Saturday, March 3

Gang of girls beats another to death in a school bathroom; court overturns her conviction

For decades there's been a legal principle in the U.S. that if you undertake an illegal act--say, robbing a bank--and someone is killed, every member of the lawbreaking crew is charged with murder.

You may think that's a bad principle, but the fact is that until last week it had been a legal principle for basically ever.

So when a gang of girls beat another girl to death in a highschool bathroom in Delaware in 2016 (and recorded the attack on a cell phone), then according to this longstanding legal principle every girl who took part should reasonably have been charged with murder.  And the main attacker was indeed charged with "criminally negligent homicide," and convicted.

Her attorney appealed, and last week the supreme court of Delaware overturned that verdict, on the grounds that the victim died from a heart condition while being beaten in the school bathroom.

On Thursday, Delaware’s Supreme Court found that the 17-year-old attacker could not have acted with criminal negligence or, even if she did, it would be unjust to blame her for the victim's death, since it was unforeseeable that beating her would lead to her death, since the attackers didn't know about her heart condition.

An autopsy showed that the victim's heart failure was triggered by stress from the fight.

How...interesting.  Even if the attacker didn't intend to kill her victim, and didn't know the victim had a heart condition, the attack was clearly a criminal act.  And heretofore the legal principle has been that if, when committing a crime, you cause death or damage, the perp has always been charged with the more serious crime.  If that wasn't the case, an attacker could set out to beat someone to death, then escape a murder charge by saying they didn't intend to kill the victim.

The same thing would apply to shooting someone fatally.  "I wasn't shooting to kill."  Should the courts accept that as a good excuse?  At the very least, the conviction for criminally negligent homicide should stand.

How in the hell can the judges on Delaware's supreme court not convict the attacker of criminally negligent homicide?

Wonder if the decision had anything to do with the race of the attackers?  (Guess.)

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