Prosecutors are not supposed to count their indictments as if they were hanging scalps on their belts. Earlier this week, Mercer County Prosecutor Joseph Bocchini Jr. correctly convinced a court to undo the hunting expedition his office led in seeking to hold college officials criminally accountable for the alcohol poisoning death of Gary DeVercelly, an 18-year-old freshman at Rider University.
A Mercer County grand jury, guided by an assistant prosecutor, had indicted the dean of students, Anthony Campbell, 51, and the director of Greek life, Ada Badgley, 31, on charges of aggravated hazing, along with three student officers of the fraternity where the death occurred.
The charges against Campbell and Badgley, neither of whom was on campus at the time, were dismissed Tuesday.
The decision to indict — either the product of a misunderstanding of the law or an understandable but inappropriate effort to try to curb campus drinking — initially was hailed by Bocchini, who said it would send a signal nationwide to college officials.
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