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Driver who killed passenger moves closer to clemency with support of Alex Sink

Jennifer Martin, 29, was 18 when her speeding caused an accident that killed one and injured another. She was sentenced to 16 years in prison.

Times photo

Jennifer Martin, 29, was 18 when her speeding caused an accident that killed one and injured another. She was sentenced to 16 years in prison.

After almost eight years in prison, Jennifer Martin, 29, will get an expedited clemency hearing, thanks to Florida's chief financial officer, Alex Sink.

In April, Sink, who is on the state clemency board, read a story in the St. Petersburg Times about Martin's 16-year prison sentence for speeding and causing an accident that killed one passenger and injured another near Ybor City in 1998.

Martin was 18 at the time and had no alcohol in her system. In the story, her prosecutor, the judge and the injured victim said they supported consideration for clemency.

"Jennifer's story is compelling," said Sink, "especially in light of other cases involving celebrities with alcohol in their systems who got much lighter sentences."

Sink said she asked her staff to look into Martin's case and advise her if it thought she warranted a hearing. Thursday, Sink said their mini-investigation had convinced her that Martin's case should be heard. It is set for Dec. 10.

"We'll listen to both sides before deciding," Sink said.

The clemency board consists of the governor, the state attorney general, the agriculture commissioner and Sink. If the governor recommends clemency and two of the three cabinet members agree, Martin's sentence will be commuted.

"We're grateful to Ms. Sink and her staff for the opportunity to present Jennifer's case for clemency," said Martin's attorney, Melinda Tindell.

Driver who killed passenger moves closer to clemency with support of Alex Sink 07/10/09 [Last modified: Friday, July 10, 2009 9:43pm]
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