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In case you missed it, back in May two-year-old Bounkham "Bou Bou" Phonesavanh was nearly killed when a flashbang grenade thrown by a SWAT team in Cornelia, Georgia, an hour north of Atlanta, landed in his playpen and exploded in his face.  The SWAT team had gotten a no-knock warrant to arrest his meth-head cousin--the son of Bou Bou's aunt, with whom Bou Bou and his family were staying after their house in Wisconsin burned down.  It has since emerged that had law enforcement conducted even the most rudimentary recon work, they would have known there were kids in that house.  Lately, I've been wondering--could the judge who signed that warrant hold somebody in contempt for perpetrating a fraud upon the court?

Let's consider what we know so far.  The raid was coordinated by Habersham County sheriff Joey Terrell and Cornelia police chief Rick Darby, who maintain they would have never signed off on the use of a flashbang grenade if they had known there were kids in the house.  But it turns out that the informant who bought meth from the suspect, Wanis Thonethva, never went inside the house.  Had he done so, he would have discovered toys and kids' clothes.  

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, it should have been obvious to the SWAT team once they pulled up that there were kids in the house.  Bou Bou's mom, Alecia, wrote in a gut-wrenching article in Salon that their minivan has stick figures on it representing Bou Bou and his three sisters, and there were also toys in the yard.  She also told CNN that there was a Pack and Play only two feet from the door--which would have been in clear view of the cop who threw that grenade.  But had the informant bothered to check beforehand, we wouldn't even be having that discussion.

It would seem to me that before the judge put his or her signature on that warrant, he would have made sure that every effort was made to ensure that kids wouldn't be in danger.  If such effort wasn't made when the judge was told there was, to my mind that amounts to a fraud upon the court.  If I'm that judge, I'd give some serious though to calling in Tyrell, Darby and the informant to find out what they did to make sure the risk of collateral damage didn't outweigh the need to make sure the meth-head didn't either come out shooting or destroy evidence.  And unless they can give a good explanation for their failure to do so, that judge needs to hold someone in contempt if he or she can legally do so.

I know this may burn a few bridges.  But given how outrageous this was, it's worth a try.


Should someone be held in contempt for not making sure there were kids in Bou Bou's house?

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