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Three Calabasas vandals were charged Tuesday with hate crime

by Jonah Lowenfeld

May 17, 2011 | 4:03 pm

Top row: Graffiti covering the walls and concrete of Calabasas High School (KTLA image captures).

Top row: Graffiti covering the walls and concrete of Calabasas High School (KTLA image captures).

Formal charges—including a hate crime allegation—were filed on Tuesday afternoon, May 17, against the three Calabasas High School students who were arrested for defacing their school with anti-Semitic and racist graffiti last month, a spokesperson from the Los Angeles County District Attorney told the Jewish Journal on Tuesday.

“Each will be charged with one count of felony vandalism with a hate crime allegation,” D.A. Spokeswoman Shiara Davila-Morales said.

The graffiti was found on Saturday morning, April 22. The three teens confessed to the vandalism on April 26 and were arrested the following day. They were immediately released into their parents’ custody. The court could decide to detain the students again while awaiting trial, but Davila-Morales said that was unlikely, given the facts of the case.

The three students, who are not being named because they are juveniles, are expected to appear in Sylmar Juvenile Court for arraignment on June 30, Davila-Morales said. They have been described by a spokesman in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department as “4.0 students” and are in the 11th grade at Calabasas High School.

The maximum sentence for a single count of felony vandalism is three years in confinement in a Division of Juvenile Justice facility, Davila-Morales said. If convicted of a hate crime, the students could receive longer sentences, though Davila-Morales did not say exactly how much more time that might mean.

Last week, a detective with the Sheriff’s Department involved in the case told the Jewish Journal that one of the vandals is Jewish.

As of last week, the students had not returned to their high school since confessing to scrawling the hate-filled graffiti, and the Las Virgenes Unified School District was still weighing the possibility of expelling the students.

An earlier version of this story suggested that the District Attorney’s Spokeswoman identified the students charged as those who confessed to sheriff’s department investigators last month. That was not the case. Furthermore, the story suggested that the students, if convicted, would go jail. The version above has been edited to correct those two inaccuracies.

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