Articles Posted in Juvenile Diversion

On February 10, 2017, BH, a sixteen year old student at a prestigious private school, decided to have a party. BH invited a number of school age friends – and of course they brought along a few other friends one of whom brought alcohol to the party. They all drank for several hours. One of the young girls at the party apparently consumed some drugs. BH became very drunk and ultimately went out the back door of his house and collapsed in the snow. The girl left the party and went to a local store and collapsed in the store. She had to be brought to a local hospital. The police were summonsed to the house by neighbors. The rest of the party-goers scattered. The police found BH collapsed in the snow and brought him to the hospital. After investigation the police determined that the girl who collapsed in the store had been at the party and had consumed alcohol and drugs at the party. BH had hosted the party. Subsequently BH received a Notice of Complaint Application from the Essex County Juvenile Court. The police had applied for a juvenile complaint for minor in possession of alcohol against BH. BH was fortunate that the police did not charge him with furnishing alcohol to a minor (the girl). BH’s parents came to Massachusetts (they live out of state). BH and his parents met with and retained Attorney Robert Lewin from North Andover.

Attorney Lewin took a detailed statement of the facts of the case from BH. It became clear the the girl had brought the drugs to the party herself and had consumed the drugs without any help or encouragement from BH. Attorney Lewin met with the police prosecutor from the town involved and advocated for the charge against BH to be “diverted” out of the juvenile justice system. The Essex County District Attorney’s Office – to their credit – has created the Essex County Juvenile Diversion Program. The program is designed to prevent first time offenders from getting a criminal/juvenile record by diverting the case out of the criminal/juvenile justice system.

On February 28, 2017 BH, BH’s parents, and Attorney Lewin appeared in the Essex County Juvenile Court, Lawrence Division, for a hearing on whether or not a juvenile delinquency complaint would be issued against BH. BH is an honor student with a brilliant future and the last thing he needed was a criminal/juvenile record. Attorney Lewin had thoroughly prepared an argument to advocate for the diversion of the case. In addition, before the hearing date Attorney Lewin had met face to face with the director of the juvenile diversion program to discuss the case with her and to seek her approval of BH’s referral to the program. At the hearing before the Clerk-Magistrate of the Juvenile Court Attorney Lewin advocated firmly for diversion of the case. The police were on board and the people from the diversion program were on board. The Clerk-Magistrate adopted Attorney Lewin’s proposal and BH’s case was referred to the juvenile diversion program.

CN, a 15 year old boy in the 9th grade at a local well to do Essex County high school, was in a dating relationship with 14 year old girl. In the fall of 2014 CN and the girl were “making out” According to the girl, CN stated that it would be fun to have rough sex and he scratched her on the back and hit her three times in the stomach. She told him to stop and she says that he did not. About one month after this incident the girl stated that she and CN had sexual intercourse. Word of this was spread to the school authorities who in turn notified the police. The police interviewed CN. CN told the police that he had never gotten physical with the girl and that the scratches had been an accident when he held her too tight. The police re-interviewed the girl. She stuck to her story and showed the police photographs of the injuries she allegedly sustained from CN. In addition she told the police that when she and CN would make out he would call her names like slut. Lastly the girl showed the police text messages from other girls stating that CN did the same things to them.

The police filed an application for a juvenile complaint for assault and battery against CN in the Essex County Juvenile Court. CN’s parents retained Attorney Robert Lewin from North Andover to represent CN. The application for complaint was scheduled for a hearing by the Clerk-Magistrate of the Juvenile Court. Attorney Lewin immediately contacted the police prosecutor and the coordinator of the Juvenile Diversion Program and advocated for CN’s case to be “diverted” out of the Criminal/Juvenile Justice System. The Essex County District Attorney’s Office runs a Juvenile Diversion Program. The purpose of the program is to allow a juvenile – in an appropriate case – to avoid having a criminal/juvenile record. If a juvenile is accepted into the Juvenile Diversion Program, the Juvenile Court Proceedings are suspended, no arraignment tales place, and no criminal/juvenile record is created. Upon successful completion of the Juvenile Diversion Program the criminal/juvenile charges are dismissed without any arraignment having taken place and no criminal/juvenile record is created. Because of the nature of the allegations made by the girl the police were hesitant to recommend diversion and actually wanted CN to be prosecuted in juvenile court for the alleged assault and battery. Attorney Lewin explained to CN and his parents that the case had to be prepared as if it were going to go to trial, but at the same time efforts to get the case diverted would continue. Attorney Lewin had several meetings with the police prosecutor and the Juvenile Diversion coordinator and advocated zealously for the case to be diverted.

On December 10, 2014 CN and his parents and Attorney Lewin appeared in Lawrence Juvenile Court. Attorney Lewin had had CN enroll in counseling with an adolescent counselor prior to the court date and Attorney Lewin had secured a favorable report from the counselor. At the hearing the Police were still somewhat reluctant to wholeheartedly endorse diversion, but they did not oppose it. The Clerk-Magistrate said she would recommend the case for diversion, but that the Diversion Coordinator would have the final say as to whether the case would be accepted into the diversion program. Because there was an allegation of boyfriend/girlfriend abuse everyone in the “court system” was reluctant to let the case go into diversion. Ultimately the Diversion Coordinator agreed that CN would be a good candidate for diversion and the case was accepted for diversion. CN is in the diversion program now and is doing well. The diversion program is designed to run for four to six months. It typically includes the Juvenile writing a letter on better decision making and – in a case of domestic violence – it almost always includes a program of counseling on teen dating violence.

DN, a thirteen year old juvenile, and his 12 year old friend broke and entered into an unoccupied house in Merrimac, MA and set up a camp inside the house. While in the house they went through all the rooms searching and taking inventory. The owner of the house, who lived in another town, discovered the break and reported it to the police. Because of items left in the house, the police were able to track down DN and his 12 year old friend, both of whom admitted breaking into the house. DN’s parents contacted Attorney Robert Lewin of North Andover. Attorney Lewin explained the damage that a juvenile record can cause when it comes time to apply for college or private school. DN’s parents retained Attorney Lewin and Attorney Lewin immediately contacted the Assistant District Attorney assigned to the juvenile court session in Newburyport Juvenile Court. Attorney Lewin was very familiar with the Juvenile Diversion Program run by the Essex County District Attorney’s Office. When a Juvenile Delinquency case is referred to the Diversion Program the Juvenile must complete the terms of the program and must stay out of trouble. Once that is done the case is fully dismissed without the Juvenile ever having been arraigned in Juvenile Court. Because the Juvenile does not get arraigned there is NO entry made on the Juvenile’s CORI; that is the Juvenile has NO record. Attorney Lewin also contacted the head of the Juvenile Diversion program in Newburyport. Both the head of the Juvenile Diversion Program and the Assistant District Attorney agreed that DN’s case was an appropriate case for diversion. On December 16, 2014 Christmas came early for DN and his parents. On December 16, 2014 DN, his parents, and Attorney Lewin all appeared in the Essex County Juvenile Court held in the Newburyport District Courthouse. The owner of the property – a very obstinate and difficult woman – made the DA’s Office aware that she opposed the case being diverted out of the system. Notwithstanding her opposition, the case was diverted. DN will have NO juvenile record.