LOS BANOS -- When Shannon Maloney found out his son's killer was serving her sentence at home, it didn't sit well with him -- and still doesn't.
"She killed my son and she's yet to spend a day in custody. I feel he has been disrespected," he said.
Amie Chick, 25, was supposed to begin serving a year in jail April 23 for felony vehicular manslaughter in the death of Cal Fire Firefighter Andrew Maloney in a DUI accident June 9.
Overcrowding issues caused by Assembly Bill 109 contributed to a decision by the Merced County Sheriff's Department to send Chick home.
Assembly Bill 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 Main Jail and the John Latorraca Correctional Center have a combined daily population of 620 to 660 inmates. According to Sheriff's Department officials, there is an effort to lower that daily population figure to 580, which is why Chick was sent home.
Maloney, his relatives and family friends have started an online petition to have Chick's jail sentence reinstated and show support for stiffer drunken driving penalties. The petition can be viewed at www.change.org under Andrew Maloney. More than 2,130 people had signed the petition as of Wednesday.
Maloney said he doesn't believe Chick's sentence will be reinstated, but he hopes an amendment can be written into AB 109. He said the state legislature should not allow local authorities to let people who've killed someone serve house arrest because of overcrowding.
Allison Fagundes, a family friend who came up with the idea for the petition, said it's been a comforting exercise.
"There's a place on the petition where people can comment. I've read countless stories from people in similar situations who've had friends and relatives killed by drunk drivers," Fagundes said.
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 the time of the crash or soon before it.
Fagundes said she will eventually send the petition to Assemblywoman Cathleen Galgiani, D-Livingston, and state Sen. Anthony Cannella, R-Ceres, as well as Merced County Supervisor Jerry O'Banion and Merced County Sheriff Mark Pazin.
Ultimately, it was Pazin's decision whether to allow Chick to serve her sentence at home.
Maloney said he tried to contact Pazin to get him to change his mind but the sheriff directed a commander to return his call instead. Pazin did not return messages from the Enterprise requesting comment.
Fagundes said the petition is informational but hopes it will sway opinion to her side.
"It's a great start to inform people and get the ball rolling on changing this," Fagundes said.
Los Banos Enterprise reporter Corey Pride can be reached by phone at (209) 388-6563 or by email at cpride@losbanos.