Two people have been indicted in relation with an accident that killed two young pedestirans who were crossing the road. The Boston Globe article reports that the indictments include motor vehicle homicide, aggravated assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, manslaughter, negligent motor vehicle homicide.
Negligent motor vehicle homicide cases are tough because they are essentially nothing more than a negligent operation of a motor vehicle case gone horribly wrong. There are very few times when someone can go to jail simply for being negligent -- which means failing to exercise the care that a reasonable peson would. Most criminal statutes require "mens rea" or a criminal intent, but negligent motor vehicle homicide is an exception. Even worse for the defendant in such cases, the fact that the person driving the other car might also have been negligent is not a defense. Meanwhile, as is the case here, everyone's first thought is with the families who have lost a loved one in the tragedy.
These are difficult cases. They have to be defended carefully and require a lot of attention. The jury has to see who the defendant is, and be persuaded not to jump to the conclusion that just because someone died, and there is someone else sitting in the defendant's chair, that the right thing is to find that person guilty.