The Easter Bunny’s Tale
News Report from April 9, 2023
The Easter Bunny is in trouble. A number of residents caught him in the act in the very early morning hours on April 9th, and called the local police. Mr. Bunny faces a number of misdemeanor charges, all arising from what he describes as his “traditional” duties. Fortunately for Mr. Bunny, the local judiciary read the excellent research done in Maryland on the use of mediation to resolve misdemeanor crimes. Charkoudian, Walter, Harmon-Darrow, and Bernstein, Mediation in Criminal Misdemeanor Cases, CCJLS, V.22, Issue 3, pps 14-29 (2021) (available at, https://ccjls.scholasticahq.com/article/30144-mediation-in-criminal-misdemeanor-cases) Rather than going down the rabbit-hole of law and procedure that a courtroom trial of a celebrity rabbit would entail, the assigned judge referred the case to mediation.
Mr. Bunny faces the following charges: trespassing, including damage to the gardens of several city residents, and littering. The county prosecutor is considering additional charges for false and deceptive trade practices and contributing to the delinquency of minors. There were further ongoing investigations about the source of the candy made to look like eggs.
The investigators’ report stated that at approximately 3:30am on Sunday, April 9th, the police department (and city animal control) received one or more calls about a trespasser described as 5’ 6’’ to 6’ tall, with long floppy ears, wearing blue pants and carrying something in a basket lurking about in the gardens and lawns of several homes. At least one resident was able to snap a photo under exterior motion-activated lights. The police were dispatched and quickly spied a figure matching the description hightailing it away from a resident’s garden. After a brief chase, Mr. Bunny was apprehended and booked. The judge was persuaded that this would not likely be a case of hare today, gone tomorrow, and released him without requiring bail.
A few hours later, as the sun came up, further evidence of Mr. Bunny’s alleged crimes was revealed as children began to find objects in their yards which appeared at first to be eggs, but subsequently proved to be confectionery. The children became eggcited by these finds, and began to search for more, inducing them to commit their own trespasses by hopping from one neighbor’s yard or garden to another. Evidence of litter, left in the gardens and yards, matched eggsactly the contents of the basket in Mr. Bunny’s possession at the time of his arrest. The investigation also found substantial damages to several gardens, with flowers having been trampled. It is not clear whether that damage was caused directly by Mr. Bunny, or by the children, fueled by the foreseeable spikes in their blood glucose levels from the consumption of Mr. Bunny’s confections. The district attorney is still considering charges of contributing the delinquency of minors given the foreseeable result of Mr. Bunny’s enticing the children to trespass in search of more faux eggs.
Further, the district attorney is researching the potential for additional claims of false and deceptive trade practices citing the fact that Mr. Bunny was apparently trying to pass off candy as brightly colored eggs, a healthy source of protein. Although the motive is unclear, there were several incriminating eggsamples proving an extensive effort to deceive by shaping the confectionery as eggs and the use of plastic egg-shapes with candy hidden inside. The precise connection between Mr. Bunny and eggs remains uneggsplained.
The county prosecutor has demanded compensation to be paid to the residents’ whose gardens or lawns were damaged as a direct or indirect result of Mr. Bunny’s trespasses and littering. He has further suggested public service in the form of talking with school children about proper nutrition, emphasizing the virtues of raw vegetables like carrots, for instance, over the consumption of candy. The residents also raised concerns about recidivism, stating that there has been an annual repetition of similar damages occurring for some time, always in early Spring.
Mr. Bunny defends himself by proclaiming that he is an upstanding citizen of the community, with a good job at the local IHOP. He claims his stroll through the neighborhood on the morning of April 9th was following a well-established cultural hareitage worthy of legal protections, and that his activity, taken alone, caused no damages whatsoever. He cites that even the President of the United States performs this cultural festivity on the lawn of the White House. He describes spending many hours spent holed-up preparing for this traditional role, which affords no compensation or benefits, despite the physical exertion required. He contends that his charity and hard work are eggsemplary and that the children enjoy this annual fun. He pleads for some means for the continuation of the tradition, while acknowledging some damage may have resulted this year.
It will be up to the skills of the mediator to help the parties find a happy ending to Mr. Bunny’s tale.
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