In Case You Missed It: The Week In Juvenile Justice

Our weekly review of juvenile justice news here and abroad.

TEEN CHARGED AS ADULT: “A 16-year-old Gage Park High school student was sitting next to his bedroom window watching TV when a 15-year-old opened fire from the street outside, striking him in the neck and killing him, prosecutors said,” the Tribune reported Tuesday.

“Rasaan Price, who recently finished his freshman year at Bowen High School and is also known as ‘Solo,’ appeared in court this afternoon charged as adult with the July 23 murder of Darren Foggey, Jr.

“It’s sad when you’ve got 15-year-olds killing 16-year-olds with handguns,” Judge Donald Panarese, Jr. said before ordering Price held without bail.

“Foggey’s shooting may be part of an ongoing dispute between two gang factions in the area, which included an incident in which someone was shot at earlier in the day on the same block, sources have said.”

“Until we get to the root, we’re going to lose them to this or we’re going to bury them,” Price’s aunt told the Tribune. “They need to start holding these grown folks accountable because they’re getting these guns from an adult somewhere.”

JUVENILE DETENTION SUICIDES: “Incarcerated youth die by suicide at a rate two to three times higher than that of youth in the general population,” the Northwestern Juvenile Project reported in a new bulletin.

“[Researchers examined] suicidal thoughts and behaviors among 1,829 youth ages 10 to 18 in the Northwestern Juvenile Project – a longitudinal study of youth detained at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center in Chicago.

“Approximately 1 in 10 juvenile detainees (10.3 percent) thought about suicide in the past 6 months, and 11 percent had attempted suicide.”

POT, LOOPHOLE: “Most drug violations in [Chicago Public Schools] involve an ounce or less of marijuana,” Catalyst Chicago reports in its summer edition, “Crime and Punishment.”

“Schools are quick to call police, yet rarely have the resources to offer education, counseling or other non-punitive help to students.”

Also in the package:

“In June, CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett heralded changes to the Student Code of Conduct that she said will reduce disparities in how school discipline is carried out and ultimately cut the number of suspensions and expulsions.

“But Catalyst Chicago has discovered that officials slipped a loophole into the new code that will allow principals to request a transfer for a student who has been referred for expulsion—even without a hearing.”

GRAFFITI BRIDGE TO NOWHERE: “Aldermen are [signed off] Wednesday on a mayoral proposal that would increase the fines for those convicted of illegal graffiti—even though one of the measure’s chief sponsors says that such fines are rarely collected,” the Reader reported.

“The ordinance, introduced by Mayor Rahm Emanuel last month, is the latest plan out of City Hall to get tough on graffiti, which aldermen decry as a scourge that’s getting worse, though city records show reports of it have fluctuated for years.

“The ordinance would increase the fines for those convicted of graffiti from $750 to a range between $1,500 and $2,500. The fine would be $1,000 for the guardians of minors busted for it. Judges would also have the option of imposing additional community service time or a stint in jail.

“The mayor’s office wouldn’t say at this time exactly what had prompted the new ordinance. ‘While requests for graffiti removal have increased in recent years, the fines for graffiti have not been increased for nearly a decade,’ said a written statement from the mayor’s office. ‘Increasing these fines will be a deterrent to future acts of vandalism and will also complement our robust graffiti removal program.’

“But it’s not clear that the current law is being enforced. Alderman Michael Zalewski (23rd Ward), who’s cosponsoring the ordinance, said fines are so rarely collected that the notion of generating money from enforcement is ‘fictional.’

“Officials with the city’s finance department said they could not immediately provide figures showing how many graffiti fines have been paid.”

HOUSING IMMIGRANT CHILDREN: “Illinois could become a temporary home for Central American children as part of an effort to find housing for the thousands of immigrants flooding into the U.S.,” the Southern reported Saturday.

“In a statement issued Friday, a spokesman for Gov. Pat Quinn said the state will help find lodging for the children if asked.

“‘If a location is needed we are prepared to aid the federal government in finding a suitable one,’ spokesman Grant Klintzman said.”

Among the possibilities: Two shuttered state juvenile detention facilities in Murphysboro and Joliet.

MINNESOTA SCHOOL PLOT: “The Waseca County attorney’s office announced Wednesday it will appeal the recent dismissal of attempted murder charges brought against Waseca teen John LaDue, who is accused of plotting a school shooting,” the Mankato Free Press reported Wednesday.

“In response, LaDue’s defense said they plan to request a new review of his conditions of release. LaDue is being held in a juvenile detention center in Red Wing.

“LaDue was originally charged in May with four felony counts of attempted murder, two felony counts of criminal damage to property and six felony counts of possessing explosive material. The attempted murder charges were filed after LaDue told police he had planned to kill his family before attacking the school with firearms and home-made explosives.

“Waseca County Judge Gerald Wolf dismissed the attempted murder charges and criminal damage charges on Monday. He said the prosecution failed to prove LaDue had made a substantial step toward his plot beyond ‘mere preparation.'”

DALLAS SCHOOLMATE KILLING: “A second Wylie teen accused of killing a schoolmate will be tried as an adult, state District Judge Cynthia Wheless ruled,” the Dallas Morning News reported Thursday.

“The decision comes after a three-day hearing this week to determine if Adam Staup, 16, would remain in the juvenile justice system or be certified as an adult.

“Wheless ruled last week that Brenden Bridges, 17, would also be transferred to the adult court.

“The suspects are accused in the March 8 murder of Ivan Mejia, 17, in a dispute over a girl. All the teens attended Wylie East High School.”

WASHINGTON LAWSUIT: “In 2010 James Mills was convicted as a juvenile of second-degree assault and second-degree robbery,” the Auburn Reporter reported Thursday.

“The trial judge then placed the Kent youth under the supervision of the Juvenile Justice and Rehabilitation Administration, part of the Department of Social and Health Services, which despite his frequent violations of the conditions of his parole, allowed him to be free.

“A year later, on May 22 2011, Mills shot and killed 16-year-old Adrian Wilson and wounded another youth at a backyard barbecue at the Aspen Meadows Apartments in Auburn.

“So says Gabriel Wilson, father of the dead boy, and the family of another young man wounded in the same shooting. And now they have filed a civil suit against the state of Washington, claiming that it should have done more to stop Mills.”

RECIDIVISM RESEARCH: “One in five states fails to track youth recidivism, according to a new report by the non-profit Council of State Governments and National Reentry Resource Center,” the Crime Report noted Monday.

“Researchers surveyed every state’s juvenile correctional agencies and found that 20 percent do not track recidivism data. Even among those that do, the study finds, most track ‘only one type of contact with the justice system.’”

PRESS PATROL: Why The Newark Post Names Juvenile Suspects.

INDIA AGE DEBATE: “The Indian government must reject proposed amendments to juvenile justice laws that will allow children to be treated as adults in serious crimes, Amnesty International said Thursday,” the Indo-Asian News Service reported.

IRELAND IRE: “A circuit court judge has strongly criticized the juvenile justice system as being incapable of dealing with violent young men who ‘prowl the streets taking their opportunities as they arrive,'” the Irish Examiner reported Wednesday.

“Judge Patrick McCartan was speaking as he sentenced three Dublin men for a vicious city-centre attack on two US tourists who had tried to stop a robbery.

“U.S. stockbroker Garth Russell suffered permanent facial scarring as a result of the attack and still has glass embedded under his eye. The court heard his career was ‘significantly stunted’ and his marriage had also suffered. His brother Patrick’s arm was broken.

“Judge McCartan said the three attackers had come through the ‘well-worn path’ of the juvenile criminal justice system, which did not seem ‘in any way adequately resourced or capable of dealing with them.’

“He said the three men had been through the courts time and time again and were offered all the alternatives to custodial sentences, including community services, probation supervision, and fines.”

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