Social media usually will get a foul rap.
Cyberbullying and harmful developments hurt youngsters, and predators generally goal probably the most weak: those that are lonely, friendless, and determined for consideration.
Law & Order Season 19 Episode 12 featured one such predator, however he wasn’t a pedophile; he was a grasping enterprise proprietor who needed to govern youngsters into doing harmful stunts to line his pockets. It was completely different, however was it reasonable?
At least one a part of this story was true to life. Teenagers have suffered extreme accidents and even died doing “challenges” on social media, comparable to consuming Tide Pods or placing pennies in electrical sockets.
Price: I’ve executed the authorized evaluation. Max Brewer is chargeable for the loss of life of Eli Baron.
Maroun: I agree. But so is Jason Wheeler.
Price: In what approach?
Maroun: Max’s dad and mom stay in Florida. They’ve handed their teen over to this social media supervisor who exerts super affect over him.
Price: Sounds like unhealthy parenting. Doesn’t make any of them responsible for murder.
This story capitalized on that headline by making a predatory social media supervisor who did what some dad and mom or managers of kid stars have all the time executed: took many of the earnings whereas doing not one of the work. In Wheeler’s case, the youngsters needed to carry out harmful stunts to stay within the “content house.”
That appeared farfetched. Supposedly, the youngsters all got here from unhealthy conditions, which is why it was really easy to prey on them. But it appeared unlikely that every one of those kids’s dad and mom could be as negligent as Max’s mom and stepfather.
It would have made extra sense if lots of the youngsters had emancipated themselves. Wheeler may have even manipulated them into doing it.
The primary thought was strong, even when it may have used some tweaking.
There are predators in Social Media Land, and so they prey on weak youngsters. So Wheeler may need satisfied youngsters to signal contracts that they did not know had been invalid and threatened to sue them in the event that they did not do what he needed.
It appeared just like the DA’s workplace may have charged Wheeler with an terrible lot aside from manslaughter. If he is the authorized guardian of all these youngsters, he was an abusive and neglectful one.
And did not Eli die as a result of Wheeler and Max satisfied him to commit a felony? Influencing a toddler to commit crimes is in opposition to the regulation too.
Ironically, Eli’s final act earlier than the one which bought him killed was to observe a scene from Catcher within the Rye as a result of Wheeler was a modern-day Fagin and the youngsters in his care had been like Oliver Twist and the opposite orphans-turned-pickpockets!
The police facet of issues was strong for as soon as. The cops led a simple investigation and uncovered the reality pretty shortly.
The trial facet was a large number and an annoying one at that!
The decide saved taking the unscrupulous protection legal professional’s facet with out an precise authorized foundation to take action — did Wheeler additionally pay her off?
The legal professional’s declare that Max was an “agent of the government” and that he did not have the fitting to show over a video on his cellphone as a result of Wheeler purchased him the cellphone was a stretch, and the video should not have been excluded.
As for the bribery and associated issues, even when the protection legal professional was appropriate that there was no bribe, there was nonetheless the truth that she advised Max’s dad and mom that Max didn’t need to adjust to a subpoena and they need to take him out of state. That’s witness tampering, interval.
Price ought to have been ready for this chance. Wheeler’s legal professional had no morals in anyway, and Wheeler had already manipulated Max into committing the crime within the first place, so why would not he attempt to affect Max out of testifying?
Price’s resolution to dismiss after which un-dismiss the costs in opposition to Max made him seem like a flip-flopper, which is able to harm any case in opposition to Max.
Now that Wheeler’s doing ten years for manslaughter, it does not matter as a lot. Still, this was a foul transfer on Price’s half, and McCoy ought to have raked him over the coals for it.
In addition, how did the DA’s workplace not know Virgil had a previous relationship with Eli earlier than the protection legal professional introduced it up?
The decide should not have allowed this specious and prejudicial argument, however the DA’s workplace ought to have ready higher for it. At the very least, they need to have researched what the protection legal professional was more likely to ask on the stand and ready accordingly.
The hardest a part of this case should not have been discovering witnesses to how Wheeler handled the youngsters in his care. All the prosecution wanted to do was present the varieties of stunts Wheeler’s youngsters recurrently did and the information experiences about different youngsters following the pattern.
The solely legit argument the protection had was that Eli freely selected to kick in that door.
Fourteen is sufficiently old to know that you do not play that sort of prank, and the protection may need bought away with the argument that Wheeler was being blamed for a silly resolution made by a boy who didn’t stay within the content material home.
Plus, Eli may have averted the tragic consequence if he had advised Virgil, who he had a relationship with, that he was going to do that prank in order that Virgil performed alongside as an alternative of pondering he was getting robbed and capturing Eli.
That doesn’t suggest Wheeler wasn’t culpable for forcing the youngsters in his care to do harmful issues, however the protection MIGHT have had a case that Eli’s deadly mistake had nothing to do with Wheeler since he wasn’t a kind of youngsters.
This may have led to a compelling query: who’s chargeable for the loss of life of a child in this sort of scenario, and does the kid himself share any of the blame? But as an alternative, Law & Order went in a special path with this story, in order that query did not get requested.
What did you suppose, Law & Order fanatics? Did the DA’s workplace make its case?
Hit the large, blue SHOW COMMENTS button and tell us your ideas! And do not forget you possibly can watch Law & Order online if you wish to see the episode once more.
Law & Order airs on NBC on Thursdays at 8 PM EST / PST.
Jack Ori is a senior workers author for TV Fanatic. His debut younger grownup novel, Reinventing Hannah, is out there on Amazon. Follow him on Twitter.