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Star-Ledger editorial: Bocchini goofed; Rider not blameless

The opinion below is the opinion of the editorial writer: Link to editorial

Excerpt:

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.

–more at link

By Hank Nuwer

Journalist Hank Nuwer is the Alaska author of Hazing: Destroying Young Lives; Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. In April of 2024, the Alaska Press Club awarded him first place in the Best Columnist division and Best Humorist, second place.

He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His current book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press. He is married to Malgorzata Wroblewska Nuwer of Warsaw, Poland and Fairbanks, Alaska. Nuwer is a former columnist for the Greenville (Ohio)Early Bird and former managing editor of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner in Alaska.
Nuwer was named the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists columnist of the year in 2021 for his “After Darke” column in the Early Bird. He also won third place for the column in 2022 from the Indiana chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He and his wife Gosia, recently of Union City, Ind., have owned 20 acres in Alaska for many years. “The move is a sort-of coming home for us,” said Nuwer. As a journalist, he’s written about the Alaskan Iditarod sled-dog race and other Alaska topics. Read his musings in his blog at Real Alaska Daily--http://realalaskadaily.com and in his weekly column "Far from Randolph" in the Winchester Star-Gazette of Randolph County, Indiana.

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