Articles Posted in Juvenile Diversion

On December 27, 2023, a group of young teenagers had finished playing basketball at a park in Newburyport. It was early evening and the group of 7 boys was walking on the side of a street in Newburyport. A tow truck turned onto the street and proceeded down the street. The boys saw the truck and signaled the driver to blow the horn on the truck. The driver obliged and gave a loud blast of the horn. According to the police report, the boys all laughed and one of the boys yelled out the “N …” word and spit at the driver – who it turned out was a black man. The driver stopped the truck and called 911. The boys all ran. The police responded and quickly found 5 of the 7 boys. The 5 boys at first denied everything, but then admitted to the police that SU, a 13 year old boy, had been the boy who yelled the N word. The police went to SU’s house where they spoke with SU and his Mother. SU admitted to having used the N word, but denied spitting at the driver. In Massachusetts contact spitting is an assault and battery. The police charged SU with Disorderly conduct and Assault and Battery.

SU’s parents met with (over zoom) and retained Attorney Robert Lewin from Andover to represent SU. Attorney Lewin prepared a comprehensive Motion to have the case diverted. When a case is diverted, it is removed from the criminal/juvenile justice system and, most importantly, no criminal/juvenile record is created.

On February 28, 2024, SU, his parents, and Attorney Lewin appeared in Juvenile Court in Newburyport. The Judge had read Attorney Lewin’s comprehensive Motion for Diversion (which included a copy of SU’s excellent report card from school). After a hearing, the Judge ordered that SU was NOT to be arraigned and the Judge ordered the case diverted. Specifically the Judge continued the case for 3 months and ordered SU to write a letter of apology and an essay. If SU writes the letter and the essay and stays out of any further trouble, then on June 5, 2024, SU and his parents will not have to return to court and the case will be dismissed without arraignment and no criminal/juvenile record will be created.

LS, a 17 year old high school student, took one of his family cars and decided to do a time trial on an Andover Street. He had three other kids in the car with him. Going around a corner at a high speed he lost control and crashed into a stone wall. Fortunately for LS no one was hurt and the other three kids in the car took off. A neighbor called the police and the Andover Police arrived shortly thereafter. LS was cited by the police for speeding and negligent operation. LS and his parents met with and retained Attorney Robert Lewin from Andover. Attorney Lewin immediately told LS to file the citation at the Clerk-Magistrate’s at Lawrence Juvenile Court. The filing of the citation at the court preserved LS’s right to a Clerk-Magistrate Heating BEFORE a juvenile complaint was issued against him.

Negligent Operation is what is called a Chapter 90 Offense; Chapter 90 is the Massachusetts Motor Vehicle law. Juvenile’s, with no prior court involvement, are typically eligible for consideration into the Juvenile Diversion program. The Juvenile Diversion Program causes a criminal (juvenile) charge to be “diverted” out of the criminal justice system. As a matter of practice, however, Chapter 90 Offenses (such as Negligent Operation in this case) will not be diverted.

After being hired, Attorney Lewin went over to the Juvenile Court in Lawrence to review the court papers and get a copy of the police report. The Clerk-Magistrate informed Attorney Lewin that the police had not yet filed their paperwork at the Court. There is a little known rule called the “6-Day Rule”. The Motor Vehicle Law contains a provision that the police must file their paperwork at the court within 6 business days of the violation. When Attorney Lewin saw that the police had not filed their paperwork (on the fourth business day), Attorney Lewin called LS and his parents and told them we are doing to go silent and wait and see if the police file within the 6 business days. And wait they did. Finally on the 15th business day after the violation the police filed their paperwork at the Court. Attorney Lewin immediately filed a Motion to Dismiss the case for violation of the 6 day rule.

On May 7, 2021, TN, a seventeen year old female student at an Essex County High School, got into an argument with another female student in the ladies bathroom at the school. The female student took out her cell phone and began recording TN at which point TN took her shod foot (a foot with a shoe on it) and kicked the student striking the hand with the phone. The incident occurred in the presence of witnesses and to a great extent was recorded by the other student. TN was charged with assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon (s shod foot) and was summonsed to appear in Newburyport Juvenile Court. TN’s parents consulted with and hired Attorney Robert Lewin from Andover. The case was scheduled for an arraignment in Juvenile Court on June 2, 2021.

Essex County has a Juvenile Diversion Program which, in essence, allows a juvenile to avoid getting a record. Attorney Lewin immediately obtained a copy of the video and the police reports and reviewed these with TN and her parents. TN and her family agreed that if TN could get her case diverted it made great sense as the evidence was not “pretty”. Attorney Lewin contacted the director of the Juvenile Diversion program and after reviewing the case she agreed that TN would be a good candidate for diversion.

On June 2, 2021 TN’s case was called for arraignment in Newburyport Juvenile Court. The arraignment was NOT held. By agreement the case was continued to October 6, 2021 (4 months) to allow TN to complete the diversion program.

ED, age 17 from a bedroom community north of Boston, graduated with honors from High School in May 2019 and was due to go off to college in August. On Monday, May 27, 2019, he was with some friends. They all decided to get some weed and get high. One of the boys got weed and they all proceeded to smoke. ED’s last good memory was smoking the weed. His next good memory was waking up in an ambulance being brought to the hospital.

According to a police report the police responded to an accident scene as the result of several 911 calls. Upon arrival at the scene and speaking with witnesses it was determined that ED had run out into the street directly in the path of an oncoming car and was struck by the car. The driver of the car – herself in shock at what had happened – remained at the scene. According to police reports ED, after the collision, entered a motor vehicle and barricaded himself in the vehicle. The police ordered ED out of the car but he refused. After some tugging and pulling ED was removed from the car and forced to the ground. He resisted the police and scratched at the police and actually bit one of the police. Back up offices arrived at the scene and ED was subsequently cuffed and placed into an ambulance. According to one police officer’s report ED was in an “excited delirium state”; his heart was racing, he was sweating profusely, and when he spoke he made no sense.

The police charged ED with two counts of assault and battery on a police officer, one count of malicious destruction to property, disorderly conduct, and interfering with a police officer.

On April 2, 2019, EB, a 14 year old 8th grader from Lynn and a group of other youths gathered at an abandoned school building in Lynn and with a set of large wire cutters attempted to break into the building. The youths were caught by the police and charged with Possession of Burglar’s Tools (a felony), Attempted Breaking and Entering, and Trespass. EB (and his parents) were summonsed to appear in Lynn Juvenile Court for an arraignment on April 19, 2019. EB’s parents consulted with and retained Attorney Robert Lewin from North Andover to represent EB.

Attorney Lewin immediately went to Lynn Juvenile Court and obtained copies of the police reports. Attorney Lewin then went to the District Attorney’s Office (next door to the Juvenile Court) and met with the staff of the Essex County Juvenile Diversion Program for Lynn Juvenile Court. Attorney Lewin pointed out that this was EB’s first violation of the criminal law and that EB was an excellent candidate for the Juvenile Diversion Program. The Juvenile Diversion Program is a program run by the District Attorney’s Office that literally diverts (removes) a case out of the Juvenile Court system. The program typically consists of some hours of community service, writing a paper, and getting counseling. In return for that the Juvenile case is DISMISSED and NO criminal/juvenile record is created. It is a win-win.

The District Attorney in EB’s case agreed with Attorney Lewin that EB was a good candidate for diversion. On April 19, 2019 EB, his parents, and Attorney Lewin appeared in Lynn Juvenile Court. Although the case was scheduled for EB to be arraigned, the arraignment did NOT take place and EB’s case was diverted out of the Court system. EB has to do 20 hours of community service and meet with a counselor. If EB complies with the program and stays out of trouble then in six months EB will NOT have to return to Court and all the charges will be DISMISSED. Because EB’s case was diverted prior to EB being arraigned, EB will not have any criminal or juvenile record. That is why diversion can be such a favorable resolution of a case.

On March 26, 2019, KF, a 14 year old 8th grade student in an Essex County town, was with several friends in the school cafeteria at lunch time. Words were exchanged and KF said to one of the girls at the table “If you tell, I’ll bring a gun to school and shoot you all in the head”. One of the students at the table told their parent who in turned notified the school authorities who in turn notified the police. The police went to the school and spoke with KF and KF’s mother. The police also went to KF’s house and with the consent of KF’s Mother searched the house. KF’s mother’s boyfriend kept a gun at the house. Fortunately the gun was fully secured with a trigger lock and a barrel lock and the gun was locked in a gun safe. KF’s mother’s boyfriend had a valid license to carry. In KF’s bedroom the police found 4 knives. DCF (the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families) was notified. The school suspended KF. The police went to the Juvenile Court and applied for a Juvenile complaint against KF for Threatening to Use a Firearm in a school – a 20 year felony.

KF’s mother contacted Attorney Robert Lewin from North Andover. KF and her mother met with Attorney Lewin for a free 2 hour long initial consultation. The case was a serious case and demanded that it be handled with care. On April 5, 2019 KF’s mother retained Attorney Lewin. Attorney Lewin immediately went to work on the case. The Juvenile Court had scheduled a “show cause hearing” before the Clerk-Magistrate of the Court for April 16, 2019. The purpose of the “show cause hearing” was for the Clerk-Magistrate to decide whether KF would actually be charged. These “show cause hearings” are real important as they are an opportunity to prevent the accused person from actually being charged. Success at a “show cause hearing” means that the accused does not get charged, does not have to appear before a judge, and – most importantly – does NOT get a record. Attorney Lewin had 11 days to get the case ready for the hearing.

Attorney Lewin immediately went to the Court and obtained the police reports and all the other important case papers from the Clerk-Magistrate’s Office. Attorney Lewin then went to the District Attorney’s Office and met with the Coordinator of the Essex County Juvenile Diversion Program. After a lengthy discussion with the people from the Diversion Program, the District Attorney’s Office agreed that KF would be a suitable person for diversion. Attorney Lewin then spoke with the Police Prosecutor and he also agreed that KF would be a suitable candidate for diversion. On April 16, 2019 KF, KF’s Mother, Attorney Lewin, and one of the girls who had been at the table when the incident occurred (who was prepared to testify that they knew that KF was kidding when she made the statement about the gun) all appeared at the Juvenile Court for the show cause hearing.

On August 22, 2018 HE, a 16 year old high school student at a prestigious high school in the greater Boston area, went to the gym in Watertown, MA. HE went into another person’s locker and stole that person’s car keys and credit card. HE (and a friend) then went out to the parking lot of the gym, located the car, and with the stolen keys took the car and went to Dunkin Donuts. At Dunkin Donuts they ordered food and used the credit card. They then left the Dunkin Donuts and left the car in the parking lot and threw the keys in the bushes. Four days later HE did the same thing again. He stole another person’s keys and stole that person’s car and took it on a joy ride. He also threw those keys away as well. Through good police work, video surveillance, and an informant the police learned that HE was the culprit in both incidents. The police charged HE with a host of offenses: (1) 2 counts of Larceny of a Motor Vehicle (both felonies), (2) 2 counts of Larceny from a Building (both felonies), (3) 2 counts of use of a motor vehicle without authority, and (4) 1 count of Identity Fraud.

HE is an honor student and a good athlete – go figure why he would do this. His parents, knowing that having a record for this could cripple HE’s chances at getting into a good college, sought out the best representation they could find for their son. The parents contacted and met with Attorney Robert Lewin from North Andover. Attorney Lewin explained that the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office runs a juvenile diversion program that prevents juveniles from getting a record. Attorney Lewin explained that the Program is typically NOT available to juveniles who commit felonies (especially on multiple times with multiple victims). Attorney Lewin was able to get HE to retrieve the keys from both of the vehicles that had been stolen. Attorney Lewin arranged to have the keys returned to the owners of the two vehicles. Attorney Lewin spoke to the police detective handling the case and advocated with the police to recommend to the DA that HE be considered for diversion.

A criminal record is created when the accused is arraigned in court before a judge. When a juvenile case is diverted, the arraignment does not take place and NO criminal or juvenile record is created. HE was scheduled to be arraigned on November 9, 2018 in Waltham Juvenile Court. Prior to November 9, 2018 Attorney Lewin had spoken with the Assistant District Attorney in the Juvenile Court and advocated for HE’s case to be diverted. On November 9, 2018 HE and his parents and Attorney Lewin appeared in Court. The arraignment did NOT take place and the case was continued to November 30, 2018 to see if the Diversion Program would be willing to accept HE into the program. On November 30, 2018 the program reported that they had not yet made a decision in HE’s case because of the seriousness of the charges. The arraignment was further postponed to January 25, 2019. Attorney Lewin furnished the District Attorney’s Office with a memorandum setting out the reasons why HE’s case should be diverted. On January 25, 2019 HE, his parents, and Attorney Lewin appeared in Court again and the Diversion Program agreed to accept HE into the program. As a result HE was NOT arraigned and HE has NO criminal or juvenile record.

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.

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