<i>48 Hours</i>: Is It A Crime?

Four compelling stories. Four difficult questions.

Four compelling stories. Four difficult questions. What would YOU do? 48 Hours aired the stories of people faced with complex issues. We asked you to tell us what you thought, by voting online. And you certainly did: We received more than 200,000 votes!

Below are the results. To find out what actually happened, read the stories themselves.

Mercy... Or Murder? When Michael Ryan was born 15 weeks premature and possibly suffering multiple birth defects, his parents, Dr. Greg and Traci Messenger, asked doctors not to use extraordinary efforts to save him. But the hospital put the child on life support, later arguing the boy had a good chance to survive and live a normal life. Dr. Messenger and his wife felt differently: they removed their child from the respirator and their son died in his parents' arms. Dr. Messenger was charged with manslaughter.

Should he have been charged with manslaughter for removing his son from life support?
FINAL RESULTS:
Yes: 20%
No: 80%


Rough Justice: When retired Wichita, KS Police Officer Lori Palmer discovered that her long-time friend Scott Phillips might be a child molester, she did what every good citizen might do - she reported him to the police. But when she felt they weren't going to act fast enough, she decided to take matters into her own hands. That's because the child Phillips had molested was Lori's own daughter. She picked up Phillips in her car, drove him to a field just outside of town and forced him to confess. Phillips was arrested, but so was Lori Palmer, charged with felony kidnapping.

Should she have been charged with kidnapping for taking matters into her own hands?
FINAL RESULTS:
Yes: 21%
No: 79%


A Father's Dream: High school senior Jenna Stricoff was an honors student. Her father was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. His dream was to see his daughter graduate. Determined to make that a reality, Jenna accelerated her course load so she would graduate early. But one morning, she drank vodka with friends and went to school under the influence. She was caught, and under the school’s “zero tolerance” policy, she must serve a mandatory one-year suspension. But if Jenna is out a year, her father won’t live to see her graduate. Should the school make an exception to its zero tolerance policy in Jenna's case?

Should the school make an exception to its zero tolerance policy in Jenna's case?
FINAL RESULTS:
Yes: 58%
No: 42%


Recipe For Trouble: Debbie Jeffries of Rocklin Ca. has a troubled child. Eight-year-old Jeff has been diagnosed with a long list of behavioral disorders. Sixteen doctors and powerful prescription medication couldn’t stop Jeff’s violent, uncontrollable outbursts. Last May, authorities concluded Jeff was a danger to himself and others and were about to place him in a county run facility. Then a doctor recommended giving Jeff marijuana. In California, medical marijuana is used to treat pain from illnesses like cancer and AIDS. Debbie took a chance that it might also help Jeff. It did. He became happy and well behaved. But when Child Protective Services found out, Debbie says they accused her of being an unfit mother and putting Jeff at risk. Now a judge must decide if Debbie can continue giving Jeff the drug. Without it, Debbie says she can’t control Jeff and will be forced to hand him over to the county. Should Debbie be allowed to keep giving her 8-year-old son medical marijuana?

Should Debbie be allowed to keep giving her 8-year-old son medical marijuana?
FINAL RESULTS:
Yes: 89%
No: 11%

  • David Kohn

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