The Boston Globe’s John Guilfoil had an item a few days ago about an apparently successful “Ambien defense” to vehicular homicide:
An Andover lawyer was acquitted yesterday of a charge of motor vehicle homicide in the death of a Methuen man who was changing a flat tire on Interstate 93 in Tewksbury in July 2006.
Ki Yong O, 35, was under the influence of the prescription sleeping pill Ambien when he struck 43-year-old Anthony Raucci.
“Anthony Raucci tragically lost his life when the car driven by the defendant crashed into him while he was changing his tire on the side of the road,” Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone said in a statement.
Leone said prosecutors would have to accept the decision, but “our thoughts will always remain with the victim’s family.”
It would be interesting to learn more about this case. Back in November I did a little Westlaw browsing on the subject of the Ambien defense and found 4 unpublished California cases that involved some variation of the argument that the appellant had been under the influence of Ambien. My favorite quote came from a case called People v. Berman: “Appellant displayed amnesia with regard to the day of the shooting, and could not reconstruct or provide details about the shooting. She said she had no reason to kill Barry.” Yipes!