If you haven’t heard about the #JusticeforJazzy movement, where have you even been?
Brianna Brochu (18) made national news after a disgusting Instagram post went viral. It reads: “Finally did it yo girl got rid of her roommate!! After 1 1/2 month of spitting in her coconut oil, putting moldy clam dip in her lotions, rubbing used tampons [on] her backpack, putting her toothbrush places where the sun doesn’t shine and so much more I can finally say goodbye Jamaican Barbie.”
The University of Hartford conducted the initial investigation. Eventually, the West Hartford Police Department performed its own investigation. It talked to both young women. Shortly thereafter, the WHPD arrested Brianna Brochu on two misdemeanor charges.
The social media world isn’t satisfied with these charges, though. The #JusticeforJazzy movement wants Brochu charged with a felony hate crime as well.
Here is one example:
Briana Brochu is repulsive and evil. She needs to be charged with multiple hate crimes and given a lengthy prison sentence. #JusticeforJazzy
— Laura Miers (@LauraMiers) November 1, 2017
The Misdemeanor Charges
Prosecutors charged Brianna Brochu under two statutes. The first is “Breach of the peace in the second degree.” The second is “Criminal mischief in the third degree.”
These charges are Class B misdemeanors. They carry a six-month maximum jail sentence. This means that the judge can sentence Brochu to jail for UP TO six months. But, the judge is not required to give a six-month jail sentence.
Now, I’m not a criminal law expert. But in the few cases I have observed, the judge generally gives out a standard sentence for each crime. For example, in some courts, judges punish petit larceny convictions with four days in jail. This is not a hard and fast rule. Every court and every judge is different.
Judges have good days. Judges have bad days. It’s impossible to guess how this case will turn out for Brochu.
Felony Hate Crime Charges?
The West Hartford Police Department asked to add a felony hate crime charge to Brochu’s current misdemeanor charges. But let’s be clear: the state does not have to bring a charge just because the police ask for it.
The prosecutor must look at the elements of the desired charge and determine if the evidence supports that charge. There is some circumstantial evidence to support a charge for race-based bad behavior. But is it enough?
That’s a tough question to answer.
What Brianna Brochu did was nasty and terrible and all of the other negative adjectives you can think of. She should be punished for it. She will be punished for it. If she acted out towards her roommate because her roommate is black, Brochu should face a hate crime charge.
We don’t know what the evidence is yet. Other than a police report and a deleted Instagram post, no one knows what happened between the roommates. The reality is that if the evidence doesn’t support a hate crime charge, it doesn’t matter what the social media army wants.
That is the great and terrible thing about the law. It operates on a different level than real life. Sometimes victims are vindicated. Sometimes victims lose. We’ll keep you updated as the search for #JusticeforJazzy continues.