Thank you to everyone who participated by sending mail. We had (by far) the
biggest turnout the Cheboygan court had ever seen. Everyone loved Amy so much.
The information below was gathered by Cheryl Darnton, a good friend of the family. Thanks.
I've left this page intact for historical information and also to possibly help others who are in a similar situation (Feb, 2002).
If you or your child would like to participate in the judicial process on behalf of Amy Fedel and her family, you have the right to write a victim impact statement. This is your right as a citizen of the State of Michigan; it is part of the Victim's Rights Act of 1985. A victim impact statement is a document that illuminates the damage done by a person who has committed a crime.
Their words will never adequately express the loss that Jean, Mike, and Lisa will suffer for the rest of their lives, but they are in the process of composing their own victim impact statements. The judge who sentences Kenneth LaHaie will read all of the victim impact statements before the sentencing takes place, in order to more fully understand the extent of the loss this man's actions have caused. LaHaie is charged with one count of operating under the influence of liquor causing death, and three counts of operating under the influence of liquor causing serious injury.
I have called the prosecutor's office in Cheboygan County, Michigan, where the judicial process will be conducted. I spoke with Paula Coon, who is the Victim's Advocate for the court. She assured me that letters written by community members and friends would have a real impact on the judge's decision in the sentencing of LaHaie. If you are inclined to do so, I urge you to write a statement and send it to Ms. Coon's office directly. She estimated that letters should be received in her office by the end of September to assure their appropriate distribution before LaHaie is sentenced.
Jean and Mike are in favor of this community activism on behalf of their family. In fact, it is a relief for them to think that the responsibility of illuminating the extent of the loss from Amy's death does not rest solely on their shoulders, that other people in the community will help the judge to see who Amy was and to understand how much pain has been caused and how widely this pain has reverberated.
Paula Coon gave me some general guidelines that may be helpful in writing a victim impact statement.
- To put a human face on this tragedy. To help the judge see who Amy Fedel was, a whole person with a variety of gifts, interests, friends and relationships.
- To illustrate the personal impact this tragedy has had on many individuals in our community. There is universal grief here; it is a parent's worst nightmare. You do not have to be a close personal friend of the family to have been impacted by this tragedy.
- How the loss of Amy has affected you and your family.
- What you will miss about Amy.
- Your concern for Jean Eridon, Mike Fedel, and little Lisa Fedel.
- Your fear of being victimized by a drunk driver.
Copies of the victim impact statements will go directly to the judge, to the defendant, to the prosecutors and will be included in the pre-sentence investigation report. Your voice will be heard.
- Hand write or type on plain white paper.
- Address your letter: Dear Judge Pavlich.
- Include case name: People v Kenneth John LaHaie and case number: 98-0603-1-FD
- Sign your statement, and date it.
County Building PO Box 70 Cheboygan, MI 49721 Attention: Paula Coon
Paula Coon is happy to answer any questions you might have. Her direct line is (616) 627-8879. You can leave her a message at (616) 627-8800 if she is away from her desk.
Sincerely, Cheryl Darnton