Court declares youth prison, not juvenile hall, for mentally ill boy Contra Costa, who stabbed his brother’s friend with a hunting knife

SAN FRANCISCO – The Court of Appeals upheld Judge Contra Costa’s decision to send a teenager to a detention center run by the California prison system, rather than a juvenile hall, for stabbing him. his friend’s son with a hunting knife, nearly killing the victim.

The Concord teenager, who this newspaper did not name, was 16 years old in May 2019, when he used an 8 inch long hunting knife stabbed his 14-year-old friend’s brother nine times, then ran to nearby Dairy Queen on Treat Avenue, then asked an employee if he could use his phone. He then called 911 and explained that he believed the victim would kill him and that he might be suffering from mental illness, according to court records.

The boy ultimately accepted a plea agreement and a aggravated assault sentence, as well as a six-year remand term, according to the appeals court’s decision. That left Judge John Kennedy to make a decision: whether to send him to the juvenile hall or the much more limited Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Juvenile Justice Division, previously. called the California Youth Agency, which functions similarly to the adult prison environment.

In upholding Kennedy’s decision to hand over the teenager to DJJ, the First District Court of Appeals noted in its decision last November that the boy was found in possession of a weapon in a ballroom. minors and there was some violence. Perhaps most notably, when Kennedy sentenced him, he “punched and knocked over the camera in the courtroom” then punched and kicked two officers who tried to restrain him, according to the decision.

On appeal, the teenager argued that failure to convict him of the Juvenile Prison Juvenile Offender Treatment Program was an “abuse of self-determination”. In dismissing this, the appellate court judges wrote that the DJJ system has services for people with “severe mental health needs.”

“In addition, DJJ has an intensive behavioral treatment program for people with mental illness who are aggressive and violent,” the decision said. “There is evidence in the record that DJJ programs will provide (adolescents) with extensive, long-term substance abuse and behavior counseling in a highly structured, disciplined environment. the law and being closely monitored will benefit him. Furthermore, the DJJ has safety procedures in place to ensure the wards do not possess weapons.”

At the time, authorities considered the stabbing a murder plot and said fortunately the victim did not die. He was stabbed in the back and torso and had to rush to Clayton Valley Charter High School, where a medical helicopter landed to take him to Oakland Children’s Hospital, where he was listed in critical condition. dramatic.

The incident is similar to the infamous April 2015 murder of a 9-year-old boy, who was stabbed to death in his home in Discovery Bay while the boy was sleeping. In that case, the killer said he believed the apocalypse was looming, based on a mental illness that caused paranoia, and wanted to see what it was like to kill someone. During the Concord stabbing, the teenager was smoking marijuana when he fixed on the victim and assaulted him inside the living room of the house where they were hanging out. When police arrived, the boy talked about “strange things happening around this neighborhood” and “the people who were following him,” and said he believed the victim intended to kill him. Court declares youth prison, not juvenile hall, for mentally ill boy Contra Costa, who stabbed his brother’s friend with a hunting knife

Huynh Nguyen

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