Woman guilty in fatal DUI gets house arrest

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

The woman who killed a Los Banos firefighter received a one year jail sentence for the deadly crash. But Amie Chick is serving her time under house arrest instead.

The death of Los Banos firefighter Andrew Maloney devastated his family, friends, and colleagues. The 29-year-old was riding his motorcycle last June when officers say Amie Chick turned her car right in front of him.

Court documents show Chick had alcohol and marijuana in her system, and that she may have been using a cell phone. The 25-year-old pleaded guilty to felony vehicular manslaughter and was sentenced to one year in jail. But she immediately went under house arrest because she's considered a low-level offender.

Antoinette Murillo said, "Instead of being housed in custody in a jail cell, you're housed at home, you don't have as much freedom even though you're at home because you still are being monitored, we still are watching you."

Chick is one of about 80 Merced County inmates now wearing electronic ankle bracelets. The sheriff's office uses one equipped with GPS.

Murillo said, "We can see where people are at all times."

And another that records the person's movement and has a special sensor to detect if they've been drinking. That's the one chick will be wearing for the next year.

Murillo said, "She can only leave if we have a schedule, like right now where she works so she's allowed to leave we'll say 7 to 3, she has to be home by 3 o'clock."

Some argue that's far too much freedom for a convicted killer. But the sheriff's office says there's simply not enough space at the jail because of assembly bill 109. The state law requires non-serious, non-violent inmates and low risk sex offenders to serve their time at the county level instead of state prison.

"We don't want to have to release anybody," Deputy Tom Mackenzie said. "We have a maximum capacity by law that we have to maintain or we can't go over. So when we take in inmates and we do over 100 bookings a day on average, we have to decide who we're going to keep and who has to go."

Three more Merced County inmates have been released on house arrest this week alone because of AB109.

The county did receive about $220 thousand in state funding last year to pay for the extra electronic monitoring.

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crimetracker, dui, merced county, los banos, merced, local, sara sandrik
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