A family devastated by a drunk driving accident will have to wait one more day for justice.
It was standing room only and few dry eyes today in the Calaveras County courtroom where Donald Jackson, 27, of Wallace was scheduled to be sentenced for a Dec. 2018 DUI that resulted in the death of 27-year-old Chelsea Lund and seriously injured her then-8-year-old son, Kaiden.
Jackson was led into the courtroom in an orange prison uniform and shackles while members of his family watched through tears.
On the other side of the aisle, the Lund family and friends, some of whom wore “Justice for Chelsea and Kaiden” t-shirts, waited to hear Jackson’s sentence after more than a year of legal proceedings.
However, after speaking privately with both parties at bench, visiting Judge Robert F. Moody refused to issue a sentence on the grounds that it was not clear if Jackson had knowingly waived his right (via an Arbuckle Waiver) to be sentenced by Calaveras County Superior Court Judge Timothy Healy, who accepted the defendant’s guilty plea in November.
Due to Healy’s absence, Moody said, “This is not a situation where, to me, it feels right to take over and do the sentencing. … The lawyers found out about me about 10 minutes ago.”
After the prosecution voiced their strong objection to delaying the sentencing, supporters of Chelsea Lund were permitted to address the court.
“(Jackson’) defense attorney has played game after game to prolong this,” Lund’s mother, Dana Lund, told the judge between sobs. “We need to end this. This is just another game. … We deserve some peace.”
Lund addressed Jackson directly, “You just need to take responsibility for what you did.”
“We’re not doing this to play games,” Jackson’s defense attorney, Gilbert Somera, out of Stockton, replied, after Judge Moody warned him not to “go there.”
After Moody’s apologies to the family and several tense minutes in the courtroom, it was determined that Judge Healy would be available to issue the sentencing tomorrow at 1 p.m.
But for the friends and family who took time off work to attend the sentencing, another day of waiting comes with great sacrifices.
“This will cost me thousands,” Chelsea Lund’s father, Richard Lund, told the prosecution.
Some friends and family, including Chelsea Lund’s sister, had to take a flight to get to the sentencing.
Perhaps even more taxing was the emotional preparation it took to appear in the courtroom today, Lund’s brother, Jarett Lund, told the Enterprise following the failed sentencing.
“The whole morning, the entire family spent crying,” he said.
Following the rescheduling, Jackson was led out of the courtroom in tears. He has pleaded no contest to vehicular manslaughter and gross negligence, driving under the influence of alcohol, causing injury, and dissuading a witness from reporting a crime.
He has admitted to enhancements for causing great bodily injury to multiple victims.