Immunity granted

Kerns case will go to trial in fall:

I’m still not holding my breath on that one but in other news, Farley and Sullivan have been granted immunity in the trial of Tobin Kerns…

A single justice of the Supreme Judicial Court ruled last week to enact immunity for two key witnesses in Kerns upcoming trial, bringing an end to another legal stalemate that had kept the case from moving forward.

Kerns, 18, and Joseph Nee, 20, both former Marshfield High School students, are facing trial separately for their alleged involvement in staging a Columbine-like attack on the high school in 2004. Kerns, was arrested in September of that year after Nee and two other MHS students – Joseph Sullivan and Daniel Farely – informed he school resource officer about the plot. A few weeks later, Nee was also arrested after Farley and Sullivan implicated him in the planned attack on the school.

Kerns and Nee were both charged with promotion of anarchy, conspiracy to commit murder and threatened use of a deadly weapon after police found materials at Kerns’ home outlining a planned attack on Marshfield High School. Police found a binder and evidence that Kerns’ computer had been used to look at Web sites like the Anarchist’s Cookbook, which explains how to make explosives. Nee had been staying with the Kerns family for a few weeks earlier in the spring, and Kerns father, Ben has argued that the materials in the binder belonged to him, not his son.

Kerns’ trial was set to start in March, but things came to a standstill when Farley and Sullivan sought immunity under the Fifth Amendment out of fear they might incriminate themselves through their testimonies.

The Plymouth County District Attorney’s office then sought to enact immunity in the Nee trial in hopes of carrying immunity over into the Kerns trial.

While immunity was granted to both witnesses in Superior Court, Judge Louis Coffin said in April he was unsure if he had the authority to grant immunity in Juvenile Court, citing a ruling in Commonwealth vs. Russ, a 2001 case that set a precedent against enacting immunity in juvenile cases. Assistant District Attorney John McLaughlin then brought the matter before a single Supreme Judicial Court Justice in Boston.

If this helps Tobin get exonerated then I’m all for it but I can’t shake the feeling that two people who were complicit in the plot are getting away.

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