUST CRUEL

3/30/2012
Watertown/New York
kellen
Mrs. Colby/Bellvielle Henderson
To me i think the punishment was reasonable, people like this should not be allowed to drive they jepordize the lives of innocent people, both adults and children, driving is a prilavage, not a right and some people just don't desereve the prilavage

3/27/2012
Irving, TX
Jocelyn P
Bradley/Nimitz
Although Gugliettas punishment does seem a bit harsh to me I still think his action has a good purpose and is what will get not only Topa, but also other young adults to reconsider their reckless driving. Plus, Topa is able to ask the court to reinstate his license, which I think he would do because i'm sure that he would grow tired or biking, or asking for rides everywhere. And when and if he does ask the court to reinstate his license, then by that time he could be a grown and mature adult and the court will be able to grant him his license. It seems to only be a violation of the eight amendment to a certain degree because he is able to have his license handed back to him once he thinks that he is able to handle it.

3/27/2012
irving/tx
Amy
bradley/nimitz
I believe that Lyle received the proper punishment to his crime. He obviously isn't mature enough to handle the responsibilities of driving not only did he put himself in danger, he put his friends lives in danger and innocent people. He already had a suspended license so he clearly did not learn his lesson the first time. why should the judge trust that he “might” just learn his lesson this time? He should have thought of the consequences to his actions, banning him from driving ensures that he will not put other people in danger with his reckless driving .teenagers need to learn that they aren't always going to get the easy way out and that what they do has serious consequences.

3/23/2012
Belleville, NY
Seth
Miss. Colby Belleville Henderson
The Rhode Island teen Lyle Topa, is very young. Banning him from driving the rest of his life is just cruel. He has so much more of his life to live and now he has to spend his time relying on others to take him from point a to point b. He needs another chance.

3/23/2012
Belleville Henderson NY
J.W.
Colby
He was given the opportunity to prove himself once. It is his fault that he chose to abuse his suspened license. He didn't learn from his first mistake, proving he'll never learn. His punishment fits the crime perfectly. Hopefully, his example can be proven to others nation wide, ensuring that if you screw up once and are given the opportunity to redeem yourself, you best do it.

3/23/2012
Belleville/ New York
Amanda
Mrs. Colby
I don't think someone's right to drive should be taken away for life unless they physically and mentally cannot drive. However, in Topa's case, he made a reckless and dangerous decision to do the things he did and he should be punished, but not for his entire life. He should have to take many driving courses and have a restricted licence for a while.

3/23/2012
Belleville/New York
Kayla
Miss.Colby
I agree with William Gulietta's decision. Lyle was in the wrong and he should have to live with the consequences. Lyle chose to drink and he then proceeded to choose to race a friend that nearly got them all killed. All of this could have been avoided if he obeyed the laws.

3/23/2012
Belleville NY
Shelby
Miss Colby Belleville Henderson
Yes Lyle Topa's punishment does fit his crime because you know you're not supposed to drink and drive and you're not supposed to be under age drinking. By the age of 17 you should know not to drink and drive and that something could end up happening, which it did. No he has to face the punishment and learn from what he did. But now I bet he didn't do it at all.

3/23/2012
Belleville, NY
Kate
Colby/Belleville Henderson
I agree with Guglietta's order. Topa had already had a suspended license, was speeding, had consumed alcohol and almost killed his passengers. A message has been sent by the lifetime ban on his license. If you are going to drive recklessly, there should be a punishment.

3/23/2012
Belleville/ NY
Adam
Miss Colby/ Belleville Henderson Central School
I think that his punishment fits his crime because he knew his license was suspended and he wasnt sapose to drive and to add onto that he was drinking and when he crashed he almost killed his friend. in my opinion the kid got off way to easy. He should have go to Juvenile Detention for what he did. It might be a ban on the eighth amendment rights but he did drive with a revoked licence and he was stupid enough to speed.

3/23/2012
Belleville, New york
Taylor
Miss Colby/ Belleville Henderson
I believe the crime does fit the punishment he recieved to a point. I'm one against driving under the influence, especially under age. Getting his license taken away should be a great wake up call to him, but at the same time he can change as he gets older because not everyone is the same person as a kid. Taking away his license for a period of time and allowing him to work his way back to getting it would have been a better punishment. I wouldn't allow him to get it back right away, but after a few years and proof that he has matured. However, if something like this were to happen again then thats when i would take his license completely. Many people learn from their mistakes so i think the option for him to learn and fix his mistake should be given to him.

3/23/2012
Belleville, NY
Kieran
Ms. Colby/ Belleville Henderson
Personally I believe that a lifetime ban is a little harsh. Many teens make mistakes and should not be punished for the rest of there lives. I think they should have atleast recieved a ban until he was 21 years old.

3/23/2012
Belleville Ny
Dylan
Ms. Colby
I strongly dissagree, this is the most absurd thinmg i have ever read! so your saying this kid is screwed for the rest of his life for a mistake he made when he was 17.. Okay how about 10 years later, prtobly sttled down , and not reckless... Letas go another 20.. 47 still think he is gonna be reckless behind the wheel? This is where politics really piss me off.

3/23/2012
Irving, Texas
Fatima
Bradley/Nimitz
Lyle Topas made a terrible mistake by driving intoxicated, but one has to wonder what kind of impact the accident had on his life. It must have been such a terrible accident. Lyle Topas must have been dreading the possibility that his friend could have died; therefore, I believe that his driving privileges should be reinstated. He is just 17. Just because Lyle Topas committed such a terrible crime doesn't mean that he should be punished that harshly because of it. One would expect him to have learned from his mistake. The emotional and physical impact that he will never forget will haunt him enough. In the article it says that Guglietta wanted to send a message to other teenagers to drive recklessly. Is that fair to Lyle Topa? Is it fair for to be made an example of something that could tremendously influence one's life? The punishment seems too cruel, so I believe that in a sense it violates his eight amendment right. We are all human, no matter how minuscule or large the mistake was, we will always learn something from it.

3/22/2012
Irving,TX
Richard
Bradley/Nimitz
Yes, the crime does fit the punishment. Lyle decided to get behind the wheel of a car and drive under the influence of alcohol. Lyle's stupidity caused harm to another person. Lyle's stupidity is the reason for this type of punishment. His stupidity could have taken the life of another person or the life of his own. No, the punishment doesn't violate the Eighth Amendment. No cruel or unusual punishment is being done to Lyle. He has two legs that he can use to walk. If doesn't know how to ride a bike, well he has the rest of his life to learn how to. Not only is this a great punishment, but it sends a great message to others: Your decision to drink and drive can harm the lives of others. Get behind the wheel of a car under the influence and it could be the last time you ever place your hands on a steering wheel. Lyle got very lucky. He was not killed nor was he sent to prison. He was dumb enough to drink and drive. I hope he's smart enough to look both ways before crossing the street.

3/22/2012
Olive Branch/Mississippi
Jonathon
Brown/Center Hill
He has only been banned from driving in Rhode Island and it is the state's right to say he cannot drive there anymore after he has so blatantly disobeyed the driving laws. What he did was really wrong. His license had already been suspended so he obviously has a history of bad driving. Then, he did something that even my little brother knows is wrong. You should never drink and drive because you are taking away other people's right to choose to be safe. If Topa gets his life together and becomes a responsible driver, and hopefully he does, he can always go to another state to get a drivers license. Plus, the Rhode Island judge said he could come back and appeal once he got himself together. So, I think the punishment is very fair and I hope it makes him grow up a little.

3/21/2012
Irving/Texas
Taylor G.
Bradley/Nimitz
Topa's crime is very severe. He actively decided to consume alcohol, reckless driving, and racing another person. Not only did he actively decide to do these activities, he did it along with 3 passengers, meaning he has taken others' lives in his hands. Also, Topa has endangered other drivers on the road. He could have killed people. He could not give those people a second chance to live again, so why should he get second chance to drive again? Is that an excessive punishment? To some, maybe, to others, it isn't. Topa's punishment should not be excessive and should not be too lenient for his crime. I think that Topa should have a period of time that his license is suspended but with the ability to gain the license back if viewed by a judge that he is mature enough to drive.

3/19/2012
Baltimore/Maryland
Kanira
Jones-Prettyman/Baltimore Talent Development
I think the 17 year old should have got time in jail because he could have put himself in danger too.

3/19/2012
Baltimore/Maryland
Antonio
Jones-Prettyman/Baltimore Talent Development
The court is right for what it did because he made his friend be in a coma because he can't drive.

3/19/2012
Baltimore/Maryland
Marcel
Jones-Prettyman/Baltimore Talent Development
I do agree that he should never drive again because he could make the same mistake and it's a very mean way to say you can't drive. But at the same time every one should get a second chance.

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