To charge minor children as being legally responsible for a suicide, given the near impossibility of proving proximate cause even in the case of adults, was aberrant enough. But in a country where law enforcement and media protect adult women claiming to have been raped on consensual dates, one would think that a minor child’s identity is safe. But not if Sheriff Judd is calling the shots. Polk County voters may not forget this incident if and when he next seeks re-election.
No sane adult favors suicide or schoolyard bullying, even if some liberals support the assisted-version of the former for adults and opposition to the latter as a vehicle for a radical gay rights agenda.
But how are we to characterize the actions of Polk County, Florida Sheriff Grady Judd’s public identification of girls aged 12 and 14 that he criminally charged with aggravated stalking as the cause of a 12-year old schoolmate’s suicide, but as an adult version or bullying?
Many states have laws prohibiting the government from releasing the identity of child rape victims, but maybe that prohibition needs to be extended to minor defendants as well, even if charged with an adult crime until they are convicted of a crime or at least not before they are indicted by a grand jury.
Judd’s actions smacked of yet another example of what Phillip K. Howard described in his seminal 1995 book, The Death of Common Sense, in which too many laws are suffocating America. Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed thanks in large part to Casey Anthony’s celebrated lawyer, Jose Baez, who recently got the charges dropped against the two minor children: