Saturday, January 05, 2008

Nobody's Talkin'

by Annette Dashofy

A while back, I wrote a post about an old high school chum who shot a kid in the back. The kid and his buddy had been trying to rob him and had beaten him with a baseball bat. The second kid fled the scene.

In the days and weeks that followed, the second kid was caught. Both boys (aged 15) were charged as adults with aggravated assault, conspiracy to commit aggravated assault, robbery, having a prohibited offensive weapon, loitering, terroristic threats, reckless endangerment, disorderly conduct, and prowling at night.

The fellow who was being robbed and who took the law into his own hands after being intimidated by these young men on more than one occasion was charged with attempted homicide, aggravated assault and reckless endangerment.

Reaction to the situation was mixed. Many, myself included, felt empathy for the guy. I wondered what a jury would do with the case.

Turns out we’ll never know. This past week, all charges were dropped against all three. They all refused to testify against each other, invoking their Fifth Amendment rights.

On the one hand, my old friend has avoided a criminal record. His attorney feels the kids learned their lesson, stating, “One of the boys lost a kidney.” The arresting officer in the case disagrees. He feels the kids will face no consequences for their actions.

So the case is closed.

Or is it?

Washington County has a new District Attorney now and there is talk of refiling charges.

What do you think? Was justice served in this case by dropping the charges? Or should further legal action be taken and charges refiled?


Tory said...

I'd say justice was served. Let it stay closed!

Annette said...

Tory, that was my first reaction, too. But it's the arresting officer who wants the charges on the kids refiled. There was no mention of refiling the charges against the shooter. I have to wonder, since the arresting officer is a local cop who (one would assume) knows the kids involved and HE feels they haven't faced sufficient consequences for their actions, perhaps he knows something we don't. Did those boys really learn their lesson? Or did they simply learn that they can get away with being delinquents? Will they now stay on the straight and narrow? Or will we soon hear about them being in trouble again with the law?

Gina said...

I don't know. Being shot and losing a kidney (or having that happen to a friend) sound like more severe punishment than the juvenile justice system is likely to impose. I understand the cop's position, though - people should have to answer for their crimes in court, or else the chaos of vigilante justice may become the preferred method for dealing with societal problems. So there's two things to look at here -- how letting it go will affect the three people involved, and what other idiots will make of this outcome when they decide to take up robbery or shooting robbers, expecting not to be prosecuted.