Bad Ideas

Balloon Boy Parents to Plead Guilty

Falcon Heene Balloon Boy hoax.jpgOur long, national, helium induced nightmare is almost over. CNN is reporting that Richard and Mayumi Heene — parents of Falcon “Balloon Boy” Heene — will plead guilty tomorrow:

The Larimer County district attorney’s office Thursday said Richard Heene has been charged with one count of attempting to influence a public servant, a felony, and Mayumi Heene has been charged with one count of false reporting to authorities, a misdemeanor.
Richard Heene turned himself in Thursday afternoon and was released on his own recognizance, authorities said.
The Heenes will appear Friday in Larimer County Court, where they are expected to plead guilty, their attorneys said.

I think we’ve all learned an important lesson. Children, be they in a balloon, down a well, with a fox, or in a box, do not constitute breaking national news.
Not that there is going to be a lot of sympathy for the Heenes, but it does appear that they got strong armed into this guilty plea.
Details after the jump.

Mayumi Heene is a Japanese citizen, and so the government was able to pull out some old school intimidation tactics to make sure the couple agreed to the guilty plea:

The threat of deportation for Mayumi Heene was a factor in the plea deal negotiation, the attorney’s statement said.
“Mayumi Heene is a citizen of Japan. As such, any felony conviction or certain misdemeanors would result in her deportation, even though her husband and children are Americans,” the statement said.
“It is supremely ironic that law enforcement has expressed such grave concern over the welfare of the children, but it was ultimately the threat of taking the children’s mother from the family and deporting her to Japan which fueled this deal.”

I don’t know if “ironic” is the right word there. Well, maybe in the Alanis Morissette sense of the word. Certainly, Mayumi and Richard might have wanted to think through their immigration situation before executing their devilish hoax.
Then again, I wonder what would have happened to this couple if they had pulled this stunt with Japanese authorities. There’s that great Simpson’s line: “In America, you reward knowledge. In Japan, we punish ignorance.”
Dad in ‘balloon boy’ case turns himself in [CNN]
‘Balloon Boy’ parents expected to plead guilty []

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