After-school Jobs, Bullying, & You:
A Cruel & Deadly Story

Dairy Queen Manager Charged w/ Manslaughter in Bullied Teen’s Suicide


In Missouri, the criminal courts are being used to send a message about bullying. An unfortunate case of bullying led to suicide, and the case surrounding that incident could change the way bullying is addressed in schools, workplaces, and criminal courts across the country.

Kenny Suttner was 17 when he died as a result of suicide in December 2016.  After an inquiry into his death, over 20 witnesses reported incidents of Kenny being bullied at school and while he worked at a local Dairy Queen.  The bullying incidents at work included Kenny being forced to lie on his stomach to clean under machines – a practice that wasn’t required of other employees at the location.

The school was found partly to blame, but it was Harley Branham who was Kenny’s manager at the Dairy Queen that ended up charged with involuntary manslaughter for her involvement in Kenny’s suicide.  She was the one who required him to clean the store differently from his coworkers.  Eventually, the charges were lowered and Ms. Branham pled guilty to third-degree assault.  As punishment, she was sentenced to two years of supervised probation and 30 days of house arrest.

Additional findings placed some of the responsibility for Kenny’s death with the school district for failing to act on Kenny being bullied at school.   The school district and Dairy Queen both reached agreements with Kenny’s family after the family sued.  The agreements are private (which is pretty standard, but could have involved agreements to change policies about bullying and expensive cash payments to Kenny’s family).

Some states – including Nevada – have laws making bullying a crime.  In this case, before they lowered the charges the prosecutors skipped those laws and went straight to charging Kenny’s manager at Dairy Queen with involuntary manslaughter – that means she didn’t mean to kill anyone, but she should have known her actions could result in someone’s injury or death.  Eventually, she faced ‘lesser’ charges of third-degree assault, meaning she attempted to harm someone (but not kill them).


1) Why do you think the manager should have faced or not faced involuntary manslaughter charges?

2) Why do you think the manager should have faced the charges she eventually pled guilty to of third-degree assault?

3) In Nevada, NRS 200.900 makes using a phone or computer to bully someone a crime.  A person under the age of 18 (a minor) can be prosecuted (charged and found guilty) as if they have committed a misdemeanor if they get caught.  That means they might face consequences of up to a $1,000 fine and six months in jail (in this case – since they’re minors – it would be juvenile detention which is a prison-like setting for people under the age of 18).  How do you feel about this kind of behavior (which is commonly called cyber-bullying) being treated as an adult crime among people under the age of 18 in your state?

Be sure to provide full explanations for your answers. For more details, you can read the article this piece was sourced from here:

Grand Theft Auto IRL…
featuring an 8-Year Old?!?


YouTube can teach people a lot of different things: cooking, gaming, music… even lock-picking!  If there’s a skill you would like to pickup, YouTube probably has a video about it!  Just because someone teaches you how to do something on YouTube, that doesn’t mean you should actually do it.

In Ohio, an 8-year-old boy (who is not identified by name due to his age) used YouTube to watch a video for people learning how to drive. After watching the video, he decided he was well prepared and decided to go out and try out his new skills. Unaware that he was doing something wrong, the rookie NASCAR driver invited his sister to tag along with him on a drive to McDonald’s.

Generally it is common knowledge that the legal age to drive is generally 16 years old throughout the United States.  Most people closer to that age know better and know not to get behind a wheel. However according to police, this little boy did not know any better, which led to his having a bit of an adventure in the driver’s seat of a car.

According to the boy’s statement, the parents had not been monitoring the situation, which iw what led to his being able to get ahold of their keys and bringing his little sister along for the joyride.

According to reports, the unnamed child-driver managed to steer the family car to a McDonald’s drive thru in search of a cheeseburger. When he arrived at the window, the employees were overcome with a combination of shock, laughter, and confusion as they saw a little boy driving a car with his little sister in the vehicle as well.

Police questioned the boy and had discovered his research into driving a car and that he did not know he was doing something wrong. Witnesses had even told the officers that the boy had driven  the 1.5 mile route perfectly and obeyed all traffic rules (well, except the fact that he was 8!).

Even though he lacked criminal intent and regardless of the fact that he drove the car well, the child still took his parents car without their knowledge.  As a result, he had placed his little sister and himself in grave danger.

Authorities have begun looking into violations relating to parenting and child protection laws. After all, how could two parents not notice their son take their keys, grab his sister, and then proceed to get in the car and drive away?  Although early reports did not point to child neglect, authorities planned to continue investigating to ensure they children are being raised in a safe


1: Whose fault is it? The boy who took the car? Or the parents who weren’t paying enough attention for him to be able to take it?

2: Had he been an adult without a license, should he have been arrested? Why or why not?

3: Should the boy have gone to juvenile hall and faced real consequences for choosing to break a rule? Why or why not?

4: If you broke a law that you didn’t know existed, should you still be charged normally or given a warning? Why or why not? 

Be sure to provide full explanations for each of your answers. For more details, you can read the article this piece was sourced from here::


Contributed by: Joseph Motta

Driverless Cars, Accidents, & You:
Who Gets Sued?!


(Pictured: You see kids, when two self-driving vehicles fall in love they make robot-babies…. and those robot-babies grow up to become our FUTURE ROBOT OVERLORDS. But hey, Tesla cars are cool!)

When someone breaks a law, they generally get in trouble – that’s just the way the world work. Systems of law have been managing the conduct of nations and their citizens as long as civilizations have been in place.  With the technology renaissance of the 21st century, a new form of life has been participating in society, and just like humans some of them have begun to break laws.  We are talking about – of course – robots.

In 2015, a self-driving car created by Google was operating in the area around the company’s headquarters.  The driverless vehicle had been on a road near ‘the company campus’ when it ended up getting pulled over – for going 10 miles an hour below the speed limit!  Basically, it had been violating traffic laws by holding up traffic without a good reason.

News outlets report that the officer after discovering that there was no one driving the car, contacted the operators responsible for programming the vehicle. The article also reports that several cars in the Google self-driving fleet have been in accidents, although none of them have been reported to be the self-driving car’s fault.  The incident comes on the heels of many people questioning the safety of self-driving vehicles.

For many years now, electric car manufacturer Tesla has touted its self-driving initiative and how much safer it is than actually driving.  Tesla’s critics are still skeptical of the company’s self-driving vehicles’ capacity to be safe at all, pointing to a National Transportation Safety Bureau (NTSB) investigation of a 2018 fatal accident that involved a self-driving Tesla.  In that incident, the car’s driver life being lost (instead of steering the car, the ‘driver’ had handed control over to the vehicle’s self-driving computer when the accident took place). The NTSB  report found that the Tesla vehicle had actually acted in a way meant to try the driver, however the vehicle still ended up crashing.   Many skeptics of self-driving vehicles point to that crash in particular as a reason that driverless cars and trucks should not be allowed on the roadways.

Instances like the fatal Tesla crash and the slow self-driving  Google car provide examples of a significant issue that goes beyond just general safety – one that will become more relevant as technology continues to evolve:

So, when a robot or AI commits a crime that puts humans or other lives in danger, who is responsible in a legal sense?

Technology has and will continue to develop at a rate that the law can’t keep up with. If there are robots used to make work easier in a factory for example, who is responsible if a ‘thinking’ machine harms a human worker in a workplace accident –  the programmer, the actual ‘code’ of the machine, the company, or someone (or something) else entirely?  As companies, manufacturers, and even governments are beginning to make the push for automated processes like self-driving vehicles that include the use of Robots, AI, and other ‘driverless’ technologies, we will all begin to be faced with these questions.


1: Who should be held civilly and/or criminally accountable when a robot is involved in  crime?  Explain your choice(s)

2: What laws should be put in place to ensure that the right entities (people / companies / robots) are held accountable for Artificial Intelligence related problems, and how will they help prevent or address those problems?

3: What are some things that a robot could do to break a law? 

4: Should a person who built a robot that commits a crime, be charged to the same level as contributing to the crime or aiding in it? Explain why you think they should or should not.

Be sure to explain the thinking behind your answers, and for more details, you can read the articles this piece was sourced from here: 



Contributed By: Joseph Motta

Beer + Bulletproof Vests =
The New ‘Drinking & Driving’ ?!?


Being a responsible gun owner involves a lot of care and the ability to make good decisions.  Clearly, shooting your friend while they are wearing a bullet proof vest would not be an example of either of those behaviors.  Despite that, two fifty-year old men in Arkansas found themselves facing criminal charges of unlawful discharge of a firearm in that exact situation.  Here’s what happened:

Around April 2018, Charles Eugene Ferris, 50, and Christopher Hicks, 36 had a terrible idea (they were drunk, so they thought it was a GREAT idea….as you can tell from the headline, they were wrong).   While intoxicated both men began to take turns with a .22 caliber rifle. Ferris was shot once in the chest and was left with a large red mark. Ferris then proceeded to unload a clip into Hicks’ back in retaliation.

The men arrived at the hospital after Ferris complained of chest pain. After learning that it was a result of a gunshot wound, the police were called to take a statement.

Reports explained that while this story is already bizarre, it gets much weirder. The two men came up with an elaborate story to try and cover up their drunken adventures, telling the police they were bodyguards that had been hired to protect a client.  While it is unclear which of the two men said it, according to the police report one of them claimed to have followed ‘the client’ into a forest, and that the client was then shot at.  According to their story, the shooting was what led to Ferris having six bruises in the back from gunshots.

Police actually believed the story at first, but then Ferris’ wife showed up to the hospital and told the authorities what actually happened.

After learning the truth about the requested shooting, the man admitted he had made the story up to protect his friend who had originally shot him.

Stories like this always have the potential to turn out much worse than they already do. There are a number of different factors that could have ended up taking one of the men’s lives or even worse, the lives of others around them that had nothing to do with the act of shooting your friend for fun.

All it takes for a situation like this to turn from minor injuries to a deadly consequence is a poor aim, a faulty bullet-proof vest, or a bystander walking by at the wrong time. These are a few of the reason’s laws are made to protect lives. Both of the men are responsible for their actions, as well of what their actions could have turned into had something gone terribly wrong.


1: Is an activity like this protected by the Second Amendment? Why or Why not?

2: Could the men be exercising their lawful gun rights but ALSO charged w/ some kind of   charges about endangering the public? How, or why not?

3: If this happened in Nevada, how many years in jail, how much money fined, and what other consequences would these men face after an action like this?

4. Imagine one of the men had died as a result of this incident, then list 3 criminal charges they would face if the incident happened in Nevada. Then, list the maximum amount of penalties that defendant would be faced with if they were to face those charges. Finally, imagine instead of the bullet hitting one of the men as willing participants, imagine if the bullet hit a random passer-by.  Explain if the charges faced by the shooter would be the same or different, and why that would be the case.

Be sure to provide full explanations for your answers.  For more details, you can read the article this piece was sourced from here:



Contributed By:  – J. Motta

D’oh! Nuts!
Donut Champion Dunked Into A Jail Cell


Pictured: Artist’s interpretation of suspect being detained at the local jail…or not.

A North Carolina man was arrested for stealing and breaking into a Dunkin’ Donuts. According to police he is being charged with felonies including breaking and entering and larceny (meaning the theft of someone’s property). It wasn’t specified if any donuts were taken during the theft.

In 2014, the same man won a donut eating contest while being wanted on suspicion of multiple break-ins. After competing in the donut event, Bradley Hardison (the suspect) prompted closer watch by investigators which led to him being convicted. Ironically, he won the contest at the police department’s “National Night Out Against Crime” event.

Hardison was held on a $7,000 bond for his latest charges of breaking and entering and larceny.


1)What punishments could Hardison face for the breaking and entering charge in Nevada?

2) What punishments could he face for the larceny charge in Nevada?

Be sure to provide full explanations for each of your answers. For more details, you can read the article this piece was sourced from here:

Pizza For Parking


Pizza is one of the most universally enjoyed dishes and a food most people won’t turn down. An alleged story about the temptation to eat the baked dough topped with delicious proteins, cheeses and veggies ended up costing four officers their jobs.

Jeff Clegg is one of the officers who was fired.  Clegg claimed that employees of a pizza shop would park illegally and place menus visibly in their car window.  When a parking enforcement officer saw the menu, they were not to write a ticket.  If a parking ticket did happen to be issued, it was usually voided.

Clegg’s allegations also say that the officers didn’t write tickets to the employees for over two years because of the deal.  Apparently the parking enforcers would frequent the pizza shop so often that they were on a first name basis with the workers.  Some of the officers would even enter through the back and just grab their own meal!

The officers were in a situation where they could have issued 3 tickets a day to the pizza parlor’s problematic parkers, with each ticket having a fine of $25.  At first, $25 per ticket may not seem like that large of an amount.  Over the course of 2 years however, $75 in parking tickets each day would have amounted to over $19,000 in missed fines!

Following an investigation by a city official who’d heard about Clegg’s allegations about the parking-for-pizza scheme, Clegg and three other officers were fired.  Shortly after that happened, the pizza restaurant’s owner complained directly to the city in person about how upset he was about the officers being fired.  At the same time though, he denied that there was ever a free meal deal happening.

A second investigation was launched by a police agency, but no charges ended up being filed against the pizza parlor’s staff nor the 4 officers that had lost their jobs.



1) Keeping in mind that this deal could have cost the city up to $19,000 in missed fines, if charges had ended up being filed as a result of the investigations, what laws would the enforcement officers have been accused of breaking and what penalties might they face?

2) Keeping in mind that this deal could have cost the city up to $19,000 in missed fines, , what charges could be brought against the pizza restaurant owner, and what penalties might he be dealt?

3) Suppose the allegations were eventually proven to not be true though: Could the officers take action against the city for being fired over false accusations?   If you think they could, explain how you think the officers would benefit from suing the city – what would they get out of it?   If you don’t think they could, explain what makes you think they’re prevented from filing a case against their employers.

Be sure to provide full explanations for your answers. For more details, you can read the article this piece was sourced from here:

Contributed by – J. Plummer


Golden Answers & Golden Knights:
Questions About Laws and Fighting!


When two players get into fight in hockey, when two boxers hit each other during a boxing match, and when two UFC fighters engage in combat during a bout, they have all agreed to participate in the fight.  When they are done fighting, no one is arrested.

If two people at a social gathering start to argue and agree to ‘step outside’ to fight each other, the police may be called and each of the combatants may end up facing charges including assault, battery, malicious mischief, breach of peace, challenges to fight, or provoking assault.


1) What laws or policies allow for two people that fight during sporting events to not face criminal charges (even though the fights are witnessed by thousands of people), yet two people who consent to fight each other and engage in violence outside of a sporting event will probably face many different criminal charges for their fight? 

2) What policies exist specifically in Nevada related to the last question about fighting in sports?

Be sure to provide full explanations for each of your answers. For more details, you can read the article this piece was sourced from here:


Seriously Stupid:
Swatting a School Shooting Survivor


A quick note for the olds: Swatting is when emergency services (like 911) are called by someone who hides their identity and falsely claims an incident that requires an immediate and armed response from law enforcement is taking place at an address.  Swatting is a way to harass – and possibly harm – an intended victim by fraudulently provoking a police raid at their location.

During Spring 2018 in Parkland, Florida, local police responded to a call that claimed Parkland shooting survivor and anti-gun activist David Hogg was being held hostage.  The caller claimed Hogg and his family were being held hostage by someone armed with an AR-15. Police showed up to his house “prepared for a shootout with an armed menace”.  Shortly after arriving at the scene, the responding officers discovered that not only had the caller been lying, but that Hogg was actually out of town at the time.

On social media Hogg downplayed the incident, describing it a poorly-thought-out prank.  Hogg had a reason for playing it cool though – after surviving the slaughter at his school on Valentine’s Day in 2018, he’s been a target for harassment from gun rights activist and conspiracy theorists.  By downplaying the swatting incident and acting like it’s no big deal, Hogg was communicating to swatters that they are wasting their time trying to provoke fear or anguish in him.

Despite how Hogg reacted to the incident publically, swatting is an extremely dangerous act that needs to be taken seriously.  It wastes police resources that might be needed somewhere where a real emergency is taking place, and the so-called prank can even result in death.

In December 2017, a 28 year old was killed by police that were responding to an emergency call.  In a call to 911, a swatter claimed that a man had killed his father and was holding the rest of his family hostage in their home.   When a young man opened the door at the house that was being ‘swatted’, police shot him thinking he was the gunman that had been reported.  He died shortly after that.  Given that the December 2017 swatting death was national news at the time, the person who attempted to swat David Hogg just a few month later knew there was a chance Hogg (or a member of his family) could have been inadvertently shot or injured by police.


1) Though the specific definition changes by jurisdiction, generally speaking ‘attempted murder’ is when someone has intent to carry out a murder or takes a substantial step towards committing a murder.  Considering the circumstances of the attempted swatting of David Hogg, do you believe the swatter – if he or she were ever identified – could be convicted of attempted murder?  Why or why not?  What other charges might a person face if they were identified as being a person behind a swatting call to police?

Be sure to provide full explanations for each of your answers. For more details, you can read the article this piece was sourced from here::

Contributed by- J. Plummer

Terror & Tyranny at the Theme Park:
Family Assaulted at Six Flags



Amusement parks go above and beyond to entertain their guests during Halloween each year.  In Fright Fest at Six Flags, everyone is up for a good scare. The extra scares are appreciated, but the fall season also seems to bring an increase in bad behavior by some park attendees.  What nobody wants is to come home injured or assaulted, but unfortunately, that fear became a reality for one innocent family.

The family – an elderly couple and their 12 year old son – was attempting to ride one of the thrill rides at the park. While waiting in line, a group of friends cut in front of the family.  Skipping over the fact that the group had cut in front of them, the woman asked the group to at least stop using unpleasant language around her child.

That is when an attack began.

The 12 year old boy was physically seized upon by the group that had cut in front of his family. The mother and father attempted to intervene, but were quickly overwhelmed by the sizable group.  The family continued to be assaulted with punches, kicks, and stomps by their attackers until they submitted to the violence and fell to the ground.

Security at Six Flags broke up the attack quickly after a passersby reported the incident.  The attackers spread out in an attempt to escape, but fortunately most of them were prevented from getting away after security cornered them in the parking lot.

Local police reported to the scene, and a total of nine suspects were arrested & charged.   Later on, the city’s police chief commented that more suspects may have gotten away.  With this concern in mind, the police urged anyone with evidence to submit it to them. As the police chief explained “We know there’s a video out there. People had their phones out, but we have not gotten any additional video yet.”

Following the incident the family was rushed off and received care for their injuries, though eventually all three of them were discharged.


Questions, Part 1:
Amusement parks have a lot of discretion in deciding what they allow to occur on their property.  They have a duty to protect those who come, which is why they deal with high safety standards and inspections for their rides.   The parks also allow a wide range of people to come in and enjoy themselves though.  

1.1) Is the process to enter an amusement park too easy?  

1.2) Should Six Flags be held financially or criminally responsible for the family’s injuries? What makes them responsible or not responsible?  

1.3) If you think Six Flags is responsible, what can they do to prevent attacks like these in the future?  If you don’t believe they’re responsible, what laws absolve them of that responsibility?  

Questions, Part 2: 
Research your response! 

2) The family of the incident experienced emotional and physical damage from the attack.  What consequences will the assailants that were caught face?

Questions, Part 3: 
According to the park, attacks like these are uncommon, “This is rare.” was the official line from park representatives, yet still the park was prepared for possible incidents like these, having doubled security patrols during holiday seasons.  Meanwhile, even with the double patrols, not all of the assailants were detained.   Consider the fact that some of the suspects were able to get away and that police are hoping cell phone footage will help identify the remaining suspects.  That means the park didn’t have sufficient security camera coverage to identify all of the assailants.  With that in mind….

3.1) Should the family place blame on Six Flags for negligence based on the failure of it’s video security?

3.2) Should seasonal events like this continue when the parks know they pose a risk of an increase in violent or otherwise troubling incidents?

3.3) Some of the attackers in the incident were minors.  Assuming their parents weren’t with them in the park, should the park be held responsible for allowing large groups of minors to be there without proper supervision?

3.4) What rules should be made for youth at parks, and should there be laws establishing standards for these rules (explain your answer – why or why not)?

3.5) Should security keep a closer eye on young adults at parks? What would lead them to be to strike out like this in such a large force?

Be sure to provide full explanations for your answers.  For more details, you can read the articles this piece was sourced from here:

– Submitted by J. Floyd

Salt Bae Gets Salty After
Health Code Violation Accusations



The man known as Salt Bae’s technique for salting steaks captivated the world, quickly elevating him to meme-status.  After he opened his new restaurant recently however, some people weren’t so quick to ‘like and share’.  A few sticklers for the law were quick to point out that he might be violating New York City’s health code.

Salt Bae’s critics pointed out that by salting steaks without gloves, this living meme appeared to be breaking clause 81.07 of the NYC health code.  That clause states that there must be use of tools of ‘sufficient length to prevent bare hand contact with ready to eat potentially hazardous food’.

After being called out he started wearing gloves. With his salting technique which employs significant amounts of flair, pomp, and circumstance though, salt may still hit his bare forearm before reaching his customers’ plates.

A common condiment isn’t the only legal matter keeping Salt Bae so salty these days though.

According to videos he’s posted to Instagram, he had been slicing steaks at customers’ tables without gloves and while wearing a flashy watch – 2 more possible violations of NYC health code!  In addition to the first violation, by wearing a watch he’s also violating a rule stating ‘food workers may not wear jewelry on their arms unless it’s a medical bracelet or smooth ring’..

New York City’s Department of Health said they would be launching an investigation into the violations. The restaurant opened earlier this year and has received mixed reviews over price, food quality and the overall experience.  Sounds like this Salt Bae could use a little sweetness these days!



1) What consequences could the restaurant face if it is found to be violating NYC health code?

2) Can videos posted to social media be used as admissible evidence if charges are filed?

3) Do you think the case is being handled differently, or should be handled differently since a celebrity is involved?

Be sure to provide full explanations for each of your answers. For more details, you can read the article this piece was sourced from here:

Contributed by- J. Plummer

Thank you for letting us experience court for the first time.  It was the best experience ever, thank you for everything. You really made me think about being a judge. Thank you

-Mina L [ Twitchell Elementary - Grade 5]

Project Real
Thank you for letting us experience court for the first time.  It was the best experience ever, thank you for everything. You really made me think about being a judge. Thank you -Mina L [ Twitchell Elementary - Grade 5]

My favorite part of the fieldtrip to the courthouse is when I got to play the part of Ron. I got to go on the witness chair and speaking. I helped Potter to be not guilty. Thank you for the great opportunity.

- Johnathan M  [Harmon Elementary - Grade 4]
Project Real
My favorite part of the fieldtrip to the courthouse is when I got to play the part of Ron. I got to go on the witness chair and speaking. I helped Potter to be not guilty. Thank you for the great opportunity. - Johnathan M  [Harmon Elementary - Grade 4]

Thank you for letting us watch the civil case!  It was cool because it was a real case and not one played out. I had a lot of fun watching the other kids act out a session.  Thank you for your time.

- Kaylie [Hewetson Elementary - Grade 5]

Project Real
Thank you for letting us watch the civil case!  It was cool because it was a real case and not one played out. I had a lot of fun watching the other kids act out a session.  Thank you for your time. - Kaylie [Hewetson Elementary - Grade 5]
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