And when asked of the bleeding hearts what their solution to the problem of youth related gun violence would be, they'd tell you we need stricter gun control laws.
Youth violence is rife, jurist says
By Raja Mishra, Globe Staff | August 24, 2005
A loud pop on a city street corner. A gun confiscated. A 12-year-old boy arrested. Amid the daily grind at Boston Juvenile Court, it was pedestrian fare, and prosecutors requested $5,000 bail.
But to Judge Paul D. Lewis, the case was fresh evidence of a world gone mad. He set 50 times the bail, $250,000 cash, for the South End boy yesterday morning.
The boy's lawyer said he was developmentally disabled and had a clean record. Even police and prosecutors were stunned by the amount.
It was a striking decision in an otherwise routine case that exposed the frustrations and complexities of managing persistent urban youth violence that confronts the courts and families in need every day.
''These kids don't take responsibility for anything," Lewis, 64, said in an interview after the court hearing. ''They're fearless. It's out of control. It's beyond out of control."
The boy, whose name was withheld by police because he is a juvenile, was taken into custody yesterday at a Department of Youth Services pretrial detention center. His mother, a nurse's aide, could not come close to raising the high bail, the boy's lawyer said yesterday.
''I was shocked," said the lawyer, Mariann Samaha, who plans to appeal the bail. ''God, he's 12 years old. He has no judgment."
But Mayor Thomas M. Menino supported Lewis's decision.
''You have to send messages that we're not going to tolerate guns on the streets," Menino said, adding that he thought many youths believe they can elude the justice system.
''I think you have to send messages," the mayor said. ''Too many kids think this is a lock. With so many kids getting killed, it's not a lock."
Lewis, with 23 years on the juvenile bench, said he has lost patience with gun-toting youths, saying, ''We are not going to tolerate any child in our jurisdiction being in possession of a gun."
Lewis, who has seen many similar gun cases move through his courtroom, said young people are not the only ones at fault. ''The lack of parenting is so incredible when you sit every day in court," he said.
Samaha said her young client's mother, who is preparing to attend nursing school this fall, was trying her best to care for her child. ''His mother is a hard-working woman trying to make a better life for herself," she said, adding that her client is ''a special-needs student" at a Charlestown public school.
''He doesn't quite understand what's going on" with his arrest, Samaha said. She said the boy had no prior trouble with the law.
The incident unfolded at about 5 p.m. Monday in the South End, according to police.
Officers heard a loud bang at the intersection of Harrison Avenue and Randolph Street and saw the 12-year-old boy running off, according to police. They approached a 20-year-old man and an 11-year-old boy on the corner, who explained they had been lighting firecrackers, police said. The officers found no evidence of fireworks.
Soon, the 12-year-old returned, carrying a black bandana, police said. Searching the bandana, officers found a loaded Smith & Wesson .38-caliber handgun, police and prosecutors said. One round had been fired, and one remained in the chamber, authorities said. The boy was arrested.
In court yesterday, the boy was arraigned on a juvenile firearms possession charge, which carries a maximum sentence of DYS supervision until age 18. Suffolk County prosecutors asked for $5,000 bail.
''The purpose of bail is to ensure the defendant returns for trial; a 12-year-old is going to have less means to flee than an adult," said David Procopio, a spokesman for the Suffolk district attorney's office. ''We felt that $5,000 was a fair request."
Lewis set bail at $250,000. By comparison, another Boston Juvenile Court judge set a $200,000 bail last November on a 16-year-old boy charged with sexually assaulting a Beacon Hill woman at gunpoint.
In an interview, Lewis would not comment specifically on the case, nor would he say if he has acted similarly in previous cases. Asked about ignoring prosecutors' request for $5,000 bail, Lewis said judges can set bail at whatever amount they think is appropriate.
''That really isn't an issue here," he said. ''The issue here is a 12-year-old with a gun. . . . Drug and gang activity absolutely has increased the presence of guns in urban areas."
Larry Mayes, chief of human services for the city of Boston, said Lewis's decision did little to address the complex social problems that result in juvenile crime.
''I agree with the judge's frustration," Mayes said. ''I think he should be applauded for trying to highlight a serious problem. But how will this save this kid's life? Can it and will it? I don't know."
''There's a deeper question of parental responsibility," he said. ''There's a deeper question of where he got the gun."
Lewis, who attended Suffolk University Law School and formerly taught at Boston College Law School, was appointed to the Boston juvenile bench in 1982. He presides over cases from Boston, Chelsea, Winthrop, and Revere, cities that have juvenile crime rates among the highest in the state.
''I am alarmed and horrified when I see the types of cases I see here," he said. ''It goes beyond alarm."
Ban kids. It's for the children!
And THAT is why he is in jail where he belongs.
Maybe if Mommy raised him to HAVE some judgement (or at least as much as an ordinary 12 year old) he wouldn't be there.
Sounds like the boy needs to be locked up
Good, I am glad.
This is why we build jails.
Thats like the insanity plea. I don't get it. If you kill someone, crazy or not, you deserve to get locked up.
If your 12 y.o. boy gets caught with a pistol in public then you failed as a parent.
Damn Straight! you should teach them to CCW without printing
*I do not condone th echild's behaviour in any way shape or form, but I htink a kid having a firearm could be a good thing if said child was raised correctly and was not some punk gangbanger wannabe fuckup
.38 caliber revolvers dont have "chambers", they have cylinders
ETA: ok, looks like 9mm semi auto, but doesn't look like a Smith and Wesson
Reporters are fucktards when it comes to guns