By the time Lacy -- the Star doesn't identify juvenile offenders -- appeared
before Superior Court magistrate Beth Jansen last May, her mother
The fifteen-year-old was allegedly getting poor grades in school, had
unsuccessfully falsified her report card and was running around with a
34-year-old man. So when she arrived home one May morning after spending the
night with her alleged lover,
As far as
The problem with Jansen's help? That under state
law, a child (or an adult, for that matter) can only be charged with criminal
mischief if they damage at least $250 worth of another person's property.
She didn't. The case proceeded anyway.
Jansen's decision didn't pass muster with a three-judge panel of the state Court of Appeals, which reversed the judgment in an unpublished decision handed down this past April. It was quite clear, according to Senior Judge Betty Barteau, that prosecutors "failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, or otherwise, that the property damaged by [Lindsay] was the property of another person."
Given reports over the last two months, it's difficult to say if Lacy could have gotten any real help anyway. The probation officer preparing the pre-dispositional report recommending probation for the teen did little in the way of any psychiatric analysis outside of noting Nancy's statement that Lacy didn't have a history of "wetting the bed, starting fires, or cruelty to animals." Chances are that the probation officer wouldn't have been equipped to do so anyway.