Ep. 70 The Juvenile Court System
Neither everybody talking politics with another Friday podcast this week. We're going to have only one subject, and that subject is a federal judge slash juvenile detention facility scandal that is happening out of the eighth district, Pennsylvania. So not even close. Yes. So this is rush my tension because the New York Times ran an article this week. Whoa. Not at all this week. The New York Times ran an article in February about this sort of corruption happening in Pennsylvania having to do with juvenile court judges and juvenile detention facilities. So basically, what the article uncovered is that in Pennsylvania, there were two specific judges that they name that were taking kickbacks from these privately owned juvenile detention facilities to send kids to the juvenile detention facility. So basically, the more kids that they sent to the facility the more money, they got and so they were in this like symbiotic relationship with facilities to keep them alive and to keep them filled because you know, unlike adult facilities. Juvenile detention facilities are typically not full like it's really not an issue unless you're in super odd places. Like, I think I think LA has some issues like that with their juvenile detention facilities, but in the majority of the country, you know, most miners are not in jail, and it's kind of rare to find a juvenile detention facility. That's overrun or anything like that. And so what had happened in Pennsylvania with that the same companies that were going in and taking advantage of privatizing. Adult prisons had decided to take advantage and privatized some of these juvenile detention facilities as well and had set up two separate ones. But then basically were not having enough kids coming to them like there just wasn't enough. Supply the kids were too earnest and good in that area. They they weren't committing bad enough offenses. So they bribed these judges to send kids to juvie that otherwise would never have set foot in juvie. And so the example given in this New York Times article is a student her name her name is Hilary trans you, and she basically built a spoof my space page, mocking the assistant principal at her high school. She was a like a plus Ceuta. She never been in trouble, the page stated at the bottom of it that this was a joke that none of what was sudden it was real and all that stuff, and because of this weird connection between public schools and the juvenile detention and juvenile court system her, you know, joke of a my space page got her in trouble at school, which then sent her. To juvenile court right because the teacher caught wind of it, right? Is caught wind of it? And obviously, they sent her to the principal's office or whatever to to, you know, fix the issue. Yeah. Yes. And then the principal who was probably a little over his Ellis at this point in the situation because he had been mocked sent her to juvenile court. It was mocking the principal and the knee officiate in the student had to go to the principal. Okay. So then the principal sent her to out court and end juvenile core. The judge that she was that her case with a to with one of these two judges that was getting kickbacks from the juvenile detention facilities. So Hillary at seventeen in two thousand seven was sentenced to three months in juvenile detention for making a spoof my space page, mocking her assistant principal having had no other behavioral ish. Issues having done nothing that was you know, actually, doing damage or causing harm to anyone spent three months in juvie. So as a Trojan as that situation is now the Pennsylvania state supreme court is faced with the issue of what do we do with the other five thousand juveniles who were sentenced by this particular, judge and the other thousands of juvenile sentenced by the other judge like kids went to juvie, you know. And are we supposed to look at all of these cases with scrutiny? So like for context, if you so this is only visit biggest case, I know where the top. So like in the Netflix documentary the staircase, right? There's this case, it's a murder cases in North Carolina. Whatever one of the expert witnesses was an F B I forensic scientists or whatever he claimed to be and. Basically his name was Deavere agent Deaver, and they found out at some point in his career that he had been giving like blatantly false pseudoscientific testimony with with basically stuff he just made up in his mind one day. And then with like, I'm gonna pass this office if it's a well established scientific theory right in court. And so when one of the cases got overturned because Deaver was an expert on them. Then you have to go back and look at all of the cases because now there's a legitimate question as to whether or not, you know, him just being an expert witness on a case puts into jeopardy the legitimacy of the decision on the case. Right. And so it's that but two thousand because this is a juvenile core. And in juvenile court, the judges king like there are no there's no jury in juvenile court. There's this concept that like you shouldn't. She basically shamed. And public when you're for something you did when you were a kid, right? Like something that you haven't been been convicted of either right that and the judge in this case, especially when it comes to juvenile courts. It's not like there's a lot of juvenile judges because those cases are relatively foreign few between as compared to adult judges. So in reality when the juvenile detention centers got these two juvenile court judges in their back pocket, they had almost all of the, you know, juvenile court cases in their back pocket. So you'd always have to throw out all of them in that area there wreaking havoc like, you know, having to like you said just having to judges a lot of havoc in the system. And, you know, the immediate problem for the state of Pennsylvania are lawsuits, I mean, this could be, you know, five thousand individual lawsuits against. The state of Pennsylvania, and whatever county these judges were presiding in whatever district they were in lieu federal judges. So it'd be a federal case wouldn't it. I guess you'd probably be suing the detention centers more than you are suing the federal judges though because the federal judges would be brought up on criminal charges by the federal courts, and then the detention facilities could be sued for at. I don't even know what you'd call it. I guess bribery suing. The state gets really weird you basically just end up doing everyone. And at the end of the day. It's just like the city or the county that you do it's it's actually a weird scenario like it gets really sticky because a lot of times if you even if you do successfully sue the state, they don't have any money, or if you successfully sue the county, you can get like a five mil I know happens a lot in Detroit, you can get like a five million dollar damage decision against like the city of Detroit. But then they have no money. So yeah, it gets super weird. And you're right. They would end up suing the. Detention facilities in whatever company owned and operated them probably solely because the detention facilities have money that they could get at where you know. You would be in your right to do the state or the county, but they won't have anything to give you so these would be like named co-defendants probably on the cases which would do its own damage. But yeah, they wouldn't be the ones paying the Bill at the end of the day. But it still like just because somebody else pays the Bill or the majority of the Bill doesn't mean that it doesn't ruin you. You know, like. Yeah. It's you can be held jointly and severally liable. You can be held liable for a portion of it where you basically have to pay a million or whatever. And you know, it's it's a blight on your entire career. It's a blight on the entire city. People lose faith in the system and in the Justice of the whole situation, which will get to later is there any Justice at all in juvenile court. But yeah, it's kind of it's insane in the tree and Sadie of this is that these are private detention facilities and the private detention facilities actually motivated or bribed or whatever you wanna call. It gave kickbacks to the judges to not only send convicted juvenile number one convict more juveniles but also send convicted juveniles to their descendants facilities. But also, I believe it said that they were they motivated them to shut down the state run detention center. Basically saying like that we don't need it anymore because these other two facilities are are able to handle the situation better and are more like up to date if that makes sense. Yeah. Yeah. You're correct. Yeah. And judges have a lot of control about like where you go to jail where you're actually in detention facilities. And so yeah, it has that they have a lot of control. And I think it's important understand that judges in the juvenile system have more control the judges and any other portion of the system like in other portions of the criminal system, you can have a jury trial. You can demand jury trial. Right. You can even you know. That's basically the most important part. You can demand a jury trial and your court. You know, anything that happens in in court for your case is open to the public. So any any shenanigans that the judge or jury or anybody might want? To get into like a you can have a reporter on the front row. It's open to the public, and there can be someone. They're trying to work to reveal the shenanigans. Right. Juvenile court isn't like that juvenile court is there is no there's I I don't know about other states. But there aren't they don't tend to be jury trials like I said because everything is supposed to be kind of closed for your own good. So that if you grow up to be a functioning member of society, none of it comes back to you in the ass. They're not open to the public a lot of the time. Like, there's a lot of things that are supposed to work as counter counter weights to corruption in adult court that don't happen juvenile court because we're trying to protect the identity of the juvenile's. But when it goes bad, it goes, really bad clearly because there there isn't that counter weight there, and we know it goes bad in the adult system. Even with all of that. So imagine the juvenile system right because there's no public or even even threat the public, right? Yeah. Or even just higher up in the government branches or divisions oversight. It seems like it seems like no like no federal no state administration was like in charge or tasked with monitoring the rate at which judges. Yeah. In the juvenile system, convict or things like that. Yeah. Although it does seem to although the article does seem to have a number saying that these judges had rate of ten to one as compared to the rest of the state, which is insanely high. It's so I mean, my brain is in like because of the case outta Mississippi. That's going to be in front of the supreme court in like a week. My brain is so tuned into like which cases that that is the. Curtis flowers. Yes. Oh because the Curtis flowers case out of Mississippi it's going to be heard in front of in front of the supreme court in like thirteen days. I believe or maybe it's only a week. I'm really interested in how they're going to view the raw numbers because the whole issue in the Curtis flowers case is the prosecutor in how the prosecutor used their strikes. Their jury strikes in Wadia, and whether or not the raw numbers of how he struck black. Jurors is going to. Suffice I guess to show the supreme court that there was prejudice. Because it's you know, it's unconstitutional strike adjoured just because of their race. So it's going to be really interesting to see how just the sheer numbers game works at that level. And how argument works, and so when you see something like this coming out of Pennsylvania where you know, these judges have ten to one. Sent to prison rate. Right. Like, how does a supreme court or an even just court of appeals treat the raw numbers? I guess if my question, and is it enough to say, oh, they convict they set people to detention facilities at a rate of ten to one than other judges. Right. Like, obviously in this situation. We also know that they actually were getting paid right? Didn't really be an indicator of anything because it should their convictions instead on their own if they're in a high crime area where a lot of kids are committing crimes, obviously the rate should be higher. But it's one of those things that like after the fact you look back you're like, oh, obviously that's an issue, and it should be like a warning signal because how often do you really have you know, someone that far out of the standard deviation? Yeah. Okay. So this leads me to the really screwed up. Thing that I learned this week about the juvenile court system. So you know, like, you said the number should be a warning. Right. And then someone should go. Let's look into the case on the merits and see if the merits of this case really make sense to send someone to juvenile detention facility. Right. And you look at this case. And you're like that's insane. Shouldn't her anyone. She didn't actually break any rules. You know, she used a website to make a joke, and whether or not you think it's smart or tactful or even funny doesn't super matter in terms of the courts in terms of Justice. Right. It doesn't seem to merit jail time, especially when if you think about if she is a year older and doing the same thing, it wouldn't have gone to any kind of would not even court never because she's not breaking wall. Right. And because you have three to speech she gets to do that. And even if she were like to actually because like this was obviously a joke account and things like that. And it was state. That it was a joke account. But like, even if you were to take the worst case scenario that maybe this articles being a little bit misleading in it actually was a pretty convincing fake account of this teacher, if she was eighteen nineteen years old, there would still be very little caused for it to be a criminal offence. She would have to be she would have to be perpetrating another crime. Yes. And the only crime I can think of that like maybe could be happening in that scenario would be she would have to be accusing the principle of crimes, and then she would have to like go to the cops on the side. Do you know what I mean like Igga or like or like wire fraud or something like actually giant tend to be the person with the intent to gain something monetarily or even socially? Yeah. It's hard to even imagine where the crime would come like comment. Right. So it's insane that it should because you're year younger. So this led me on a whole rabbit hole. The. I I thought was like so what can you do as a kid if you were a child enrolled in a public school like what do you do to end up in front of juvenile court? There's obvious things. You can rob a seven eleven you can like beat up a kid on side of the road and the cop show up. Right. So you can do criminal things that end you up in front of a juvenile court. Right. Like actual crimes, but there's this whole other category of things that are classified status offenses, which only end you up in a criminal court because you are the age you are and doing things, right? Oh, yeah. There's I actually talked about something a little bit similar on my side YouTube slash podcasting. Mr. autre, which was a case or an incident out of Florida where this kid wouldn't stand for the pledge of allegiance, and basically because he was being belligerent. They brought the cops into try to like take him to detention slash take him to tension. Ability, and then it escalated from there. So it's like seems like children have this extra level like this quicker level where they can just end up in some kind of detention center, right? It's important to know as well that across the board Saddad offenses, and that's a term used in all areas of criminal law status offenses are unconstitutional like you. So you cannot commit a crime because you're a woman you cannot commit a crime because you are black that no part of your status, it's a crime, constitutionally speaking at this point our country. Right. So obviously, you know, there were times when that wasn't true. But a big part of for instance, sodomy laws no longer being constitutional is that they are considered status. Offenses. It is just the act of being gay and in a relationship. Right. That makes you commit this offence. Totally health. Normal functioning human being, but because you're gay and you want to have sex offense. Right. So they're widely on constitutional. But when it comes to children, no one's addressed this and also the big status offense that gets thrown in the mix by people who want to continue to allow offenses for children is underage drinking. So the immediate when you start say status offense for minors. Right. The immediate thing that proponents of it throw mix underage drinking. Let's take underage drinking out of the discussion were knocking talk about that Kentucky about all the other south offenses that can end up in juvenile court. Okay. So the other one that people know pretty, well, it's truancy and trinity is just like missing an excessive number of unexcused school days. So and then what's excessive varies by the jurisdiction. The problem is that it's often not the discretion of individual school officials whether or. Not you are technically a truant. So that means that if you have pissed off the wrong person in your school, you could miss four unexcused days. And you're a truant that doesn't seem like an excessive amount of unexcused as a child to myth as especially a high schooler, but that could end you up in juvenile court. You also could end up in juvenile court for running away though kids can actually be charged with running away when they leave their home overnight without a Guardian's permission. So if you decide to like, pull a fast one on your parents and sneak out and stay at your friend's house. You could actually end up in juvenile court, depending on how stringent your parents are the important thing about that. Once again is that you're out the mercy of your parent. It's not just the parents. It's also the school like you said earlier, right? So if you ditch school for lunch and go down the street to the subway to get a sandwich, the school could also press charges and say, you were a truant. Yeah. Student or a runaway child the really screwed up of this particular status offense is that most of the time when this status offense is brought against a child they've actually been forced out of their home. So their parents have some issues emotional drugs, alcohol, whatever it is. Maybe they're even just, you know, religious parents and they've found their son. It's gay. They force their kids out of the home before they're eighteen and the kids can be charged with this steps offense. So that's really screwed up because you didn't even want to leave, but you were forced out so another satisfied that I never heard of. And this goes to the kid that was sent to juvenile court for not standing for the pledge of allegiance or not standing right is ungovernability also sometimes called incorrigible or unruliness, and it's a super broad category. That. It's a catch all for any time. Someone under eighteen repeatedly defies directives from parents guardians or legal custody legal custody such as teachers, so if you don't follow a teacher's directions enough, you actually could end up in front of two awkward, then there's underage drinking talk about it. The other one it's curfew violations. So any ordinances that prohibit kids under a certain age from being in public or at business during specified hours, if you are caught in those places after curfew, you can go to juvenile court. It's not just a matter of taking you home to your parents or calling your parents. It's actually that you could face legal consequences for not being home on time and the curfew violation and the ungovernability or encourage ability can merge and morph into this grow. Oth combo where if your parents set a curfew for you, and you aren't home by it, then you have become ungovernable. So it doesn't even have to be a statutory curfew. It can just be your parents. So what's your point in bringing up all of this? My point is that people should be horrified. I don't know my point is that when we talk about ways in which our government overreaches into the private lives of its citizens. I think we neglect a huge portion of that discussion by not talking about the ways it overreaches into children's lives, and it's not just about underage drinking. Like, that's the kind of fun and flashy thing to talk about like, why can I go to war for you? But you won't let me have a beer, right? But the important things to talk about the ways that kids who are citizens of this country can actually get significantly harmed are not the flashy underage drinking. It's things like in Korge ability when you have a parent who's incorrigible or apparent whose abusive or an addict like that can really harm child, and then a child can end up in a juvenile detention facility because essentially the sins of the parents, right or the sins of the teacher for basically. Their feelings hurt. I think that's the scarier part. Is the fact that these teachers the police officers these government figures have more control or have equal control or power over your child in what they say do where they are. I think that's the scary part because you know, socially, speaking. We kind of have this agreement that children are for lack of a better word property slash under the guidance of their parents with their own kind of primordial rights, right? But then now we have this system. There's this judicial system that coincides in even a little bit over supersedes the other one that says, oh will this teacher this police officer, this judge this court system can now add here punishments for things that are not really law. Right. These are all of these things are not things that you can punish. An adult with right. You couldn't punish a full grown adult. You know with being somewhere where he's not supposed to be at a certain time. Right. He couldn't charge them with not obeying another right out their bosses or another nine authority figures orders. Right. Yeah. And when it comes to like, I said before like the little package of semi rights that a growing human being has it seems that like all of these kinds of rights should be something attributed to the child. You know, it's not the same as necessarily, you know, right to self-defense or even possibly a full expression of freedom of speech or the right to vote or things or the right to drink or things like that. These seemed more innate impermissible just being a human being instead of being a fully grown human being. Yeah. I think what's worrisome to me. Me about this is that the rights that we so freely ignored eighteen year olds in above half. An ought not be infringed upon by the government. We somehow have a question when you're fifteen sixteen or seventeen because you're young, and you're growing, but here's what worries me the government never has the authority to step into your life and manage you in that way, your parents might the people who birth to you, and who have the responsibility of growing you into a fully functioning fully responsible moral human being might have the ability to say to you you need to be home by eleven this responsibility. Because I'm parenting you because we're growing together as a cohesive family unit, but that has to do with the thority that a parent has over their own offspring. Right. And that's because we injured into as a society in even a little bit express through a government the. Idea that you are responsible for your child both good and bad. But then there's the system of the government that supersedes the apparent all of a sudden, you know, the parents supposed to be the go between between society and the government and the child it supersedes, then just says like no were going to now, you know, number one take that spot. But we're going to go in and around you to do whatever we see fit, right? And it's a it's a really pure example of the government stepping into the role of parents like talk about a nanny state, right, right? This is the government saying, well, we're little worried about the fourteen year olds in our country. And just completely ignoring the fat. The fact that there are people on this earth who have the authority and responsibility to take care of those fourteen year olds. And it's not you. It's their parents your not the ones that supposed to do that job. And not only are you not the one that's supposed to do that. Job. You're not the one with the proper thority to be able to do it. Well, right. And the this is going to set a little funny at first, but I think if you visualize the concept of child using their parent at to express the rights as a tool, it seems more obvious that their rights are being violated that the child uses its first amendment rights through the parent having first amendment rights. It has the right to defend itself through the parent defending it. And so when the government comes in here, it's almost like they're stripping the child of his second amend his ability to express express, his secondment rights, which is the and I mean in the sense of the right to self-defense by superseding the parent or end around the parent. Yeah. It's you've really start to understand the distrust that entire communities that people can have around a thorny figure. There's like if you are a kid in a bad neighborhood. Maybe it's poor. Right. That's usually poor. That's usually what makes it bad. But, but do you know what I mean, and you to school that super vigilant about truancy, and, you know, you just don't come to school sometimes because you're a teenager with hormones, and sometimes you're sad and depressed, and you want to stay in bed. Right or sometimes you want us to chase the girl all day. Like, I don't know your age is sick. There's a lot of us out there where it's like a ten year old a youth an actual youth Donna teenager being sick for an excessive amount of days number one in the year. But then at a time to the point that the school starts sending police officers to the child's house, basically because they say it's for you know, to make sure it's not a truancy issue. But in reality, it's just because the schools not getting their money from their funding. From the fact that that kids not their right, which is crazy in itself. The fact that we have these mandates in this nation that children have to be in this school for this certain amount of time or are or else they're in danger of being put in juvenile detention themselves or their parents going to juvenile or not juvenile detention but going to prison I mean. Yeah, it's not shocking. You know, if you grew up in that, and you like you said, maybe we're maybe we're sick for an inordinate amount of days, you had mono like three weeks of illness and a cop shows up at your house in your like, dude, I'm sick. And then believe you that looking at you funny. Like, no wonder you don't trust people. No wonder you think that the government and the cops and every you know, all thority figures are out to get you that they don't understand you will. And you know, what they it's really not the government's job to understand you. It's your parents job. And that's why your parents are supposed to be the one that get to decide whether or not it's it's appropriate for you to stay home that day, right? The people that know, you the people that can look at you and say like fever of a hundred two you should stay home. But the government does not have that sensitivity, and it really it shouldn't in order to do its job. But your parents should have that. And they should be granted with the authority to act on that. Sorry. I'm just trying to look win compulsory education laws actually became start. Right. When they know when they started like in the United States 'cause I twenty before we move on with the subject, we're gonna take a quick promotional break. Do you ever? Find yourself driving down the road hitting the same pothole for the hundred time thinking to yourself man, I could fix this problem quicker than my government is will you're in luck. 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We'd do better dot org and help your taxes. Do better. Okay. Well, anyways, I don't think we can really find it seems like it's a state thing. Maybe it is a state thing and some level Massachusetts became the first state to enact a compulsory education on eighteen fifty two obviously there were exceptions to homeschooling because I was very common. Mississippi was the last date to pass a law requiring school attendance in nineteen seventeen so states from eighteen fifty two to nineteen seventeen individually past their own compulsory education laws, and then nineteen seventy the supreme court ruled that Amish parents were exempt from the laws passed eighth grade the religious exemptions and things like that. But the crazy thing I think to me about this is that number one. I think majority of people will put their children into some form of education. Anyways. Right. So there's there's that argument. But then even people who say like all children should have some kind of education for that thing. The. Thing about that is the idea that it still some government entity agency setting the parameters for what is an is not education because I think you see a lot of times, and you hear it all the time when with things like common core and interventions at the federal and the state level that while yes, all children should be educated white constitutes education, and what the state deems education seems to not be. What's the best thing for a child? Trying to grow up find a job and becoming a functioning member of society. Yeah. And I mean, the Beth educating people that I know did not go to public schools. They went to weird nerdy. Private like when I say private, I don't mean buji private. I mean, like nerdy tiny private schools or they were home schooled. Like, those are the best educated people that I now, and I'm not one of them. But it when you start looking at like, the kind of enforcement that. These public schools. These teachers the principals have where they can just charge. People are charged children with crimes it really starts to lean towards that that old adage that, you know, schools like prison like these teachers, and you hear teachers say all the time that they're the parents now and things like that. And that really what is scary about? This is that it's government mandated orders that the children be in this location. And then it's, you know, government controlled and government recommended education. And it's it's this whole thing where the parent is kind of any even not just the parent, but the you know society is taken out of the education system, and that should be a date. Everyone should be afraid of that. Like that's a big big red flag is when when parents who are supposed to be in who are the number one educator of children are not included in the education system. That's if if. Anything? That's what sets children up to fail. The most. I have to find movie because it's got a really great quote from it. Oh, yeah. Yeah. There's this really great line from a movie called the emperor's club. I watched nerdy movies. But basically, the whole movie is about this teacher who goes to teach the boarding school that he went to the really prestigious prep school. And he's got this like son of a Senator who super just not behaving and whatnot. And he called the parent teacher conference with the Senator. So he shows up in his limo and everything right? He sits down and the teachers like, you know, your son's he's like flirting with girl too much, and he's not studying up, and he could be really smart, and he could bubble and the dad the Senator looks at him. And he by the way, he's but the Senator looked at him and says, I don't my son's misbehaving. Why did you call me here? Like, what do you want from me? And the teacher looks at the Senator and he says, I'm trying to mold your son. And the Senator looks at him and says, I'm old my son you teach him. And like that while the guys, and you know, what I mean in the context of the movie, you're like, well, maybe the teachers right that line has always like really stuck with me because it's true parents mold their kids teachers teach overall, I think the lesson to be learned. Here's to be a little bit more aware of the judicial and the policies that surround your child and their day to day learnings because as it stands right now in across most of the nation. There's a heavy heavy legal influence on how you raise your child, and what can affect your child? That's quite frankly dangerous. Without I think we'll wrap it up right there. Thank you guys for listening. He sure to follow us on Twitter at political otters. Check out. Our website offers talking politics dot com. Make sure subscribes you get all of our episodes and make sure leave us review. It really does help be sure to check out our charity of the month, we do better. And that thank you guys for listening. We'll see guys next week. I.