Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A very tough decision

Sometimes being a public servant demands the wisdom of Solomon.

Which is my way of saying I don’t envy Delaware County District Attorney Mike Green.

Green now is grappling with what – if any – charges should be filed in the incredibly sad case of little Nicholas McCorkle. He’s the 14-month-old who was mistakenly left in the back seat of his grandfather’s car on the hottest day of the year.

The tot succumbed to his injuries early on Saturday. Now it is up to Green to determine if the grandfather, who apparently simply forgot to drop the toddler off at his day care site and instead drove to work, closed up the car with the child still inside, and went inside, should face charges in the case. The grandfather returned to the car more than five hours later and, to his horror, discovered the child and his mistake.

Yesterday, Green indicated he now will examine the findings of an autopsy to be performed by the Philadelphia Medical Examiner’s office.

The tot’s mother said she hopes no charges are filed against her father in the case. It’s a perfectly understandable belief, that in fact no one feels worse about what happened than the grandfather in this case.

Our hearts go out to the family in this case for their agonizing loss. We struggle with how this could have happened, and wonder if we could ever find ourselves in a similar position.

The decision facing Green is not an easy one. When exactly does a simple mistake cross the line into a criminal act?

A very sad story is very likely about to get even more so.

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