Sentencing can send message

Matthew Cordle apparently is sincere in his remorse about killing a man in a drunken driving accident. The judge handling his case should ignore that entirely.

Cordle, 22, gained national attention after an accident in June near Columbus. He made a video confessing his guilt and circulated it on the Internet in early September. Then, he pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide, sparing the court and taxpayers the cost of a drawn-out proceeding.

Now Cordle’s attorneys are urging a Franklin County judge to take his remorse and confession into account when deciding a sentence. They want the judge to give Cordle a relatively light sentence ”in order to send a message to other offenders and society that taking responsibility and trying to make something positive come from such a horrendous tragedy is an exemplary way to face such a tragic situation.”

Yes, it is. But Cordle should be sentenced to the maximum prison time allowable, eight years and six months.

Otherwise, the judge will indeed send a message – that if you get drunk and cause a fatal accident, then decide the police have an airtight case against you, the way to avoid a long prison term is to use the Cordle strategy.

Rest assured, some people who drink and drive will think about that – and it may embolden them to continue their hazardous behavior.

Cordle made a deadly mistake. Now, he should pay dearly for it. That is the message the Franklin County judge should be sending to Ohioans.