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This file photo released Feb. 15, 2018, by the Vermont State Police shows Jack Sawyer from Poultney, Vt., accused of planning “to shoot up” his former high school. Sawyer, a teenager charged with planning a shooting at his former high school, never carried out the crime and should be granted bail, his lawyer argued before a state Supreme Court panel on Tuesday, April 3. (Photo: Vermont State Police via AP, File)

The Vermont Supreme Court has ruled that prosecutors did not have enough evidence to hold Jack Sawyer without bail – a ruling that may bolster calls by the defense to dismiss the case. The case has fascinated legal experts who say it is forcing the state to grapple with the difficult issue of when intent to do something becomes an actual crime.

Sawyer is the 18-year old Poultney man accused of a thwarted plot to shoot up Fair Haven Union High School.

Lawyers point out Vermont already sets a high bar when it comes to proving a crime has been attempted.

Dan Sedon, a long-time defense attorney in Vermont, not involved in the Sawyer case, says it becomes even harder when the case involves a teenager. “Because teenagers are to some extent prone to dramatic statements and dramatic gestures.”

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