Sunday, March 11, 2007


The two youths charged in the Yale Baker’s Dozen beating case are discovering that simply being arrested and charged with a crime is hugely painful. It’s life-disrupting. It’s future-affecting. Readers of the recent Chronicle story would be hard pressed not to feel sorry for these two kids. Quote:

On Thursday, Frank Passaglia, Aicardi's attorney, and Tony Brass, Dwyer's attorney, told The Chronicle that their clients' lives have been tossed upside down by the New Year's Eve foray and the media attention that flowed from it.

Richard Aicardi, the 19 year old accused instigator, is famously quoted for bragging, on the night of the incident, “I’m twenty deep.” This meant that he had twenty buddies on their way to help him fight.

The video of young Aidardi surrendering for booking shows him, not twenty-deep, but accompanied only by his father.

This is the seed of what should happen next.

The best outcome from the criminal proceedings, from the point of view of people who want to walk the streets of San Francisco without getting beaten up, is that all the attackers be convicted of violent crimes.

Another quote from the Chronicle sob story:

Now Dwyer finds himself in the difficult position of being "someone who has been a law-abiding kid his whole life and now all of a sudden he faces charges that could send him to state prison,'' Brass said.

Never in trouble before, Dwyer is depressed, sleeps a lot and has little appetite, his lawyer said.

Massive punishment for Aicardi and Dwyer might or might not deter future violence from the other attackers, those of the “twenty deep” who haven’t been charged. Better for all of us would be for all the attackers plead guilty of misdemeanor battery or something like that, do some community service, and go and sin no more.

That way, if any of the attackers should strike again, they couldn’t claim “first offense.”

So how do we get them all to plead guilty? By threatening Aicardi and Dwyer with vigorous prosecution and serious state prison time. Then offer to bargain down to a misdemeanor if they testify against the other attackers.

At the same time, the D.A. Harris could let it be known that if the other attackers surrendered, they could plead guilty to misdemeanors.

It would be malpractice for the D.A. not to exploit this loyalty dilemma. Aicardi and Dwyer feel loyalty to the twenty-deepers. But how much loyalty do the twenty-deepers show by letting Aicardi and Dwyer take the entire fall?

It’s a real grown-up problem.

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