Florida Eighth Grader Charged With Felony For School Prank

Domanik-GreenPrisonCellWe have yet another arrest in a school for an act that would have previously resulted in a reprimand and a parent visit with the principal — or at worst a suspension. Florida eighth-grader Domanik Green was accused of breaking into the computer system at the Paul R. Smith Middle School in Holiday, Florida to play a prank on a teacher. He changed the background of the teacher’s computer to show two men kissing. For that, he was charged with a felony for computer hacking. He will be tried as an adult. He is fourteen years old.

We have been discussing the trend toward suspending and expelling students (and teachers) for comments that they make on social media (here and here and here and here and here and here and here) This includes arrests for pranks (here and here).

This was hardly a world class, NSA hacking case. Green said that he logged off the computer after trying to do a the test because it didn’t have a camera. He then said “So I logged out of that computer and logged into a differing one and I logged into a teacher’s computer who I didn’t like and tried putting inappropriate pictures onto his computer to annoy him.” He knew that the teacher used his last name as his password.

The initial response would seem to have been appropriate and sufficient punishment: he was suspended for 10 days. However, adults then decided that he also needed to be made a felon. While he can likely be put into a program for first offenders that could wipe his record clean, it still makes no sense to me to criminalize such school pranks.

Why teachers and administrators want to criminalize such conduct is a mystery but the police are showing the same lack of discretion or judgment. Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco insisted that the 14-year-old deserves to be arrested and that we are all better off: “Even though some might say this is just a teenage prank, who knows what this teenager might have done.” Right. He might have added a Star Wars theme to the school webpage. Imagine that.

44 thoughts on “Florida Eighth Grader Charged With Felony For School Prank”

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  2. Sheriff Chris Nocco, cretin of Pasco County Florida, believes that he needs to destroy the life of a fourteen year old boy, Domanik Green, for committing a teenage computer hacking prank in order to save society at large from Domanik’s possible future predations.

    Has anyone drug tested the Sheriff recently?

  3. I’m curious to know what other pranks this boy has pulled or trouble he’s been in. Fourteen year old’s act before they seriously think. Rather than jail, behavior therapy might help the boy realize what he did was wrong and what correct thinking would prevent mindless actions in the future.

  4. Prosecutor’s name is Bernie McCabe.
    If you Google his name and Pasco County, FL his photo comes up. Can someone here put his photo on toilet paper and share it with us? One of our commenters did this before with another perp.

  5. How come so many stories of ickDayheads come out of the state of Florida? The prosecutor is really a jerk.

  6. Every adult in town needs to get a photo of the school principal, and the perp teacher, and impose a side photo of them kissing a snake. Print it on tee shirts. Wear them to the kid’s preliminary hearing and trial. Pass out black armbands which say Free Speech – Screw The Teach. Harass the prosecutor. Can someone publish his photo on the blog. It needs to be on toilet paper.

  7. This ongoing effort to feed the for-profit prison system and the privatized probation/collection system is simply out of control. We spend 4-5 times as much money incarcerating people as we do educating them. Is it not time to try it the other way around?

  8. bam bam: “There is more to this story.” (correcting my earlier comment, quoting you)

    Again. One has to take into account that this is Pasco County.

  9. Darren Smith

    I believe the boy committed a worse offense–he embarrassed school bureaucrats and this led to his prosecution.

    I will take this one step further remembering school if you were “different” an suggest it was a set up for the student and pure sadism on the bureaucrats involved

  10. Prof. Turley is right. This is a prank. In Germany they still laugh at stuff like this. And then the student gets a mark in the class book. It is expected of kids this age. This is the kid of thing really bright boys do when they´re not being challenged at school and are bored to death. They should make him president of the computer club.

  11. Here is the statute prosecuted:

    http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0800-0899/0815/Sections/0815.06.html

    The law makes essentially everything associated with computer trespass a felony. So, it is more or less a given that anyone even logging on with someone else’s credentials could trigger a prosecution.

    I believe the boy committed a worse offense–he embarrassed school bureaucrats and this led to his prosecution.

    In another situation he could have gained unauthorized access to a display case containing pictures of the faculty and superimposed over his teacher’s head that of a jackass. This would have been the analog version of what he did electronically. The sheriff would never have taken the case under these conditions but, he got caught up in the matter by accepting the prodding of these teachers.

    The faculty needs to accept that this isn’t the one room school out on the plain anymore. Technology changes, boyhood antics never will still be there. Accept it.

    Of course, nothing will be done to the system administrators that failed to set up a simple password security group policy that forced users to use stronger passwords. Any IT professional worth his salt knows this. In fact, not doing so in my view shows how truly incompetent their IT department is.

  12. Pretty weird/ridiculous that people are blaming the teacher. Typical lib thinking I guess.

    1. Jim22 – I am far from being a liberal and I am blaming the teacher for not only having a weak password but letting students know what it was.

  13. wrxdave,

    Chris Nocco was appointed by Governor Scott, initially, and then elected.

    http://reprints.tampabay.com/news/publicsafety/florida-governor-rick-scott-appoints-chris-nocco-to-pasco-sheriff-post/1165911

    He has Rubio connections, as well.

    A bit about his wife:

    “Bridget Nocco, the wife of the newly minted Pasco County sheriff, has accepted a high-profile job of her own with the powerful Tallahassee lobbying firm Smith and Ballard.

    The firm, headed by former Attorney General Jim Smith and longtime political operative Brian Ballard, announced the move Tuesday. Nocco, “known nationally as a top-tier Republican fundraiser,” will head up the firm’s fundraising efforts, according to a release.

    Founded in 1989, the company has offices in Tallahassee, Jacksonville and West Palm Beach. Its list of clients includes private prison firm the GEO Group, utilities giant Florida Power & Light and the New York Yankees. Ballard and his wife led the fundraising effort for Gov. Rick Scott’s inauguration in January.”

    http://www.tampabay.com/news/localgovernment/wife-of-new-pasco-county-sheriff-chris-nocco-gets-key-lobbying-job/1167559

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