Hoping for the best

How does it work? There’s an obvious, open-and-shut case. A district attorney decides not to prosecute. Based on what? The law? I wonder.

A case struck me recently about a public school bus driver here who left a 5-year-old child on the bus all day.

The little girl sat right behind the bus driver, but never said, “Hey don’t forget me!” They say she was extremely shy, which makes that understandable, so the kid spent six hours sleeping and playing on the bus. And she’s JUST FINE!

Now, I do understand that the driver is responsible and should be punished. If this were her only questionable incident (prior issues have come to light), one might expect a job loss or at least a revocation of her bus driving privileges for a period of time.

In this case, though, the bus driver is being prosecuted for neglect of a dependent, which is a Class D Felony and could result in 6 years in prison. The school system is in an affluent suburb, but, it is still a public school system. There is nobody to rush to the driver’s defense. There is nobody with any power to sway the DA not to prosecute.

Yet, nobody died or was even seriously injured.

So how does a person understand a 2005 case in which an English teacher at an obscure private school in Georgia was not prosecuted for making inexcusable, blatantly neglectful, and fatal (two boys died) decisions while leading an outdoor excursion for the school?

Death. Permanent psychological injury to a dozen or so kids and their families. Prior issues came to light in this case as well. Still, no prosecution. No loss of job. Not even a legal demand to stop future excursions.

And, now, two years later, since there is no record or even a resume ding to prevent it, this teacher, with the judgment and conscience of a toddler, was able to seek out and land a job as the official Outdoor Coordinator with another obscure school in the middle of nowhere.

So, how to understand....

I can only gather that district attorneys pick and choose what they will spend their time and resources prosecuting based on both legal and non-legal reasons.

And that, because of the non-legal reasons, there will never be unambiguous justice throughout our legal system. It’s just the way it is and has been particularly since the beginning of cronyism, money and the law.

So, lucky are we bystanders and witnesses who just get to keep hoping for the best.