Christian Haughwout, a 14-year old freshman student, was charged with illegal possession of a weapon and a series of other crimes after converting a throwaway camera into a taser-like weapon and bringing it to school.
In April 2008, Christian was suspended from The Morgan School in Clinton, Connecticut and was officially charged with:
- Possession of a weapon on school property
- Attempted assault
- Disturbing the peace
Following Christian’s suspension, the Haughwout family challenged the School District’s actions in court and eventually worked out a deal that permitted Christian to return to the school.
Event Sparked National Debate
However, this was only the first battle the Haughwout family would face and overcome, as Christian’s taser has also sparked both a criminal and civil trial within the Connecticut courts. Similarly, Christian’s case has triggered a national debate over whether the school and police overreacted or handled the situation appropriately.
Criminal Charges against Christian
The three criminal indictments Christian faced have recently been settled by Kim Coleman, Christian’s defense lawyer, and the U.S. District Attorney.
Although Christian’s file is sealed (due to the fact that he is a minor), Coleman has stated that Christian and his family are incredibly happy over the outcome of Christian’s criminal case.
Mother Files Federal Suit against Connecticut Police
With the settlement of Christian’s criminal case, Carolyn Vangemert, Christian’s mother, has just filed a federal lawsuit, alleging that an area policeman:
- Wrongfully arrested her son at the time of his controversial taser incident
- Inaccurately characterized Christian’s “taser” as a deadly weapon, placing him at the center of controversy that drew national audiences.
In defense, Stunjo and his lawyers argue that the officer’s response was appropriate, as the information he had received necessitated immediate action. The presence of “speedy information” in a case legally allows police to make arrests without first having to secure an arrest warrant.
Arguments for Vangemert’s civil lawsuit are currently ongoing. A decision and potential settlement for this case aren’t expected to be handed down until early 2009.
(Source: The Hartford Courant)
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