What is interesting is that the prosecutors originally pursued an aggravated assault charge — a novel claim for such a case. It appears designed to force a plea, which it did. The teenager has agreed to plead guilty to tampering with a food product. He has been ordered to serve probation, serve 200 hours of community service, write a letter to the victim to apologize and to write a 1,000-word report on why it’s unhealthy to ingest fecal matter. It appears that writing “I will not poop in my friend’s drinks” 1000 times was dropped as a demand.
I find the aggravated charge interesting. New Jersey has various aggravated assault provisions but it is likely that aggravated assault with a serious bodily injury and a weapon are not applicable. However, use of a firearm is prominent in the provisions, here. Here is aggravated assault with significant (as opposed to serious) bodily injury:
A person is guilty of aggravated assault if he. . . . (a) ttempts to cause significant bodily injury to another or causes significant bodily injury purposely or knowingly or, under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life recklessly causes such significant bodily injury.
It would have become an expert battle over whether this prank presented a risk of significant bodily injury. I expect it would. That would allow its use in a variety of food tampering cases.
In torts, such cases can be easily classified as a form of battery.
For the story, click here.