On New Year’s Eve 1981, seventeen year old Kevin Tunell, returning home from a party at which he had consumed a large amount of champagne, struck and killed eighteen year old Susan Herzog. In 1982, Tunell pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to lecture to teens on the dangers of drunk driving for one year. Herzog’s family, outraged at what they perceived to be the leniency of the sentence, brought a civil action against Tunell, obtaining a $100,000 settlement from his insurance company. In addition, Tunell agreed to send one dollar to Herzog’s family every week for eighteen years. Despite Tunell’s efforts to dissuade teens from driving drunk, the death of Susan Herzog led the family to grow to hate Tunell. Tunell, for his part, repeatedly failed to send the dollar, eventually earning a jail sentence for contempt of court. Herzog’s family members insisted that their main interest in the weekly dollar was to punish Tunell, and that his failure to send the dollars represented to them his forgetfulness of the crime. Susan Herzog’s father stated that “every time we don’t get a check, there’s only one thing that comes to our mind: [Tunell] doesn’t remember.”
Benjamin M. Birney,
What can the Feds and the French Teach us about Criminal Restitution in Maine?,
Me. L. Rev.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.mainelaw.maine.edu/mlr/vol65/iss1/11