Prudence And Prosecutors

Radley Balko wishes they'd demonstrate it more often. Here are the facts surrounding the latest case he is writing about:

Evan Daniel Emory, 21, got permission from Beachnau Elementary School officials in Michigan to record himself singing the song “Lunch Lady Land” in front of a class of first graders, but under the false pretense that he wanted to use the video as part of his application to a school of education. Emory was actually planning a comedy bit. He later dubbed in sexually profane lyrics and posted the video to YouTube, making it look as if he had sang the dirty lyrics directly to the children.

And then all hell broke lose in Ravenna, Michigan.

He's been arrested and charged with a felony that could put him into prison for 20 years. Here's what Balko wishes the prosecutor would've said instead:

Look, I know a lot of people are upset. But the video has been taken down, and the actual damage done to the kids is minimal. They didn’t actually hear the sexually suggestive lyrics. Any time you have a story about sex, children, and the Internet, there’s going to be a tendency for some people to overreact. Mr. Emory showed incredibly poor judgment here, and I hope he has learned his lesson. But my job is to fairly apply the law, and I simply don’t think it would be in the interest of justice to charge Mr. Emory with a crime just to register our moral outrage at his prank.

That does seem like the more prudent approach.