Attorney feels charges may not stick in Polk bullying case - WFLA News Channel 8

Attorney feels charges may not stick in Polk bullying case

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Attorney Jay Hebert says charges may not stick in the Polk County bullying case Attorney Jay Hebert says charges may not stick in the Polk County bullying case
LARGO, FL (WFLA) - Prominent Pinellas County Criminal Defense Attorney, Jay Hebert is very familiar with cyberbullying. He collaborated with teenager Rachael Wade on a presentation given at area schools about the harm it can cause.  

Wade is serving a 27 year sentence for the stabbing death of Sarah Ludemann, in a case that included angry texts and social network posts.

Hebert is not involved in the case involving Katelyn Roman and Guadalupe Shaw, who were charged with Aggravated Stalking in the bullying case of a Polk County 12-year-old, Rebecca Sedwick. Detectives said Sedwick took her own life after being bullied online. 
Related Story: Polk Sheriff announces arrests in bullying case
 
Hebert says the Aggravated Stalking charges may not stick. "I don't think that that fits the fact pattern here and I have a problem with it," said Hebert.

What is not known is if the Prosecutor will try Roman and Shaw as adults or juveniles. Hebert's best guess is the pair will get a lesser charge after some kind of negotiation. "There's no doubt that this is a tragic situation," he said. "And it's happening across this country. We do need to have some level of accountability for both the parents and the children. But I think it starts with education and it starts with helping people understand the consequences of these types of acts," said Hebert.

The presentation Hebert presents to schools goes over topics like chat rooms, sexting, social networks, and codes used by young people to keep parents from knowing what they're talking about online.

As for the two charged in the case of Rebecca Sedwick's suicide he thinks the two girls charged will likely plead to something other than a felony. "I just don't see the credible threat that is required to establish this case. So we have to wait and kind of see what the evidence is," he said.

If tried and convicted as adults, Aggravated Stalking is a 3rd degree felony, so the pair could get five years in jail.

If charges are reduced to say, Misdemeanor Stalking, adults could see a year in jail.

Hebert says, depending on any prior records, he'd prefer to see them be educated; something he suggests can benefit everybody.

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