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Hullabaloo


Friday, November 28, 2008

 
Resolute Mules

by digby

Speaking of injustice, here's another story that makes my head hurt. From T Chris at Talk Left:

You may remember the case of Julie Amero, the teacher who allegedly exposed her seventh grade students to p*rn*graphy on a classroom PC. Amero's defense (not ably presented at her trial) was that she accessed no p*rn and that the computer was infected with malware that caused the p*rn sites to pop up faster than she could close them. Amero was nonetheless convicted of impairing the morals of a child and risking injury to a minor.

Before she was sentenced, with the assistance of a new lawyer and a host of new evidence, Amero persuaded the judge to give her a new trial. The case has been languishing for some time. Last week, because she "wasn't in condition to endure another trial," Amero entered a guilty plea to a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct and agreed to give up her teaching license. She was fined $100.

Amero's decision to put an end to her ordeal is understandable but unfortunate given the evidence of her innocence.

Read on for the details.

I recall sitting at my computer at work a few years ago and hitting a link to Paris Hilton and up popped about 35 successive links to porn sites and I couldn't get them all to close no matter how hard I tried. It went on for about a minute before I started laughing and pretty much gave up. It was a common computer problem at one time and I can see how if you were flustered in front of a bunch of kids you'd flounder around a bit before you figured out how to deal with it.

Apparently the prosecutors' case rested on the fact that she was criminally liable because she failed to immediately turn the computer off. They actually tried to put her in jail for it.

As T Chris says:

... imposing criminal liability on a relatively computer-illiterate teacher because she didn't think quickly enough is reprehensible. The result is a ruined life because the school system couldn't manage its IT competently and because prosecutors couldn't bring themselves to admit they made a mistake.


That last is a big problem. Most prosecutors are honest and exercise common sense in situations like this. But once they get dug in, or convince themselves that they will lose respect and authority if they admit they made a mistake, they just keep plowing ahead.

In fact, you could say the same thing about many in government. Even the highest offices in the land.





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