A former “Melrose Place” actress who has already served a jail sentence for a fatal drunk driving accident in New Jersey in 2010 is going back behind bars after a judge agreed with prosecutors on Thursday that her initial sentence was too lenient.
Saying that Amy Locane still refuses to fully admit her guilt in the crash in which 60-year-old Helene Seeman and Seeman’s husband were seriously injured, Judge Angela Borkowski sentenced her to eight years in prison. Under state law, she must serve more than six years before she is eligible for parole.
Locane apologized to the Seeman family in a brief statement. She was turned in handcuffs and taken into custody by court representatives following proceedings in the Somerville state court.
It was a surprising development in a case that has been raging around the New Jersey justice system for nearly a decade and now includes four three-judge convictions, plus numerous appeals.
Locane – who starred in 13 episodes of the popular 1990s Fox series and has also appeared in several films – was convicted on several counts, including vehicle manslaughter, and faced a sentence of five to 10 years on the most serious points. The state initially sought a seven-year prison sentence, but a criminal judge sentenced her to three years in 2013. An appeals court ruled that he had misapplied the law, but the same judge refused to allow her extra time.
Last year, another judge sentenced her to five years, but an appeals court ruled that he was not following the guidelines it set and ordered a new conviction. Locane’s attorney, James Wronko, had unsuccessfully argued that re-sentencing her would be against dual peril protection, as she had already served her first sentence and parole.
According to witnesses, Locane had had several drinks before heading home on the night of the accident and crashing into the Seemans’ car as it pulled into their driveway in Montgomery Township, near Princeton. The actress claimed that a third motorist, whose car Locane had run into at a traffic light a few minutes earlier, distracted her by honking at her and chasing her.
Locane was not charged with drunk driving, but a state expert stated that her blood alcohol level was probably about three times the legal limit and that she was driving about 85 km / h in an area of 56 km / h. the time of the crash.
Fred Seeman, who nearly died of his injuries in the crash, attended Thursday’s proceedings and said Locane’s shift of the blame “shows contempt for this court and the jury that delivered the verdict.”
The judge took a similar position, saying Locane’s past alcohol abuse puts her at risk for recidivism.
“You made a conscious decision to drink that day and kept drinking, in the beginning you realized you needed a ride but didn’t get one,” said Borkowski. “If you hadn’t got behind the wheel of your car tonight, the incident never would have happened.”
Wronko called the phrase “outrageous. She has always taken full responsibility,” and criticized the judge for not taking into account Locane’s current sobriety and her work of advising others against alcohol abuse.
Locane has 45 days to appeal her sentence. Wronko said he is waiting to see if the state Supreme Court decides to hear his appeal on the issue of double danger.