Overcharging in Overdrive

Here's a nice little potential injustice...

Michael Toter, a 16 year old kid is being charged and tried as an adult for reckless vehicular homicide. He faces 2-6 years in prison.

Now his might make some sense if there were drugs or alcohol involved, but in Toter's case, there weren't. The basis of the recklessness allegation is that he was speeding--9 miles over the limit in a 45 mile an hour zone, on his way back from school.

Let's be clear, there is some basis (though feeble) to prosecute Toter. The problem is that this sort of reckless crimes should be prosecuted in juvenile court where there is flexibility in sentencing not adult court where the result is a prison sentence for a decent kid who got into an accident.

As is the policy here at INDEFENSIBLE, you should know that District Attorney John Newsome is the guy responsible for this utterly foolish decision.

You can sign a petition addressing Newsome's decision



Tom McKenna said...

Take your meds and a deep breath and calm down, son.
"Newsome said prosecuting juveniles as adults provides a wider range of punishment options. A juvenile charged as an adult can be sentenced to a youth correctional facility instead of prison if a judge decides that's best, he said.

'The Colorado Legislature has decided that vehicular homicides are crimes that are appropriate for the adult system,' he said. 'Every case is a case-by-case decision.'"

If you read the article (there's a thought) you would find that, not surprisingly, kids in these types of cases typically seem to get no active jail time, and they can be sentenced to a juvenile facility at the judge's discretion.

Geez, talk about a rush to judgment: I know it fits in with your knee-jerk anti-establishment, "fight the man" warmed-over 60's radicalism, but you assume bad faith on the part of the prosecutor despite proof that most cases are in fact dealt with reasonably in the adult court system. Here's a news flash: someone died because of this kid's reckless actions; the wink and nod of the typical kiddie-court disposition would be totally inappropriate.

Anonymous said...

Simply charging the kid is bad faith on the part of the prosecutor and likely would never have happened 15 or 20 years ago. They act like the only way to show backbone is to over-react. How about showing some backbone by accepting that accidents happen and that the party at fault is not necessarily a criminal.

Anonymous said...

This is a ridiculous overreaction and I can't see any way to justify it. It would have been stupid to charge anyone with reckless homicide, adult or juvenile, where the fact establishes they were speeding 9 miles over the posted limit. The reason the shortsighted prosecutors charged him as an adult is the same reason given as why dogs licks themselves- because they can.

I'm so sick of criminalizing every tragedy to "send a lesson" and idiotic prosecutors who try to stretch fact patterns like this into crimes. Stop watching Law & Order and start thinking like a rational human being. It's a freaking accident perhaps caused by simple negligence at most. The Courts do not have to get involved everytime a tragedy strikes just so they can appear they are "doing justice."

I used to prosecute and saw moronic abuses like this all the time.

Anonymous said...

Tom, here's a "news flash" right back to you: You're a moron.

Remember the story of when Laura Bush plowed over somebody in her car when she was 16? Miss Laura ran a stop sign. Oops! Dead body.

I'll bet you don't think it was "totally inappriate" for Laura to escape many years in prison for that one. Since when does regular negligence (we've all done it, especially as a teenager) equal criminal negligence?

Anonymous said...

Speaking of "Take your meds and a deep breath and calm down, son," head on over to Tom's blog to see him hijack a death penalty case to get all hot and bothered over abortion. Tom somehow assumes that opposition to doctor's assisting with an execution is related to abortion, as though the entire medical establishment were in lock-step over ethics and engaged in some sort of ideological conspiracy. Apparently, these sorts of knee-jerk reactions are only objectionable to Tom when they come from the left. All hail the God-Prosecutor! http://confoundingthewicked.blogspot.com/
He also bemoans the end of firing squads, bitches about current Eigth Amendment jurisprudence and complains about "evolving standards of decency."