Civil action separate from criminal courts
To the Editor,
Re: Parents shouldn’t be sued for kids’ actions, Letters, March 1.
So Holden Southward, in putting so much stock in mens rea (or, rather, the absence of mens rea – Plato’s Apology, anyone?), would have us believe that injuries can only happen when a criminal statute is proven to have been offended?
And that any professed third party suffering at the hands of a juvenile must rightly be appeased by the notion of ‘tough tittie’ whenever the Crown is unable to convict a juvenile of a criminal act (the Crown being unable to speak to issues of third party injuries in the absence of the sentencing phase)?
No criminal conviction, no civil injury? [I’m sure we’re all, still (as faded as the memory may be), aware of at least one, now infamous, former professional athlete who would fully endorse that idea.]
Hence, that tort law, with its ‘preponderance of evidence’, when juveniles are involved, be rendered an “amusingly” quaint bit of the legal antiquity? For who needs out-dated thinking like that of the common law’s ‘parental responsibilities’ when the federal Crown could so easily extend its uber-parental embrace to tend to yet another of our needs?
But what an interesting legal purgatory, this supposed utopia wherein restitution for injury is held to the higher, criminal standard of proof, the willingness of the Crown to prosecute, and the momentary pique of a presiding justice? Yes, no?
I wonder what thoughts Henry de Bracton might have had to offer us, if only we had an interest.
David S. Dunaway