Juvenile Threat to Shoot In School Charge Diverted

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.

Attorney Lewin spoke on KF’s behalf and explained to the Clerk-Magistrate that both the Juvenile Diversion staff and the police were comfortable with KF being referred to the Juvenile Diversion program. Ultimately, the Clerk-Magistrate agreed and KF was referred to the Juvenile Diversion program.

The program staff set up a “program” for KF. Her program consists of the following:

  • She must stay out of trouble.
  • She must attend school.
  • She must follow the rules of her home.
  • She must write a two page single spaced essay about this incident and what she has learned from this experience.
  • She must meet with a mental health counselor for approximately six counseling sessions.
  • The “program” will last between 4 and 6 months. If she stays out of trouble and satisfies all the requirements of the program her case will be dismissed, she will not have to return to court, she will not appear before a judge, and she will have NO record.

Attorney Lewin, KF, and her Mother all left court on April 16, 2019 very happy.