A Santa Nella woman recently sentenced to a year in jail for killing a Los Banos firefighter in a DUI crash is back home, after not spending one day of her sentence behind bars.
Amie Chick, 25, was sentenced March 16 by Judge Frank Dougherty for causing the June crash on Highway 165 that killed Andrew Maloney, 29. Chick pleaded guilty in February to one count of felony vehicular manslaughter and was scheduled to begin serving her sentence April 23.
However, under the terms of Assembly Bill 109, the state's new prison realignment law, Chick was eligible for a house-arrest program, allowing her to serve her sentence wearing an electronic monitoring device at home, according to Deputy Tom MacKenzie, Merced County Sheriff's spokesman.
AB 109, which took effect in October, mandates that low-level state prison inmates sentenced for nonserious, nonviolent crimes and low-risk sex offenses serve their sentences in county jails instead of state prisons.
Merced County received $2.8 million last year in AB 109 funds to bring the law into effect locally from Oct. 1 to June 30, 2012. About $221,320 of those funds were used for electronic monitoring and GPS equipment to track lower-level offenders on home detention, such as Chick.
MacKenzie said lower-risk inmates, as opposed to violent offenders, typically qualify for the home detention program.
Merced County Main Jail and the John Latorraca Correctional Center have a combined daily population of 620-660 inmates, MacKenzie said. And he said there's an effort to lower that daily population figure to 580, which is why Chick was sent home.
"Obviously, if (certain inmates) fall under the AB 109 guidelines because of housing issues, we have to let them go," MacKenzie said. "Unfortunately, we have to keep the worst of the worst, and let the best of the worst go."
MacKenzie said Chick will serve her full sentence under house arrest.
Chick's conviction stems from a June 9 accident in which Maloney, who worked for Cal Fire, was riding his 2011 Suzuki motorcycle south on Highway 165 near Pioneer Road. Just after 9 p.m. Chick, who was northbound in a 1995 Jeep, made a left turn in front of Maloney.
According to court documents, Chick had alcohol and marijuana in her system on the night of the collision.
An hour after the crash, her blood-alcohol level was 0.07 percent. The legal limit is 0.08 percent. The prosecution believed Chick was above the legal limit at the time of the crash.
Court records indicate Chick may have been on a cell phone at or near the time of the crash.
Enterprise reporter Corey Pride can be reached by phone at (209) 388-6563 or by email at email@example.com.