When I first got picked up I was really scared but I knew what I had done was wrong. I had been breaking into houses for a while now. Always in and out real quick and I always picked the houses where I knew the owners were at work because they all lived on the same street as me so I knew their schedules as well as I knew my own. But this time it was different someone decided to come home early and caught me right in the act. I froze I couldn’t move, couldn’t make my legs work. My mind was saying, “Run, run, run” but it’s like my legs were not even a part of my body at the time.
So there I was standing in their hallway with a fist full of jewelry that I hadn’t quite gotten into my back pack yet to add with the new game console I found still in its box in the closet. I remember laughing as I took the game and shoved it in my bag thinking wow it’s not even open yet must have been a gift for someone, thinking to myself, “It’s my gift now! ” The owner of the house yelled at me and told me I better not move. Even though I had a concealed weapon in my back pack I didn’t reach for it. Frozen in fear I did just that and I didn’t move an inch until the police arrived.
Just like I had seen on so many shows the police showed up and handcuffed me like a common criminal, read me my Mirada Rights, and literally threw me in the back seat of the police squad. So there I sat in the back of the squad car just a couple of days after my seventeenth birthday knowing what was going to happen next as I had been down this road before. My mind raced as we drove to the police station in what seemed to be the longest ride I had ever taken in my life even thought the police station was only 3 miles away from my home.
It was a warm sunny day here in Southern California and I could think of a hundred other places I would rather be than sitting here while a probation officer during intake at the Juvenile Detention Facility asks me several questions about myself, my family, and what I had done and of course my previous record came up. Purse snatching, other breaking and entering and drug possession were on my juvenile record each one of these offenses adding to the points entered into the Risk Assessment Instrument. After speaking with me he stated he would contact my parents, which he did immediately.
After this I was informed that because of the concealed weapon he thought I was a danger to others and he recommended that I be detained. He also advised me that they had 48 hours to request a petition by the district attorney at which point the charges being brought against me I would have to answer to them in the Juvenile Court. I was then advised that because the probation officer was recommending that I be detained that I would have to go to a detention hearing which would be held the following day after the petition had been filed (San Bernardino County Probation, 2008).
At my detention hearing the judge was provided with the Probable Cause Affidavit provided by the arresting officer and the victim whose house I had broken into. The judge also reviewed the RAI to ensure the points had been calculated correctly. He then had to determine if I should be further detained pending further proceedings in the case or if I should be released. Because my mom could not afford an attorney I was assigned to a Public Defender. The judge listened to both my defense counsel and the district attorney arguments (Haworth, 2008).
My mother was notified about the hearing and to my surprise she showed up. My mother has always taken a stand against the crimes I had committed in the past; even turning me in at one point so to see her there was such a relief to me. The judge determined that I should remain in detention for further processing. Formal charges were brought against me by the office of the State Attorneys office. They called these formal charges are the delinquency petition. My arraignment would be next because of the overwhelming evidence against me I decided to own up to what I had done and plead guilty.
After my arraignment and my guilty plea I was given two dates, one was to meet with a representative from the Department of Juvenile Justice to determine an appropriate disposition of my case and the other was for my return to court for my sentencing. I would have to wait in custody for about 30 days until my return court date (Haworth, 2008). Twenty eight days after I was detained it was finally time for my Disposition Option. I looked around the court room and there she was.
I knew at that point that my mother was the one person in my life who I could depend on but who I had let down time and time again. My heart felt heavy as I heard the judge say I would be sentenced to another year in Juvenile Hall. The judge also requested that upon my release I would have to perform 200 hours of community service as well as provide restitution to the victims of the homes I had broken into. I looked back at my mom as the tears streamed down her face and I started to think of all the things I would miss over the next year.
No prom, no graduation, and even if my mom could afford to send me to college those options were no longer available to me because of the wrong choices I decided to make. My home for the next year would be Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall in Sylmar.
Haworth, L. (2008). 12th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida. Retrieved from http://12circuit. state. fl. us/ProgramsampServices/FamilyDivisionInformation/JuvenileCourtProcedures. aspx San Diego County Probation. (2008). Retrieved from http://www. sdcounty. ca. gov/probation/docs/Understanding_the_Juvenile_Justice_System_web. pdf