Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Rush to judgement

UPDATE: Wednesday morning

So Izzy Lyman, my conservative cohort and former (Happy) Valley Girl--also known on the Masslive Amherst Forum as 'Icky' Lyman--just jumped in with her take on the sad Phoebe Prince affair.

The Castillo Chronicles




ORIGINAL POST Monday morning
Why is it Northwestern District Attorney Elizabeth Scheibel took so long to issue her findings of no-fault in the tragic death of two-year-old Abraham Espinoza under the wheel of an Amherst school bus?

Even with two accident reconstruction police reports (Amherst PD and State Police) completed in May both declaring the event a tragic accident, her final report did not come out until early September--almost a full year after the horrific event.

In the equally tragic troubling case of Phoebe Prince a young girl who committed suicide, the DA after a lightening like two month investigation brings criminal charges against nine youths, some of them--"stalking" or "Statutory rape"--quite serious.

Actually, considering the overwhelming public interest in this case, any charges rendered by the DA are serious. Like for instance, "disturbing a school assembly."

Six months ago, when I published my complaint about the length of time taken on the Espinoza case, my friend the Grumpy Prosecutor replied: "A terrible fact of life is that tragic things happen, but they do not always involve criminal conduct. Not every tragic death can be vindicated in a court of law. But this case, and all the people concerned about it, deserved a thorough review, and the amount of time involved is one indication that that happened here."

And in a follow up comment: "The point is that we need the folks who are bringing criminal charges to be careful about it. Because, guilty or not, the person being charged is going to be very miserable. You remember being publicly accused of engaging in "stalking" and how that felt, don't you, Larry?"


All too well, all too well indeed.

Yeah, even the venerable Washington Post gets it

Justice delayed

Yeah, this is what I'm talkin about

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

You answered your own question. An accident is a lower priority than a criminal act, such as bullying that led to suicide.

Alisa V. Brewer said...

Re: Like for instance, "disturbing a school assembly." & in today's Gazette: "...and the disturbance at the school assembly were unclear"

As I just noted over at the Gazette site:

Just FYI, there did not have to be a disturbance at a "school assembly" in the sense most of us think of "school assemblies" -- the law is about lawful assemblies of groups of people, with school being one of the lawful assemblies of people.

http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/mgl/272-40.htm

PART IV. CRIMES, PUNISHMENTS AND PROCEEDINGSIN CRIMINAL CASES

TITLE I. CRIMES AND PUNISHMENTS

CHAPTER 272. CRIMES AGAINST CHASTITY, MORALITY, DECENCY AND GOOD ORDER

Chapter 272: Section 40. Disturbance of schools or assemblies
Section 40. Whoever wilfully interrupts or disturbs a school or other assembly of people met for a lawful purpose shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than one month or by a fine of not more than fifty dollars; provided, however, that whoever, within one year after being twice convicted of a violation of this section, again violates the provisions of this section shall be punished by imprisonment for one month, and the sentence imposing such imprisonment shall not be suspended.

Weird, huh? Just one of the fascinating quirks I picked up as a School Committee member 2002-2007:-) when I was wondering about newspaper coverage/police/court log fight at the high school that had that phrase attached to it, when in that case (no idea of the Prince case, of course) in fact the fight was in a hallway and had nothing to do with what most of us think of as an "assembly."

LarryK4 said...

Thanks Alisa,

That makes, ummm, sense--I guess.

You know me, I'm still remembering the incident on the floor of Town Meeting 15 or so years ago when Moderator Francesca Maltese sicked the aging constable (Mr. Atkins) on me because I was going a moment or two over my allotted time (on Cherry Hill naturally).

I'm sure if he arrested me the charge would have been "disturbing an assembly."

Ed said...

Larry -- disturbing a school assembly is all the foolishness that goes on at UMass. Which is illegal.

I am so glad that the spoilt brat schmucks who murdered that girl are going to be held accountable (now how about the faculty) and why does it have to take a death for this to happen?

LarryK4 said...

Yeah Ed, I guess that is my point.

Nine "Juvies" take the fall. but all the highly paid bureaucrats (old enough to know better) get off scot-free.

Anonymous said...

They are not taking the fall. They are the ones that did it! You can blame others for not intervening but don't make out like they took the fall for someone else. Poor choice of words on your part.

LarryK4 said...

No, not really.

Poor choice on the the District Attorney's part.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry that my earlier words were brought into a discussion of the South Hadley situation.

Although I am opinionated, I have no opinion about the prosecution here, because, like everyone else, I know nothing about it but what I read in the papers.

I am also sorry that the discussion is not pointing in a different, more constructive direction. I think we best honor the memory of this young woman by asking ourselves here in Amherst: do we have mechanisms of communication in place in both our public and charter schools for teachers and parents to address actual and potential bullying situations before they result in some sort of tragedy?

I don't know the answer to that, but I'm sure others do.

Rich Morse

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, that too is a good question.

(Just don't be so sure other have the right answer.)

Ed said...

Whatever happened to Chapter 51A in all of this. Aren't you supposed to call DSS if you see children at risk?

The girl was murdered. I want to see people in jail for it....

Anonymous said...

I have a different take on this whole matter of bullying. You see from the time I went to public school in Pittsfield from 1952 to 1966 teasing and bullying was standard behavior for kids. This also occurred at parochial school and private schools in the area. This was usually sorted out by the kids and friends at the playground. If things really got bad teachers and parents got involved. Words such as fat-so, pimple face, jerk, stupid, slow, nitwit,four eyes, geek were not uncommon. We always used the rhythm " sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me." Or a response maybe, "-uck off, piss off, go away etc. Unfortunately in the Prince case words did hurt her. However I don't think the government should regulate bullying. Is the state going to monitor this and other sites for the name calling that goes on here? Do we really want them involved in this? The problem with the Prince case is that if she was hurting inside this much someone should have noticed, either her friends, parents, teachers, administrators. The culprits should have been held accountable and the bullying should have ceased. Do we really want the government regulating decent behavior? Some teasing can be fun and constructive and occurs in every family I've witnessed. On the other hand who knows what kind of damage has been caused by family dynamics. Should the government regulate family dynamics? Just something to ponder.

LarryK4 said...

My NO-interest-like-self-interest concern is that one or both Cowardly Anon Nitwits who come here every day hoping for something to use to put me out of business will see this decision as the way.

Anonymous said...

No way Larry, you are our favorite bully. We love you. Even when you try to bully a school principal over your divine right to measure the hot water in the boys room.

LarryK4 said...

Oh, I think my 8-year-old could have made her way past him.

Anonymous said...

look, we have no problem freaking out over Catholic Priests having sex with the altarboys --- even though that was ignored for decades --- and I maintain that we will have similar suits against municipalities (under 46 USC 1983) in the coming decades.

I blame the feminists who have taken over education. They are every bit as corrupt as the Catholics were, and this too shall pass...

Jail For Gus, Jail For Gus!!!!

Anonymous said...

Gus interview on CNN Home Page- Says SH staff was unaware of the bullying...
"No one came forward..."