June 23, 2011
Two Accused Calabasas High Vandals Appear in Court
Two of the three Calabasas High School students charged last month with defacing their school with anti-Semitic and racist graffiti in April appeared in juvenile court in Sylmar on Thursday, June 23, a spokesperson from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office told the Jewish Journal.
The attorneys for the two students denied the petition filed by the district attorney. This action, which is the equivalent of an adult’s pleading not guilty to a charge, is typical in juvenile cases.
Because they are minors, the students’ identities are being kept confidential. In the days immediately following the discovery of the graffiti, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said that all three were “4.0 students,” a fact that could prove relevant to the sentences each one could receive.
“Each kid may not get the same sentence, depending on their prior histories,” George I. Kita, a juvenile defense lawyer based in Cerritos not involved in the trial, said. Sentences could range from forced community service to confinement in a Division of Juvenile Justice facility.
In cases that involve racism or prejudice, Kita said, Judges often impose sentences that include visits to educational facilities like the Museum of Tolerance. The goal, Kita said, “is not just to hand down a punishment. It’s also to rehabilitate the child as well.”
The two students who appeared in court today are set to reappear there in September. The third student charged in connection with the graffiti is scheduled to appear for the first time in the same courtroom on June 30.