Proceed with caution

Proposed lawsuit could give mother closure -- but what else?

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We’re not sure what harm can come from a potential lawsuit over the April 13 drowning of 8-year-old Jon Stevens of Hephzibah. It’s highly unlikely to change things.

But given the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office conclusion, confirmed by the state medical examiner, that it was an accident and nothing else, we’re not sure what good can come from it either.

Perhaps closure for his mother, Jeanette Stevens, if nothing else.

We’re not sure the department can even be sued for how it performs an investigation. Law enforcement agencies have, and must have, broad discretion in their investigative work. And for the most part, they’re immune from lawsuits.

Nor do we know what remedy the courts, if so disposed, could even prescribe. A review of the sheriff’s closed investigation by another agency, perhaps. Absent some gaping hole in the investigation, or evidence of law enforcement malpractice, it’s hard to see how the department’s conclusion could be objectively argued with.

For what it’s worth, we’ve made our own repeated inquiries to our sources at the sheriff’s office, and each time we’ve had all our questions answered to a very reasonable degree of satisfaction.

We understand that might never be good enough for a grieving parent, and we would never criticize one for seeking the highest level of certainty possible.

But the fact remains, there is not one iota of evidence of a crime. Not one thing that points to foul play. A very young boy, a nonswimmer, who was watching older kids cleaning a friend’s opaquely murky swimming pool – and who the other youths thought had left – ended up drowning in it.

Again, we would never begrudge a distraught mother from doggedly pursuing the truth. But what if we’ve already bumped up against it, as all available facts would seem to indicate?

We also appreciate the fact that her supporters want to encourage her. But we pray that it’s not merely filling her with the false hope of a made-for-television ending – a clear answer to what happened, and perhaps someone, other than uncaring fate, to be held accountable.

It couldn’t have helped that the Southern Chris­tian Leadership Conference came to Augusta May 16 and, armed only with the suspicions of a mourning mother, declared in her presence that her son had been “murdered.” The organization threatened to bring a “national movement” to Augusta, complete with demonstrations, hell raising and arrests.

At that point, they hadn’t even met with the sheriff.

After the state medical examiner proclaimed the boy’s death an accidental drowning, the organization said simply that it’s “no longer involved in the case.”

As Ms. Stevens continues her quest, we would only hope those around her will be more cautious in their assessment of the facts.

Comments (4) Add comment
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myfather15
55706
Points
myfather15 06/27/13 - 05:42 am
6
0
Also,

I truly believe if this woman sues the Sheriff's Office without the slightest shred of evidence; when the case is thrown out, she should be responsible for all fees included in the court, including legal fees for the Sheriff's office. Why should, We the People, have to foot the bill for her unwillingness to accept reality and responsibility? Maybe when she is forced to pay all the attorney's fees and court fees, she can sue the SCLC for goading her into taking action.

seenitB4
86829
Points
seenitB4 06/27/13 - 06:30 am
5
0
Or have sclc pay

Maybe when she is forced to pay all the attorney's fees and court fees, she can sue the SCLC for goading her into taking action.

Why would the Sheriff lie or cover up anything.....he wouldn't imo...I'm sure he has looked at this case in every angle.

soapy_725
43676
Points
soapy_725 06/27/13 - 07:45 am
1
0
Mother, ask the three boys who were at the pool. Ask them.
Unpublished

What truth does she require? What justice?

soapy_725
43676
Points
soapy_725 06/27/13 - 07:47 am
1
0
Are not the truth and justice to be the same? Not today.
Unpublished

We want to place responsibility somewhere other than ourselves. She wants to be personally absolved of the tragedy.

soapy_725
43676
Points
soapy_725 06/27/13 - 07:48 am
1
0
soapy_725
43676
Points
soapy_725 06/27/13 - 07:49 am
1
0
She may be riding the Trayvon Martin wave of justice.
Unpublished

She may be riding the Trayvon Martin wave of justice.

Truth Matters
6776
Points
Truth Matters 06/27/13 - 08:33 am
0
4
@sclc

What proof is there that she was goaded by anyone? One can not like an organization but even the ACES was careful not to assign blame to an organization. I could be wrong but these groups don't sit at their computers and plot where to go. If that were the case, I can think of plenty of times they would have come here. From what I undestand they appear at the invitation of a certain party.

deestafford
27431
Points
deestafford 06/27/13 - 10:19 pm
5
0
TM

If I remember correctly these groups were the ones who organized and led the demonstration at the court house before the investigation was completed. IMHO these groups seem to exist solely for the purpose of stirring the honey pot in order to gain publicity and "stick it to the man''.

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