The bus monitor from upstate New York, who was bullied by four seventh grade boys, says she is satisfied with the one-year suspension they received as punishment for their actions. Is this just punishment?
Retired Superior Court Judge of California Eugene Hyman says that as the punishment goes, there are still a lot of unknowns in the case. It is not clear if these boys have had prior problems and as juvenilles, this information would not be released. He would want to know what their psychological profile is and would hope that the school, in viewing the video, would have them evaluated by the school psychologist. He would also like to know what their home life is like.
Judge Hyman feels that being removed from their home school for an entire year and receiving 50 hours of community service is a severe consequence, which, in certain cases is merited, but that is also not to say that there shouldn't be some accountability. If they were being criminally prosecuted, under California law, one of the burdens of the prosecutor is to prove what they did is illegal. An average 14-year-old knows what they engaged in is wrong but it goes to show that how you set up the system, that the presumption for someone under the age of 14 is that they are not responsible for their conduct. Judge Hyman says this needs to be put into perspective, however, as these boys are young and foolish and again, he would need to know more about them.
Had this video not been publically viewed online, Judge Hyman feels they would not be punished as harshly. "When cases become public, they take on a life of their own and a result, there is a cry for very serious retribution and this needs to be tempered with due consideration to all of the factors that are part of a case."
Honorable Judge Eugene Hyman has received numerous awards and recognition for his work with families and children and has appeared on numerous television news shows. For more information, visit www.judgehyman.com. He is also a featured commentator on The Family Law Channel and The Legal Broadcast Network.