The less we consider actual criminal intent, and the more we let the passions of the mob dictate how we administer justice, the more we move towards a society ruled by the mob and not by laws. While this young man's suicide is a tragedy, and the other two students' actions are unquestionably insensitive and juvenile, it is nowhere near clear that bigotry is even involved, much less that these students deserve to go to jail on any charge.
The rush to judgment reaffirms why we need a strong legal system to protect the rights of the wrongfully accused, the truly innocent and the unpopular, whose rights and freedoms can easily be compromised and sacrificed in societies where mob rule predominates.
Eric Dixon is a New York small business lawyer who comments regularly on issues involving privacy rights, technology and government regulation. He is available for comment or consultation at 917-696-2442 and via e-mail at edixon@NYBusinessCounsel.com.