Posted: 5/16/2002 11:12:14 AM EDT
Spitball Could Land Boy in Prison
Thu May 16, 7:50 AM ET
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - An errant spitball that put a fellow student in the hospital with an eye injury could land a 13-year-old California boy in juvenile prison for up to eight years on two felony convictions.
"I feel bad about it, and I'm sorry," Jeffrey Figueroa told the San Francisco Chronicle, which on Wednesday reported his run-in with the law.
Figueroa has admitted that he shot the spitball -- a gum wrapper moistened with saliva -- on the first day of school last September at a middle school in the San Francisco suburb of Walnut Creek, California.
Jeffrey said he was not aiming at anybody in particular. But the spitball hit a 14-year-old boy in the right eye, requiring a trip to the hospital and surgery.
Jeffrey and his 14-year-old brother Stephen, who allegedly urged Jeffrey to fire the spitball, both were charged with battery causing serious bodily injury, assault with a deadly weapon, assault by force likely to produce great bodily injury, and mayhem.
Last Tuesday, Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge Araceli Ramirez found Jeffrey guilty of battery causing serious bodily injury and mayhem, both felonies. His brother was found guilty on a lesser charge.
The Chronicle said that Jeffrey, who has had two heart surgeries and has Attention Deficit Disorder, now faces a sentence of up to eight years in a California Youth Authority prison when he is sentenced next month.
"What we have is an unfortunate accident with injury to a child, but what one time had been horseplay has now been, by the D.A. (district attorney), elevated to felony status, just on the basis of the unfortunate outcome of an accidental act," said attorney Marek Reavis, who is representing Stephen Figueroa.
The district attorney's office declined to comment on the Figueroa case on Wednesday, saying that because it dealt with juveniles the court records had been sealed.
But Jeffrey Figueroa's mother, Yvette, told the Chronicle her son's possible prison term came as a shock.
"All along we've had a lot of confidence that the judicial system would actually prove that Jeffrey and Stephen were innocent in this," she said. "We're totally in shock that they've been overcharged for something that was a terrible accident."
California.... WHY is it always california? can anyone answer that?
How did a spitball cause grave bodily injury? I'll bet most of teh real damage was done when the kid clawed the spitball out.
How is a spitball a lethal weapon and how was that a friggin' felony?
It's a stupid accident not a premeditated act intended to cause harm.
These prosecutors need to have the tables reversed on them. They need to be countersued by some of the people whose lives they ruin with these over-aggressive prosecutions.
Just 20 years ago we used to shoot spitballs around all the time and no-one made a big deal about it. Heck we'd fold up paper tightly into little "v" shapes and fire those with the heaviest rubber bands we could find. They stung like hell, but no-one ever got all worked up about it. When I was in elementary school, a bunch of us would go out to the extreme corner of the recess field and brawl for 40 minutes. We'd come back joking and talking with guys that two minutes ago we were busy grinding each others faces into the dust. Our soccer games invariably degenerated into matches of "kill the kid with the ball" free-for alls. We'd get bruised and bloody and no-one really gave a damn. Now here's the real kicker...this went on in suburban Massachusetts, not rural Oklahoma or any of the other places urban idiots would expect.
Somehow, in the past twenty-five years, a bunch of folks have gotten into authority who have absolutely NO sense of perspective. The zero-tolerance rules that are absolutely ruining young people's futures are another clear example of this crap. Administrators and teachers put in place rigid rules that absolve them of any requirement to use their judgement when dealing with things.
I'd have been suspended a couple dozen times if I had grown up under the rules they enforce now. I started carrying a pocket knife on a daily basis in middle school. I brought gun magazines into school starting in high school and was reading some pretty provocative stuff in elementary school (I was well into the Conan novel series in 4th grade and some of those covers were REAL racy.) Virtually every bookcover, notebook or folder I owned from about 5th grade on was heavily decorated with drawings of 1911's swords and armored barbarians wreaking havoc. I'd never have made it through high school these days without being forced to attend psychological counselling which I didn't need since I knew there was a pretty distinct line between fact and fantasy and my christian values built a real solid and high brick wall on top of that.
Modern society has chosen to replace morals and ethics with rules and proceedures.
Spitballs are now deadly wepons? I think that's [img]http://webpages.charter.net/jeff.hoeft/pics/BS1.gif[/img].
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters)
only in kalifornia
from same old [img]http://webpages.charter.net/jeff.hoeft/pics/BS1.gif[/img].
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters)
Damn straight. Same old [img]http://webpages.charter.net/jeff.hoeft/pics/BS1.gif[/img].
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