District attorney faces unique challenges in prosecuting teens
Litigation Partner Daniel Small was quoted in a Boston Globe article titled, "District attorney faces unique challenges in prosecuting teens."
The article discusses the unusual stand taken by a Massachusetts district attorney seeking criminal charges against nine students whose bullying allegedly led to the suicide of a teen girl. With no statute criminalizing school bullying, Northwestern District Attorney Elizabeth Scheibel must rely on a series of laws rarely used in such cases. Although Ms. Scheibel appears to have enough probable cause to charge the teens, some lawyers question whether legislators, not prosecutors, should determine if the kind of behavior alleged by authorities is criminal. "We're not talking about whether these kids should be punished in some normal fashion or be thrown out of school. We're talking about whether they should have criminal records or possibly go to jail," said Mr. Small, a former federal prosecutor. "The criminal law is a sledgehammer, not a scalpel, and you're dealing with very tough social issues with a very blunt instrument."