Monday, May 21, 2007

Your opinions sought

Yesterday morning on Fox & Friends, Peter "Zebbler" Berdovsky and a legal analyst from NYC were asked if "the punishment fit the crime".

Since there was NO crime and NO punishment, I won't ask that question; but, rather whether, considering what happened (as summarized below), you think the resolution was fair:

- You remember the traffic delays and concern when the media called what was going on in and around Boston on January 31, 2007, a "bomb scare" or "terror alert".

- Berdovsky and Sean Stevens were arrested that night, charged with a felony and a misdemeanor, held overnight and released from Charlestown District Court on bail the following morning.

- Their families were required to tie up $5000 bail for 2 1/2 months while the defendants' charges were pending.

- The costs of the public safety operations were estimated at $1.2 million.

- Turner Broadcasting (parent company of the Cartoon Network, which hired Interference Inc., which in turn hired Berdovsky & Stevens) apologized and paid $2 million to the Cities of Boston, Cambridge, Somerville & Charlestown and to the MBTA Police.

- Since Berdovsky and Stevens did not have "intent to cause anxiety, unrest, fear or personal discomfort to any person or group of persons" ( and since there was a recognized, legitimate purpose, protected by the First Amendment, in the actions they took, they should not have been able to be found guilty of the charges brought.

- Berdovsky performed 80 hours of community service and Stevens performed 60 hours at the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital (with excellent reports from SRH of their work and commitment there).

- They both apologized for the fear, confusion and inconvenience that the ad campaign caused here but that they did not foresee and could not have anticipated.

- On May 11, 2007, the Attorney General nolle prosequied the charges, ending the case.

- She asserted that the resolution was better for all involved than would have been the result if they had proceeded to trial rather than the "Restorative Justice" (see disposition that was agreed upon.

So, was it a fair resolution?

Or, in Restorative Justice terms: Did it return the injured parties, the actors and the community to their positions before the harm and restore them to right relationship with each other?

[In future blog posts I will be relating the facts of children's and family law cases (mine and others) and seeking your opinions about the fairness of those resolutions.]


Anonymous said...

What responsibility was placed on Interference Co. that hired Sean and Peter? The two guys did serve their time with public service as their "punishment", and Turner paid two million to cover the costs...where is Interference in this matter. Arent they the ones who directed this project in the first place?

MLR said...

Good question.

Cartoon Network is a subsidiary of Turner Broadcasting. Cartoon Network hired Interference. Interference planned the campaign and hired Sean & Peter as well as the teams in the nine other cities.

We weren't included in the negotiations between Turner and the AG; so, I don't have any inside information on the answer to your first question, but it was reported in the press that not pursuing claims against Interference was part of the deal that got the $2 million from Turner. And Interference offered an apology as well.