Former Melrose Place star Amy Locane-Bovenizer could return to prison after a judge required more information regarding her lenient jail term.
The 44-year-old was jailed after her SUV crashed into another vehicle in New Jersey in June 2010, injuring driver Fred Seeman and killing his wife Helene Seeman.
The actress, who played Sandy Harling in the '90s TV show, drove with a blood-alcohol level that was nearly three times the legal limit, and was going 53 mph in a 35 mph zone.
In 2012 Locane-Bovenizer was acquitted of a more serious charge of aggravated manslaughter and convicted of the lesser-degree offence of second-degree vehicular homicide.
The actress faced a jail term ranging from five to 10 years, but at the time, the judge presiding over the case sentenced her to three years, far below the prescribed time because they said they believed the longer jail term would be detrimental to her two young children – one of whom has a medical and mental disability.
She was released in 2015 after serving two-and-a-half years.
On Friday (22Jul16), an appeal judge ruled that the leniency displayed in the trial and sentencing back in 2012 must be justified, according to court documents. The Somerset County Prosecutor's Office said Locane-Bovenizer's ruling sent a "bewildering message" about the penalties for drunk driving, People.com reports.
"The trial judge did not identify compelling reasons to downgrade (the) defendant's second degree offense, other than the harm (the) defendant's children were likely to experience as a result of her incarceration," the appellate judges wrote in court documents first submitted in February.
"He also found that defendant no longer posed a risk to the public, but neither the rationale for the conclusion nor the record support for it were fully stated."
A new hearing date has not yet been set.
During her 2012 trial, Locane-Bovenizer's attorney attempted to shift the the blame for the crash on a third driver, Maureen Ruckelshaus, whose car the actress had rear-ended earlier. She said during the initial trial and she had been pursuing the actress to get her to stop driving.
Locane-Bovenizer's legal team never disputed that she was drunk, but said she should not be held criminally responsible for her actions.
"This is a sad day for the Seeman Family," assistant prosecutor Matthew Murphy told the Associated Press following the inital verdict. "There were no winners declared by the verdict. There are only losers. A husband lost his dear wife; his two children lost their mother; and Helene's mother lost her daughter. That loss can never be rectified by a verdict."
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