Wednesday, June 13, 2012

15-Year-Old Sentenced After Bringing Airsoft Pistol to School

A 15-year-old boy from Wellsville is in trouble after reports of a pistol on the Genesee Valley Central School grounds. The Allegany County Sheriff's Department tells WVTT News Radio they got a call about an unknown male displaying a pistol, but they determined the 15-year-old had an airsoft pistol the looked like the real thing. The boy was arrested for menacing and was sentenced in Allegany County Family Court on both the menacing charge and previous probation related offenses to one year at Randolph Children's Home in Cattaraugus County.

1 comment:

  1. This case is perhaps the most egregious example of denial of due process that I have ever seen in ten years as a juvenile justice advocate.

    First, a judge has deprived a young man of his freedom for an entire year based on an incident that occurred only one day before the matter came before the court.

    Second, why is this young man being incarcerated for something that does not present a present threat to public safety -- or even a threat to public safety at the time of the incident? After all, when the police could not locate the young man after the incident, they deemed him not to be an immediate threat.

    Third, although the article mentions that the boy was questioned in his mother's presence, it makes no reference to legal counsel. Sending someone away for a year for an incident that happened the day before and posed no threat to anyone before, during, or after the episode is a draconian penalty. The youth should have had a lawyer in his corner.

    Finally, why was this young man sentenced to a term of incarceration that would be the maximum sentence if he were an adult?

    No trial, no rights, no due process, maximum sentence. That is not justice, especially not juvenile justice. When rights no longer matter and when we fail our youth, we fail every way we can fail.