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  #1  
Old 24 October 2017, 11:36 AM
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No Rock dropped from overpass kills driver; teens charged with murder

Five teenagers accused of throwing rocks from a Michigan highway overpass were charged with second-degree murder Monday in the death of a man killed when one of them smashed the windshield of a van in which he was riding.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/flint-m...interstate-75/
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  #2  
Old 24 October 2017, 02:23 PM
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The article makes it sound as if they callously went to McDonald's after killing a man; I wonder whether they even knew he was dead at that point.

I do think the authorities were right to charge them, even if I don't think they were necessarily as callous as the article makes them appear.

Seaboe
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  #3  
Old 24 October 2017, 07:38 PM
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Well, they had to have seen the resulting wreck from their efforts, so there was some degree of callousness there.
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Old 24 October 2017, 08:55 PM
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I don't think there was any wreck. The driver of the van White was riding in was able to pull over after the rock smashed through the windshield. And the other vehicles damaged from the rock throwing were described as disabled on the side of the road with most of them having tire damage. While it was certainly a very dangerous act done with no regard for others, I don't know that we can say with any certainty that they had any clue that someone had been killed.
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  #5  
Old 25 October 2017, 01:54 PM
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I agree that they might not - probably didn't - know that someone had been killed, but it amazes me that they didn't realize someone could get killed (or didn't care if it happened).
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  #6  
Old 25 October 2017, 02:00 PM
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Judge Teens accused of throwing rocks on highway charged with murder

Five high school students in Michigan are accused of throwing rocks off an overpass and killing a man.

Kenneth White, a 32-year-old father of four, was riding home last week when a rock hit and killed him. The five suspects are 15 to 17 years old. They are all charged with second-degree murder.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/five-mi...ks-on-highway/
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  #7  
Old 25 October 2017, 02:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChasFink View Post
I agree that they might not - probably didn't - know that someone had been killed, but it amazes me that they didn't realize someone could get killed (or didn't care if it happened).
This. Even if they didn't realize the rock itself might kill someone directly, it seems really implausible to me that they didn't realize that they might cause a serious accident due to someone losing control of a car.

I don't know that they should be tried as adults. But they should certainly be tried. Whether the proper charge is murder or manslaughter I suppose depends on how the laws in that state are written.
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  #8  
Old 25 October 2017, 03:30 PM
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I'm fine with trying them as adults, and I'm fine with it being murder. They took the time to round up rocks to go to the overpass and throw them at cars. They are also old enough to understand the speed at which cars drive on the highway, and to understand the results of a collision at that speed.

This same thing is a plot point in the Repairman Jack books. Jack left society and became Repairman Jack because his mother was killed when a guy threw a cinder block off an overpass and it hit the car they were all driving in.
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  #9  
Old 25 October 2017, 03:39 PM
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With regards to them having to know that there could have been injuries, the one that killed While wasn't the first rock they dropped (and possibly, even worse, wasn't the last). Police found a total of 20 rocks, including one that weighed 20 lbs on the freeway. Even leaving out the speed of the vehicles, a 20 pound rock dropped 20 feet or more is likely to cause injuries at minimum if it hits someone. IMO, what they were did would be the same as setting fire to what they thought were abandoned houses and having one of those fires killing someone who was sleeping in one of those houses.
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  #10  
Old 25 October 2017, 03:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
This. Even if they didn't realize the rock itself might kill someone directly, it seems really implausible to me that they didn't realize that they might cause a serious accident due to someone losing control of a car.

I don't know that they should be tried as adults. But they should certainly be tried. Whether the proper charge is murder or manslaughter I suppose depends on how the laws in that state are written.
Quote:
Probate Code Section 712A.4
(1) If a juvenile 14 years of age or older is accused of an act that if committed by an adult would be a felony, the judge of the family division of circuit court in the county in which the offense is alleged to have been committed may waive jurisdiction under this section upon motion of the prosecuting attorney. After waiver, the juvenile may be tried in the court having general criminal jurisdiction of the offense.
Waiver of jurisdiction when child of 14 or older accused of felony.

Quote:
Another type of second-degree murder are killings that are the result of a “depraved indifference to human life.” While different jurisdictions have different definitions for depraved indifference, it generally means that the perpetrator showed an utter disregard for the potential for injury or death in his or her actions.
Michigan Second-Degree Murder Law

I suspect that a deal will be offered to 'plead down' with full cooperation in getting the full story told. After all, the rock was probably not thrown by all 5 suspects. The one who threw the rock that took the life, if identified, will take the harshest penalty. The others will be sentenced, but it will probably be based on what actions they participated in.
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  #11  
Old 25 October 2017, 08:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GenYus234 View Post
IMO, what they were did would be the same as setting fire to what they thought were abandoned houses and having one of those fires killing someone who was sleeping in one of those houses.
It's a lot worse than that, to my mind. They surely didn't think the cars were driving themselves... (Or maybe they did? How liable is Elon Musk in all this?)

Having said that, I agree with thorny locust about the jurisdiction. It's odd to me how often young people get "tried as adults" because what they did is "so serious". If there's a point to trying young people differently from adults in the first place, surely it's to do with general principles about knowledge, development, experience and so on that apply no matter what it is they've done? I can see waiving it based on the individual (potentially) but surely not based on the crime?
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  #12  
Old 26 October 2017, 02:31 AM
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The latest article I read identified which one of the five supposedly dropped the rock that killed the victim.
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  #13  
Old 26 October 2017, 06:41 AM
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The way I look at it is, 16 is the driving age in your country isn't it? (it is 17 here). At 16 you are considered mature enough to get behind the wheel and understand the responsibly and dangerous of having control of a car. If you are considered old enough for that responsibly of that, you are old enough to understand the effects of throwing rocks of an overpass.

I think at 15 you would also be old enough but let just go with the driving age to give them the benefit of the doubt, but I feel I am being generous.
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  #14  
Old 26 October 2017, 10:59 AM
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I'm with thorny locust and Richard W. If you have an age of responsibility in the criminal code, it should apply all the time.

In Germany, the law says that under the age of 14, you can't be held criminally responsible for your actions. From age 14 to 17, you are tried under the juvenil criminal code, which has different sanctions and mainly takes a rehabilitative and corrective stand rather than a mainly punitive one. From the age of 18 (where you legally become an adult) to 20, you can be tried either under juvenil or under adult law - the decision is with the prosecution and the judge. From the age of 21, you are tried as an adult.

So, the German law has a "trasition period", but it also has a legal lower limit for punishmant as an adult, which is the legal age. A minor can under no circumstances be "tried as an adult".
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  #15  
Old 26 October 2017, 01:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dasla View Post
The way I look at it is, 16 is the driving age in your country isn't it? (it is 17 here).
In case anyone in the rest of the world was wondering, the driving age in the US varies by state. It can be as low as 14 (for learner's permits or "hardship" licenses in some states) or as high as 17. It is 16 in many states.
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  #16  
Old 26 October 2017, 02:21 PM
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Some states have progressive licensing for drivers under 18, which complicates things a bit by placing restrictions on licenses issued to minors (e.g., no driving after dark, no driving with more than two passengers, etc.).
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  #17  
Old 26 October 2017, 04:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Enrico View Post
In Germany, the law says that under the age of 14, you can't be held criminally responsible for your actions. From age 14 to 17, you are tried under the juvenil criminal code, which has different sanctions and mainly takes a rehabilitative and corrective stand rather than a mainly punitive one.
It seems this is for any responsibility, including one's own safety. In addition to other rules, it is strictly prohibited for someone under 14 to be in the factory.

I remember being a similar age and considering, with friends, to drop snowballs off of an overpass with a driving speed of 25 mph. Since we were so young, we didn't have a clue about having to drop the snowball before the car arrived, plus there was little traffic due to the snow on the road so we quickly got bored. We never thought about dropping rocks or whether the snow would impair the driver's visibility. Rocks hurt. Snow, not so much, especially the wet stuff we had.

They should have had a clue.

[For some reason I am now paranoid about my grammar. I probably should be. Oh well.]
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