On September 22, 2017, former detective Jake Pascucci, now 30, stuck and killed 66-year-old Karen L. Borkowsk, while she was crossing the Ocean Blvd, near Broadway, in a drunken-driving accident in Long Branch.
As Pascucci was a member of Law Enforcement in Monmouth County, the case was transferred to Middlesex county in an attempt to avoid conflict of interests.
The defendant’s attorney, Steven D. Altman, asked the sentencing judge to consider the fact that the victim, according to eyewitness, did not have the right of way when crossing the street; while the prosecutors argued that the 2017 law – which states that drunken drivers are to be held responsible for deaths even when the victims action may have contributed – prevents the victim’s actions from being considered as mitigating factors.
The sentencing judge sided with prosecutors and ultimately sentenced Pascucci to 364 days in prison, which prompted a three-judge panel from the Appellate Division of Superior court to send the case back to Superior Court of Middlesex County for re-sentencing.
In a note published on Monday, the three judges “conclude [that] the judge’s erroneous construction of the law deprived defendant of a qualitative assessment of all the relevant mitigating factors”
Pascucci, who was off-duty when the accident occured, has been free pending the outcome of the appeal. It is not known when the re-sentencing will take place, as lots of events are now on hold due to the ongoing health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.