New law lets juveniles off in Lynn

The state’s new criminal justice law, signed by Gov. Charlie Baker in April, is already having an impact.

Four juveniles, one who was 13 and the others younger than 12, allegedly broke into Lynn English High School over the weekend and caused significant damage. Only the 13-year-old was arrested and charged because of a provision in the new law that raised the minimum age of criminal responsibility from 7 to 12. The other three juveniles, one as young as nine, were released to their parents.

According to the Daily Item, the two boys and two girls broke into the school on both Saturday and Sunday but weren’t caught until Sunday when a coach who was at the school notified authorities.

The extent of the damage was unclear, but officials said it was extensive. Walls were spray painted, classrooms were vandalized, barrels were overturned, television sets were broken, and a floor waxing machine was driven through a wall in the kitchen, scattering food everywhere.

John Ford, a school committee member who serves as the chairman of the building and grounds subcommittee, told the Daily Item that it was crazy that police couldn’t do anything to the juveniles under 12. He said there is no way to discipline them.

The provision in the new law raising the age of criminal responsibility to 12 did not get a lot of attention during the legislative process. More controversial was a proposal to raise the age of criminal majority from 18 to 19, which would have allowed 19-year-olds to be processed through the juvenile rather than the adult court system. That provision didn’t make it into the final law.

The Massachusetts Association of District Attorneys opposed both provisions. The association, in a letter to Senate officials, said raising the age of criminal prosecution to 12 was “the proverbial solution in search of a problem, the unintended consequences of which could be quite serious.”

The DAs said they were unaware of any cases where young children had been prosecuted. But they said charges were often filed against young people — not to pursue a criminal prosecution but to provide standing for the courts to provide the child and his or her family with the intervention, counseling, and assistance needed.

Rep. Claire Cronin of Brockton, the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, predicted raising the age of prosecution from 7 to 12 would reduce the number of young people ensnared in the state’s criminal justice system. “There’s an indisputable link between the age in which a child enters our criminal justice system and the likelihood of a child remaining in the system throughout their life,” she said.

BRUCE MOHL


BEACON HILL

Former Springfield mayor Michael Albano, who took a $101,000-a-year state job in May, is putting his city pension of $57,378 a year on hold. “This is the right way to do it so there’s no double dipping,” he said.

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Marshfield officials are seeking to reopen talks with Scituate to see if the two towns can team up on waterways projects. (Patriot Ledger)

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

President Trump ignored a carefully crafted briefing he received that laid out a plan to go tough on Russian president Vladimir Putin and instead attacked his own FBI while praising the Russian leader and doubting the universal view of US intelligence agencies that Russia tried to disrupt the 2016 US election. (Washington Post) Sen. John McCain called Trump’s comments “one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory.” (AZCentral)

Despite the global shock at Trump’s boot-licking supplication to Putin, Michael Graham points out that his statements on Russian interference in the US election, his trashing of US intelligence, and his effort to bring everything back to bragging about his election victory showcased pretty much the same person and talking points that have been on display since Day One. (Boston Herald)

ELECTIONS

Tahirah Amatul-Wadud is hoping to ride a wave of anti-incumbent sentiment and impatience among Democratic primary voters to upend veteran Rep. Richard Neal. (Boston Globe)

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo is a Democrat and a woman in a year when Democrats and women are supposed to fare well at the polls, but she’s facing a tough fight for reelection. (Governing)

Deval Patrick hits the campaign trail on behalf a Texas congressional candidate, but the main interest in his appearance is whether he’s warming up for his presidential bid. (Boston Globe)

EDUCATION

New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell says the charter school funding formula is broken. (CommonWealth)

A new report says the Boston Public Schools assignment system places most students from wealthier, whiter neighborhoods in better quality schools, while only a tiny share of Mattapan families enroll in such schools. (Boston Globe)

The University of Massachusetts School of Law in Dartmouth has signed partnership agreements with eight state universities as well as Becker College in Worcester that would enroll students in a six-year program for a law degree that allows them to complete half the requirements at their undergraduate school. (MetroWest Daily News)

The Atlantis Charter School in Fall River became just the third charter high school in Massachusetts to be accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. (Herald News)

HEALTH/HEALTH CARE

The merger of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Lahey Health would create another health care behemoth — alongside Partners HealthCare — that treats a disproportionately low share of Medicaid patients. (Boston Globe)

The Gosnold recovery center in Falmouth is giving up its plans to expand to a former nursing home located next to a school and will search for another site after opposition from parents and neighbors concerned about locating a drug and alcohol treatment facility near children. (Cape Cod Times)

TRANSPORTATION

The MBTA pares back planned parking rate hikes at its Braintree and Quincy-Adams garages after local pols complained. (CommonWealth)

Mike Abramo, the T’s chief administrator, says the transit agency doesn’t need new revenues right now. But the agency appears to be getting near a long-term goal of getting its fiscal house in order and producing significantly more capital investments. (CommonWealth)

T notes: South Coast Rail optimism grows….Keolis makes its case halfway through its contract…Gov. Charlie Baker wants to steer state aid to Uber, Lyft…Getting from the Red to the Blue Line….Should we be able to make appointments at the Registry of Motor Vehicles?

Danny Levy, who served as a top communications official for 13 years at Massport, will be the new chief customer officer for the MBTA. (Boston Herald)

MassDOT plans to audit payments to the State Police regularly in the wake of the overtime scandal. (MassLive)

Union workers with the Washington, DC, Metro system voted to authorize a strike just as the city is hosting the baseball All Star game, though union officials say they have no intention of walking out before the game. (Washington Post)

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

Hundreds of dead fish are washing up on the shores of the Merrimack River. Authorities believe the fish kill is a natural phenomenon brought about, in part, because of the stress of spawning. (Eagle-Tribune)

CASINOS/MARIJUANA

Brockton city councilors turned down a proposal to place a referendum before voters in the fall on banning retail marijuana in the city. (The Enterprise)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

The police report says Emanuel Lopes shot Weymouth Police Officer Michael Chesna with the officer’s own service gun 10 times as he lay on the ground. Lopes, who is also being charged with the murder of an innocent bystander sitting in her home, had his hospital arraignment delayed a day because of his condition after being shot in the leg during a chase. (Patriot Ledger) The Globe reports that Lopes had a history of “drug use, instability, and run-ins with the law.” Lopes’s mother had a restraining order against him at the time of the Sunday killings. (Boston Herald)

A captain in the Bristol Sheriff’s department was convicted by a federal jury of conspiracy in connection with aiding Carlos Rafael, the so-called New Bedford “Codfather,” in a  money-smuggling plot. (Standard-Times)

A Lynn man was one of seven Nigerian nationals indicted for running a romance fraud scheme online that netted them more than $1.5 million. The scheme was elaborate, with the alleged perpetrators posing as people seeking romance and using that entree to convince others to give them money. (Daily Item)

The Supreme Judicial Court ruled judges can lock drug users up if they don’t abide by their probation terms and remain drug free. (WBUR) The SJC also upheld a lower court ruling dismissing a Randolph woman’s suit against her neighbors claiming a tree in their yard caused algae on her roof. The SJC said it did not want to “uproot” established law preventing such claims. (Patriot Ledger)

MEDIA

Sen. Elizabeth Warren used the Boston Herald’s decision to file bankruptcy in Delaware to illustrate her point that many companies unfairly put as much distance as they can between them and their employees in order to secure a better deal. (State House News)

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai says he has grave concerns about Sinclair Broadcasting’s proposed acquisition of Tribune Media, putting the deal in jeopardy. (Politico)