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Case against ex-Miss Riverton and 3 others was overcharged, attorney says

LDS mission delayed for driver of vehicle in 'bottle bomb' case

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  • Obama10 SYRACUSE, UT
    Aug. 29, 2013 3:15 p.m.

    Absolutely overcharged!!!! I tell my teenage sons all the time, I am grateful I am not a teenager in this day and age. There is no room for mistakes anymore. We all have done stupid things as kids. With the internet, the smallest mistakes now become national news. Give them community service and move along.

  • dalefarr South Jordan, Utah
    Aug. 29, 2013 3:16 p.m.

    Yes, the teenagers were needlessly and intentionally overcharged. Overcharging is another form of law enforcement corruption.

  • Noodlekaboodle Poplar Grove, UT
    Aug. 29, 2013 3:24 p.m.

    Welcome to the court system kids. Add excessive charges so you can plea down to a more appropriate charge. It's the same thing as listing a car on KSL for $1000 more than it's worth because the buyer will want to talk you down.

  • MrPlate Lindon, UT
    Aug. 29, 2013 3:35 p.m.

    If you or a child encounter multiple scrapes with the law, your eyes get opened to the significant amount of bullying, overcharging, constitutional violations, and fabrications that are committed by law enforcement and prosecutors. I spent my first 50 years blissfully inexperienced with law enforcement, with full respect of police, always giving them the benefit of the doubt when I heard conflicting stories from accused individuals.

    For 3 years, my last child struggled with some very poor decisions, many of which ran afoul of the law. In nearly every case, the actual offenses were bad enough, and deserved attention and legal consequences. But, law enforcement in most cases created additional offenses which did not occur, or included clear deceptions to either enhance the violation or increase the penalties. In court, the overreaching and deceptions typically get caught and thrown out, but not until a lot of time and money is spent defending against what never should have been charged in the first place.

    I'm not so quick to reject the overcharging allegations any longer. It does occur much, much more often than typical law-abiding people would ever imagine.

  • sukiyhtaky us, CA
    Aug. 29, 2013 4:28 p.m.

    Law abiding people may make a random 'poor choice', but making them over and over and over again does not a law abiding person make. Sadly, in a hurry to push things through the legal system, deals are made so to secure any type of justice for the victim law enforcement has to many times over charge in order to get anything near justice for the Victim after the deals are made. Sad but remember it is about justice for the Victim and not mitigating the punishment for the perpetrator. Pranks? Sit for a few hours calming a young child or animal who becomes terrified from the noise/aftermath of the 'prank'. In this day and age of mass murders, terrorist attacks, and the like do families need the added stress of trying to distinguish between a real attack and a prank? Do these acts really reflect well on a 'Miss Riverton' or a representative of the LDS church? Is this the type of person I want to teach my family about right and wrong and religion? Jail time and community service probation will help them reflect on what is a prank and what is a crime.

  • BU52 Provo, ut
    Aug. 29, 2013 4:30 p.m.

    When the law is applied in an arbitrary and capricious manner its a sign the government might be the enemy of the people rather than the servant. They can charge some and excuse others, I hope the judge throws the whole thing out.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    Aug. 29, 2013 4:51 p.m.

    It appears the magic is in the makeup for Miss Gill. Her mug shot doesn't even really look like her.

  • Faded Glory Taylorsville, UT
    Aug. 29, 2013 4:58 p.m.

    They are being charged under State Statute 76-10-306 as it pertains to chemical bombs. During my career as a bomb technician (now retired) I do recall a court ordering two juvenile defendants to pay restitution in the amount of $7,000 to replace a newly poured concrete driveway that had been damaged as a result of the acid contained in the devices thrown onto a homeowner's property. I also remember on a number of occasions staying up through the night patrolling a neighborhood of worried citizen's including children who were scared and could not understand what was going on. Oh, and by the way, who covers the needless expense for the $100,000 of equipment and man-power that rolls out in the middle of the night to respond to these harmless pranks? The point is there is so much more that goes on when these stupid pranks take place that does have a significant emotional and financial impact on the community that may not get reported.

  • BYR West Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 29, 2013 5:25 p.m.

    While Ms. Gill possibly may be overcharged, after watching her on the news a few minutes ago, I am not convinced that she understand that she could have caused serious injury. She she should be charged for what happened, not what could have happened. Still, I am not sure she gets it.

  • MrPlate Lindon, UT
    Aug. 29, 2013 5:26 p.m.

    @sukiyhtaky - those are very similar to my thoughts before "entering" the system firsthand with my son. I don't know who you're talking about breaking the law over and over and wanting to be called "law abiding." Those kids in this article haven't broken the law over and over again, and if you're referring to my comment, I never said my son was a law abiding person. I have been. You've probably been as well, so you think overcharging chronic law-breakers is a good idea to arrive at ultimate justice.

    Walk in the shoes awhile and see what you think about police who are actually violating Constitutional rights when they intentionally overcharge. See how you feel to spend $5000 defending against a bogus DUI charge because police wanted to send a message to a kid who didn't dress the way they like.

    No, the act doesn't reflect well on a "Miss Riverton." That's why she stepped down - to take responsibility. A poorly conceived prank of this nature does not warrant a lifetime scarlet letter of felony. The overcharge is a despicable act of bullying - a shameful law enforcement or prosecutorial weapon.

  • redshirt007 tranquility base, 00
    Aug. 29, 2013 5:32 p.m.

    Youtube is full of these noisemakers that are now called terrorists bombs.

    This is just sick, disgusting people creating the drama they crave at the expense of this girl and her friends. I doubt it would go so far if it we're so sensational that she was a pageant winner.

    A dark cloud over Utah.

  • Unbiased121 dallas, TX
    Aug. 29, 2013 5:43 p.m.

    Faded Glory @ Sukyhtaki,

    You both sounds like curmedgeonly old people who need to lighten up.

    Sukyhtaki: If you really need to calm your child for hours every time they hear a loud bang or see a bunch of teens through a pop bottle out the window that explodes, then I really feel for you during the 4th and 24th of July. It must be mass hysteria around your placeon those days.

    Fadedglory, you make a decent point about the costs of vandlism/pranks etc. However, the point of the article is that the kids were overcharged. Do we really want to label these kid prankters as felons? Charge them with a misdemeanor and fine them and give them community service. But jail time, felony. Please...

  • Reasonable Person Layton, UT
    Aug. 29, 2013 6:11 p.m.

    To the apologists:

    You'd be talking differently, if your home was one of those targeted ... and you'd be really angry if you'd have caught that chemical bomb in your face, blinding you.

    You say "they are charged for what might have been". So let's let the shoe bomber out of jial, and how about the Times Square inept bomber. After all, their devices didn't really hurt anyone, either..

  • Noodlekaboodle Poplar Grove, UT
    Aug. 29, 2013 6:31 p.m.

    @Unnbiased
    That's what will end up happening.The game city prosecutors and the police play is to overcharge so you don't bother to fight it and take a plea deal instead. So let's say that the police pulled someone over who had a small amount drugs in there car. No question, that's illegal, but instead of charging them with just possesion, they will say that it's intent to distribute because they have a pack of cigaretts with the plastic wrap on the bottom that you could put drugs in(this actually happened to a friend). Now that will never hold up in court, but it might discourage you from fighting the charge because instead of being charged with a crime that carries a fine and community service, your charged with a felony were you could get 5-15 years in prison. So you take the plea deal. It saves the prosecutor money, and allows them to get convictions on questionable evidence. That's why I personally fight any court action, including speeding tickets.

  • Faded Glory Taylorsville, UT
    Aug. 29, 2013 6:31 p.m.

    Unbiased121

    They will not serve one day in jail, sorry sukiyhtaky. They will however enter into a plea and abeyance agreement with the court, pay restitution or whatever and then move on. And by the way there is a difference between loud fireworks in the middle of a street during the 4th and 24th that end at a certain time and these devices in question which can be quite nasty. You can "undercharge" this case all you want , all I'm saying there is an impact to the community which can be quite unsettling for some and expensive to others who have suffered damage. Finally, the attorney in this case ,while perhaps trying to help his clients through media attention, is only going to make matters worse. And by the way unbiased, I have been to too many er's and burn units to lighten up even if it was only a prank!

  • Brother Benjamin Franklin Orem, UT
    Aug. 29, 2013 7:01 p.m.

    These sound like good kids that made a stupid mistake, but they got caught.

    I don't buy the defense's arguments here. It does not matter how famous they are, the law still applies the same. This is an opportunity to send the right message to teens.

    Let's not waste this away.

  • gigi_gorgeous New York, NY
    Aug. 29, 2013 8:04 p.m.

    The parents ought to be ashamed...obviously, the involved teens have way too much time on their hands...additionally, the fact remains someone could have been seriously injured.....the charges are correct and just.

  • Uncle Rico Sandy, UT
    Aug. 29, 2013 8:39 p.m.

    Who was responsible for leveling those charges?? What an absolute display of poor decision making. If guidelines dictate certain charges than think about the purpose of the charges. Too many people are taught to follow without thinking.

  • riverofsun St.George, Utah
    Aug. 29, 2013 9:10 p.m.

    Whoever heard of a young women winning her hometown beauty contest, then going out with friends to enjoy a night of bomb throwing entertainment?
    This story is almost to strange to believe.
    Best that she and her buddies learn there are consequences for such peculiar, dangerous, and thoughtless behavior.
    Is community service the correct punishment?
    Serving as "Miss Riverton" should be the ultimate in community service for it's recipient.

  • Another Thought... ,
    Aug. 29, 2013 9:42 p.m.

    A similar "prank" took place in my neighborhood on the 4th of July. Someone placed bombs identical to the ones described in this situation in several mailboxes all around our area. When they exploded, they blew some of the mailboxes to pieces. They blew off the doors or blew out the back. The police were called and failed to find any helpful evidence leading to arrest or prosecution.

    It cost at least 12 homeowners $20 each for new mailboxes. My neighbor is in his 70's and on a fixed income. He could hardly afford the price. I bought his when I bought mine, too.

    It was not a "harmless prank." I am glad no one was hurt, but I didn't think it was funny. I still don't. I don't feel safe in my own home anymore. What will they blow up next?

    I am glad that the offenders in Riverton got caught. I hope they learn their lesson.

    I would rather see this type of behavior stopped early than let it progress to the point that it crosses the line into REAL felony territory.

  • joseywales Park City, UT
    Aug. 30, 2013 12:37 a.m.

    I agree overcharged. However, seeing as how one young lady is a pageant queen and one young man is a star player and super student. I would like to see them have to perform some community service. I think they should have to go to high schools and give presentations on the dangers of "pranking" Prosecutors could sentence them to this as a warning to others that these kinds of pranks will be dealt with more seriously than toilet papering the trees. Maybe they could give the boy a sentence that would delay his church service a few months so that he can really feel the pain about his dumb choice as well. I think these four need to have the dumb worked out of them, as my grandpa used to say.

  • My2Cents Taylorsville, UT
    Aug. 30, 2013 3:21 a.m.

    Its obviously a law enforcement excessive force show of power over the rights of the citizens of this state and local governemnt. The charges of these noise devices to be bombs is very over stated and not at all designed or intended to do harm.

    There is a whole lot of excessive everything in this criminal charges, stupidity in the law enforcement being a major deficit to the community. By the book is overkill and overreaction and the only ordinance they may have violated is a noise ordinance.

    There is no justification to negotiate the charges down for conviction and the lawyers should not consider any negotiations with the prosecutor or police. Let the people and the courts, and jury use some civil standards to diminish this excessive power law enforcement thinks they have.

    Federal laws and federal crimes are not relevant or applicable to prankster noise making devices, especially when no explosive materials were used and this was merely a home made science project demonstration of physics and chemistry education.

  • Say No to BO Mapleton, UT
    Aug. 30, 2013 6:37 a.m.

    For those who think the charges were too extreme, would you be the same ones who cry foul when they let these kids off easy because she was Miss Riverton or because he had his mission call?
    Would you think it right for someone to be let go for speeding because he pulled out his temple recommend and showed it to the officer?
    Would you feel the same way if the police could not bring felony charges to gang members in the same situation? (Sorry, the bombs did not injure anyone so we can only charge him with a misdemeanor.)
    There is a ruling on the books right now that you cannot charge an illegal alien with aggravated ID theft unless you can prove that he knew the ID belonged to a real person. So many loopholes. So many unintended consequences.

    The judge will sort it out in this case. Sorry kids for this little detour in your lives, but you brought it on yourselves. That 4.0 doesn't mean you don't have a few gaps in your education.

  • Cinci Man FT MITCHELL, KY
    Aug. 30, 2013 8:18 a.m.

    I remember an old western with John Wayne (Chance) and Dean Martin (Dude) as a Sheriff and Deputy. Dude (Martin) played a drunk and his struggle caused him to lose his focus one day. Dude's neglect almost cost the loss of lives and law and order. Dude said, "I'm sorry". Chance (Wayne) gives this classic line, "Sorry don't get it done, Dude". That's what we have in these pranks. If someone gets hurt, or loses a life or an eye, Sorry don't get it done Dude. I told my kids that so many times, hoping they would never pull these stupid pranks. And to the best of my knowledge, it worked. I never even toilet papered a house when I was growing up, because I understood that it was disrespectful of others and someone would have to clean up my mess.

  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    Aug. 30, 2013 8:37 a.m.

    I hope they aren't too hard on these kids. It really was just a prank albeit a REALLY stupid one. I don't think they meant any harm. It was just really stupid and I think they know that now.

  • Stenar Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 30, 2013 2:06 p.m.

    This is absolutely a felony. We cannot tolerate youths throwing bombs at people and their property.

  • rnoble Pendleton, OR
    Aug. 30, 2013 2:27 p.m.

    If they are inclined to this sort of activity, and having been caught at it, get off easy, then watch out. They will receive the message that anything can be "mitigated" and so nothing will be off limits.

    I do realize there might be differences in opinion about what constitutes getting off easy but what matters is that the system is harsh enough to make these kids think it is not easy but not so hard to have a negative impact that cannot be overcome. After all the goal is to make them aware of the need to change behaviour and should not make it impossible for the subsequent change to have no meaning in the rest of their lives. I so hope the judge is able to find that position and apply it successfully. I also hope the other adults in their lives are properly motivated to encourage the requisite behaviour change.

  • Bryan Syracuse, UT
    Aug. 30, 2013 3:17 p.m.

    These kids made bombs and then detonated them. They should be charged with that crime. If they wish to plea bargain that down because of their lack of criminal history, then fine. But they shouldn't get off just because they're young. Back when I was a kid I knew it was illegal to make an explosive device. I don't know why these kids are saying that they didn't know what the consequences could be.

  • redshirt007 tranquility base, 00
    Aug. 30, 2013 5:12 p.m.

    These people are ruining the lives of these kids for drama, nothing more. Sacrifices to the god of sensationalism.

    This same prank goes on all over the world. Look up bathroom cleaner bomb on youtube. These are not bombs but noisemakers.

    Some of these comments are so misinformed and judgmental I seriously worry about your chances at the pearly gates. Judge as you will be judged, harshly.

  • Aggielove Cache county, USA
    Aug. 30, 2013 7:27 p.m.

    Unfair.
    If I was a kid again, I'd be in jail.

  • owlmaster2 Kaysville, UT
    Aug. 30, 2013 9:09 p.m.

    I can't even imagine where a lot of us would be if we had been charged for all the foolish acts we participated in during our youth.. Perhaps these kids are arrogant as alluded to in previous comments but that doesn't mean a felony is in order.
    This should be a lesson learned and send them on their way... no need to make Mt Everest out of a crack in the sidewalk...

  • rlsintx Plano, TX
    Aug. 31, 2013 12:29 p.m.

    wrap this up legally, and in a year let the kid consider applying for the privilege of serving his LDS mission again when he's demonstrated some maturity. I know kids who did less who weren't allowed to go.

  • Mike LaAix Prescott, AZ
    Sept. 3, 2013 12:25 a.m.

    It is just that simple, when "You play -You pay". Then, don't blame others for your stupid choices. There is no excuse for acts of vandalism.