Robert (Bob) Bianchi appeared on Crime Watch Daily segment Wild About Trials with host Chris Hansen and co-guest, Misty Marris on 4/21/17.
They discussed the case of Tad Cummins, the 50-year-old teacher that is accused of kidnapping a 15-year-old. The case garnered national media attention as Cummins fled the state, eventually being captured in California. The issue debated is if the prosecution has a solid case for kidnapping since it appears that the child went “willingly” with Cummins. Bianchi a former head NJ prosecutor states that he believes the prosecutors will have an easy time prosecuting Cummins for these allegations, arguing that the girl was manipulated and “groomed” by Cummins making her unable to consent under the law. This case illustrates how federal and state prosecutors will look at each state they traveled in and do a comprehensive review of all state and federal laws to determine where it is best to prosecute Cummins. Prosecutors have stated that they want to change the kidnapping laws to make sure it is clear that a child under the age of 18 cannot consent legally to being taken from their parents or guardians.
The next case we debated was the very sad case where an 11-year-old boy killed himself after his 13-year-old girlfriend faked her suicide, to make the boy believe that she killed herself. The boy upon seeing this advised via social media that he was now going to kill himself. The girlfriend allegedly knowing this did nothing to stop him or alert anyone about his intentions. The girl is now charged with misdemeanor criminal charges, but Bianchi thinks this amounts to more. They debated this topic and provide insights into to what we need to do to stop cyberbullying.
Bianchi suggests that the girl’s actions were so reckless as to invoke the manslaughter laws. Unlike murder, manslaughter is where one’s reckless conduct is such that it was likely that death would result. Here, she not only knew that when she posted the picture, but certainly knew when he advised that he was going to kill himself over what he saw- – and the girl did nothing to prevent it. Bianchi argues under the law that this is manslaughter and this charge is needed to send a message that the conduct is serious and will not be tolerated.
This case illustrates well the role of prosecutor and defense attorneys in determining what an appropriate resolution is.