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Wednesday, April 4, 2007

CrimProf John Myers Discusses Decision not to Prosecute Radio Station for Hold Your Wee for Wii Death

Myers_05From McGeorge School of Law CrimProf John Myers recently discussed the reasons why Sacramento County prosecutors will not file criminal charges against radio staff in the water-drinking death of a Rancho Cordova mother of three.

Jennifer Lea Strange, 28, participated in an on-air "Hold Your Wee for a Wii" contest in the break room of KDND on Jan. 12. Contestants were challenged to drink as much water as possible without vomiting or urinating, with the hold-out winning a Wii Nintendo gaming console.

Prosecutors noted that Strange participated willingly and could have left at any time. Also, she was not in danger of a medical emergency that would have been apparent to the "Morning Rave" staff, the statement says.

"Any reasonable person wouldn't have concluded that she was seriously ill or in danger of dying," said district attorney's spokeswoman Lana Wyant. "There were no red flags."

Strange came in second place and said on air that her head hurt and she felt lightheaded. Hours later, Strange's mother found her dead in her home. Sacramento coroner's officials said she died of apparent water intoxication.

CrimProf John Myers outlined the role played by the idea of "duty of care." On one hand, he said, there was no responsibility like what a parent has to a child. But on the other hand, the radio station brought contestants "into the fold," presiding over the contest.

"This is a tough call — but exactly the kind of tough call where we want prosecutors to exercise their discretion," he said. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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