PASADENA – Conflicting philosophies regarding juvenile justice persist at the Pasadena courthouse. Advocates for openness want to invite the public into courtroom proceedings so citizens can see the inner workings of the most serious cases, including murder, attempted murder and gang-oriented felonies. Traditionalists, including many judges and child advocates, work to keep them private. “Throughout the history of juvenile law, kids have been treated differently in court for obvious reasons,” said Pasadena Superior Court spokesman Allan Parachini. “Bench officers are given wide discretion, and most cases are kept closed in the interest of the juvenile party in hopes of their possible rehabilitation. These are kids who have futures.” Judges are given discretion over whether to allow the public to view cases regarding minor infractions, but some believe they may be using those powers too broadly. According to the California Welfare and Institutions Code, the public “shall be admitted” to juvenile cases on the same basis as criminal trials when the cases involve “murder” or “assault with intent to murder or attempted murder,” crimes causing great bodily injury and any criminal street gang activity that constitutes a felony. Deputy District Attorney Daniel O’Connell, an advocate for greater openness of juvenile courtrooms, emphasized the statute’s requirement that courts be open in categorically violent cases, a reality he said is often overlooked by juvenile judges. In February, Juvenile Court Judge Philip Soto dismissed a reporter in the case of a purported gang member who turned 18 the day he was accused of shooting another youth in the leg as he climbed over a fence at John Muir High School last June. A Pasadena police officer, in court to observe the proceedings, also was dismissed due to the “sensitive nature” of testimony expected. On Feb. 8, the Pasadena Police Department escalated gang-violence suppression efforts with the implementation of Operation Safe City following two gang-related deaths in the wake of at least six shootings throughout February. Hundreds of late-night attacks undertaken by groups of African Americans between 15 and 24 against older Latinos walking alone, allegedly gang-initiation rites, happened in Pasadena last year, according to police. “People need to know about the violence so they can protect themselves,” O’Connell said. “People need to know that these cases are being handled appropriately in court. It is not right when victims and the press are excluded. Both are legally entitled to be present in serious cases.” O’Connell said several cases per week fall under the statute. [email protected] (626) 578-6300, Ext. 4461160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
Lorenzo Insigne has urged Dries Mertens to snub interest from elsewhere and sign a new deal at Napoli – just like he did.Arsenal were very keen on a move for Insigne this summer but the striker decided to commit his future to Napoli by penning a contract until 2022.However, the long-term future of another key man, Mertens, is still unclear with the Belgian yet to extend his current deal beyond 2018.That means Napoli may feel forced to cash in on him this summer – and Manchester United are reported to be the front-runners in the race to land the forward.But now Insigne has pleaded with his team-mate to follow his lead and remain with him at Napoli.Insigne told Mediaset: “Mertens has a lot of quality and can do well in any role.“His goals are important, I hope he remains with us so that I get to play alongside him for a long time. He’s a great player.“The club knows how to keep its best players. I renewed my contract for a winning project and I hope he can do the same.” Dries Mertens in action for Napoli 1