Prosecutors targeting Michigan shooter’s parents, ‘making their own law’: Andrew McCarthy

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Renowned legal expert Andrew C. McCarthy, the former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, is gravely concerned about the decision by a Michigan prosecutor to file charges against the parents of suspected Michigan school shooting suspect Ethan Crumbley.

Speaking on Fox News’ “Your World” a couple of hours after Oakland County Prosecuting Attorney Karen McDonald announced the charges Friday afternoon, he told host Neil Cavuto that the announcement was “outrageous.”

While he understood the heated emotions, he noted that it’s not proper for a prosecutor “to make criminal law on the fly,” which is what McDonald has essentially done.

“The state of Michigan has considered a number of times enacting a law — this child access prevention law that many states have adopted — which would make criminal what happened here, which was that the parents allowed the child to get access to the weapon,” he said.

However, McCarthy continued, the Michigan Legislature hasn’t actually gone through with it yet, and “you can argue that that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but the fact is … it’s up to the legislature to make the criminal law” — not prosecutors.

“So at a time when everybody’s hot and emotions are raw, prosecutors are creating a crime on the fly to attach to these parents,” he said.

Echoing McCarthy’s remarks, legal scholar Jonathan Turley of George Washington University Law School tweeted later that afternoon that, because of this discrepancy, McDonald’s team may have to prove that the charges aren’t “just a workaround [to] the absence of a child access prevention law.”

Continuing his remarks on Fox News, McCarthy added that the charges themselves don’t even make much sense, in that the way McDonald has worded them, the argument could be made that school officials should also be charged.

“It doesn’t make much more sense to accuse them of complicity in murder as opposed to the reprehensible negligence that they engaged in than it makes to accuse the school officials of murder,” he said.

“Everybody dropped the ball here. But let’s be real about who committed the murder and who didn’t,” he said, referencing Crumbley.

He added that charging the parents is equivalent to charging shop owners for selling gun powder to terrorists.

“I’ve seen a lot of cases like this [where] you want to wring the necks of the people who are involved in them. I was involved, for example, in terrorism investigations where people sold components that were obviously components for explosives — like explosive powder — to people who were very suspicious characters and wanted to pay in cash and made you think that, you know, boy, these guys must be up to no good,” McCarthy explained.

“Nobody thought that once a building got bombed and people got killed, that the store owners who lawfully sold these components to these suspicious characters should have been charged with terrorism crimes, even though you wanted to grab each of them by the lapels and say ‘what on earth were you thinking.'”

It’d be like gun manufacturers being prosecuted for their customers committing gun crimes.

And indeed, this is why some worry that what’s happening in Michigan is a slippery slope, particularly as it relates to gun rights.

Vivek Saxena


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