The Knuckleheads of the Day award

Today’s winners are Futoshi Imabayashi and Judge Shogo Kawaguchi. They get the award for the following.

FUKUOKA–After waiving off more serious charges, a court sentenced a former city worker to 7 1/2 years in prison for negligence in a DUI accident that killed three children.

The Fukuoka District Court handed Futoshi Imabayashi, 23, the maximum penalty for professional negligence resulting in deaths and injuries combined with Road Traffic Law violations.

Prosecutors had demanded a 25-year prison sentence for dangerous driving and hit-and-run charges. They said Imabayashi was heavily intoxicated and willfully drove his vehicle despite being aware of the dangers.

But Presiding Judge Shogo Kawaguchi turned down the prosecutors’ arguments for a conviction on dangerous driving charges resulting in deaths and injuries.

In fact, the court took an unusual step late last year of instructing prosecutors to add professional negligence and other charges after the hearings were completed.

The move was taken as a sign that Imabayashi would be exonerated from dangerous driving charges.

According to the ruling, the former Fukuoka city employee rear-ended the sport utility vehicle driven by Akio Ogami on a bridge over Hakata Bay around 10:50 p.m. on Aug. 25, 2006.

The SUV, carrying five family members, was pushed into the sea, and Imabayashi fled the scene.

Three children, Hiroaki, 4, Tomoaki, 3, and Saaya, 1, drowned despite frantic efforts by Ogami and his wife, Kaori, to rescue them. The couple, now 34 and 31, were injured.

Imabayashi had drunk alcohol at home, a pub and a snack bar before driving at 100 kph on the bridge, the ruling said.


Because a sobriety test showed only 0.25 milligram of alcohol per liter of breath, he could not be regarded as heavily drunk, the judge said.

Seven and a half years for taking 3 human lives and destroying a family. That isn’t justice to me. How driving drunk at speeds of 100 kph is not dangerous driving is beyond me.

Read the whole story at the link above. I feel it is outrageous enough to name Futoshi Imabayashi and Judge Shogo Kawaguchi today’s Knuckleheads of the Day.

Hat tip- Japundit who says many people were enraged by this decision and now Imabayashi’s lawyers are trying to get a reduced sentence by placing the blame on the victims.

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