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Driver Who Killed Cyclist Can't Text for 2 Years

Judge says owning a phone is a 'privilege,' not a right
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 5, 2015 2:00 PM CDT
Driver Who Killed Cyclist Can't Text for 2 Years
Jordan Byelich, right, husband of killed bicyclist Jill Byelich, hugs Mitzi Nelson in court before she is taken to jail.   (Rod Sanford /Lansing State Journal via AP)

(Newser) – In sentencing a driver who fatally struck a bicyclist, a Michigan judge doled out some typical punishments: two years of probation, community service, 90 days in jail. But he added an unusual one, reports the Lansing State Journal: no cell phone during the probation. And that's not just while Mitzi Nelson is driving, either—it's no cell phone, period, over the two years. Nelson was texting when she hit her victim, a mother of two, reports WILX.

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"I don't think she has a right to have a cell phone," said Judge Stewart McDonald. "I think it's a privilege." While McDonald admitted that his authority to impose such a rule might be vulnerable to a challenge, it seems that Nelson, 23, won't try to mount one. "Mitzi may be just fine with that," says her attorney. (Read more cell phones stories.)

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