One night in November two cars were set on fire. The cars were burned to the point that they were not salvageable. The fire marshal’s investigation concluded that fires were intentionally set and that an accelerant was used.
That same night, in the same area, multiple buildings had been broken into, windows smashed and fire alarms pulled. The police investigation was thorough and quick; it led to 3 individuals – 2 juveniles and a 19-year-old adult. The next day Juvenile 1 (J1) and his mother came to the local police station. J1 told the police that he had participated in some of the vandalism, but did not set the fires. All three were charged with Arson.
J1 was represented by attorney Henry Fasoldt. The prosecutors suspected that the adult was most culpable for setting the fires (he had a history of fire-setting and had been previously charged with an arson). J1 felt remorseful for his participation, but maintained that he and the other juvenile (J2) did not set the fire, the adult did. J1 agreed to cooperate with the prosecution. In exchange for his cooperation, the prosecutors agreed that they would significantly reduce their sentencing recommendation.
The case dragged on for two years. During that time J1 attended a fire-safety program, improved his grades, abided by a curfew, and performed every task that was requested of him by the prosecutors. During that time he received threats of violence. On the date of the adult’s trial, J1 was prepared to testify. However; the adult plead guilty at the last minute.
On their word, the prosecutors agreed to “file without a change of plea.” This effectively dismissed the case.