The Boy in the Bin

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41) HERE COME DA JUDGE

Sylvia ran into the police station, looking for Raphael and Lieutenant Sherman. Instead, she found Captain Bob Martin, waiting to meet her.

“Lieutenant Sherman just left to take Raphael to arraignment,” he told her. “I can walk you over to the court if you would like.”

“I would like to get him out of here and take him home,” Sylvia said. “Why does is he being arraigned? He’s only a young boy?”

“He needs to be arraigned because he’s committed several crimes. Can’t you understand?

Sylvia and Captain Martin left the station and headed over to the courthouse. Upon arrival, Sylvia almost went into shock seeing Raphael in a line against the wall with several other prisoners. He wore handcuffs on his wrists in front of him and shackles on his legs. One would think his charges included setting fires or something. Captain Martin found her a seat in the gallery and left to return to the station.

Judge Michelle Bartley presided over the case. Sylvia seemed happy a female judge would rule because she hoped to call upon her ‘motherly’ instincts in the adjudication. Judge Bartley called for the next case and the prosecutor read the charges.

“Raphael Franklin Hernandez,” she commanded. “You are charged with Grand Larceny, a felony, in the theft of a tray of rings from Luxury Plus stores. The witness against you is Mr. Sydney Rosenthal, owner of Luxury Plus. You are charged with assault in the 2nd Degree on Phillip Ahearn, a student at Village Community School. The witness against you is Lieutenant Paul Sherman of the New York Police Department. This is also classified as a felony. You are charged with Petty Larceny, namely shoplifting, from Otto’s Custom Tailoring. This is a misdemeanor. The witness against you is Mr. Otto Dryanoff, owner of the store. Finally, you are charged with resisting arrest, another misdemeanor. The witness against you is Lieutenant Paul Sherman of the New York Police Department.”

Sylvia realized that major charges were filed against Raphael. But until hearing them being read in court, she did not understand their gravity. She only sat monitoring the proceedings and hoped the judge offered the possibility of bail. Even afterward, she didn’t know how she would handle the situation.

“Are any witness statements available in this case?” the judge asked.

“I’d like to make a statement,” Lieutenant Sherman mentioned. “I would like to include in the records how this boy is part of an ongoing investigation in a series of gang-related incidents. Occasionally, I’ve been involved with the defendant Raphael Hernandez. I feel strongly a negative influence by his peers caused much of this problem. By himself these charges would probably not exist. He is basically a good kid who got mixed up with the wrong crowd.”

“We need to confer with the parents in this case,” Judge Blakely claimed. “Are the parents here?”

Sylvia stood and announced her presence. She told the judge she couldn’t contact her husband because he worked out of the office . Otherwise, he would be here also. She confirmed what Sherman said about Raphael being a good boy and asked the possibility of simply taking him home.

“Mrs. Hernandez,” the Judge . “I understand you would like this to go away. I can tell you, it won’t. These are serious charges against your son. I also understand the influence of some other kids, especially older and more violent kids, can detrimentally affect a young boy. I leave this to the prosecution on the direction the case will go.”

The prosecutor Mr. Whitney Breedlove stood to speak. Being a seasoned professional, he wore the reputation for getting convictions against some of the worst scum in the city. He did his homework, offered excellent oral arguments and even some of the best defense attorneys in the city feared him on a case.

“Your Honor,” he acknowledged. “These are serious charges, as you are aware. If an older defendant committed these acts, there is no doubt I would argue for a long period of incarceration against him. Considering his age and the statements of Officer Sherman and his mother, I will offer he be sent to Lakeview Shock for a term of Boot-Camp therapy; as opposed to normal sentencing in a case like this.”

“Mrs. Hernandez,” the Judge questioned, “are you familiar with Lakeview?”

“No I’m not, Your Honor.”

“Lakeview,” the judge began, “is a large correctional facility in upstate New York. They have a program called Boot-Camp; primarily for first offenders. For six months, your son will be held under the supervision of a team of specialists. These specialists are professionally trained in dealing with youth-oriented problems. They utilize a military curriculum. The inmates must go through physical exercise programs, lessons in discipline and most of all, training in the respect of others. After six months, the inmate is released back into society with a temporary record of their incarceration. Is this something you would consider?”

Sylvia didn’t like not having Raul help her deal with this. Even though being upset with his indiscretion and looking forward to his ‘disappearance’, she still needed confirmation. In reality, she recognized a future time, when she would make the decisions for his care all alone. She presumed Lakeview would be the best thing for Raphael. No matter what decision she made now, a fight would break out with Raul later.

“Your Honor,” she responded. “What do you mean by a temporary record? If I agree to this, are any other charges leveled against my son?”

“The charges against your son are held in limbo,” the Judge explained. “If Raphael completes the six-month term, returns home AND stays away from police involvement for another six months, all charges will be dropped. He must keep his nose clean.”

“Then I can say,” Sylvia advised, “I agree a term at Lakeview would be a good alternative.”

Raphael listened to this dialog and when Sylvia agreed to send him away, he went nuts. What bullshit his own mother would sell him down the river like this?

“You back-stabbing nbitch,” he shouted. “Daddy is nright about you. You don’t ncare about anybody but nyourself.”

Sylvia felt a swoon coming on because she acted like a traitor to her own son. Her driving force to take care of him confirmed this was the right action. She thought this would be better than going to jail and having a record. With both her and Raul working, they could not properly train Raphael and perhaps an outside agency is exactly what he needed. With tears in her eyes, she looked at her son, hoping he understood her decision was taken in his best interest.

“Very well,” Judge Blakely continued. “The determination of this court is as follows. Raphael Franklin Hernandez will be sentenced to a six month Boot Camp program at Lakeview Shock Facility; to begin at the first available opening. Raphael is to remain in custody at police headquarters and not in the general population of Riker’s Island until he is transferred.”

“You’re all a nbunch of fuckers,” Raphael screamed. “You can’t do nthis to me ... I did nothing nwrong. I nwant my Daddy.”

Raphael continued screaming while being led out of the courtroom. Sylvia bowed her head and cried silently. Lieutenant Sherman came over to comfort her.

“Mrs. Hernandez,” he commended. “I think you made the right decision. Raphael is on a bad road. If we can straighten him out now, discipline will be easier for you and your husband later.

“My husband isn’t going to be around much longer,” Sylvia moaned through her tears.

“What do you mean?” the Lieutenant inquired.

“We are getting a divorce,” she admitted. “I caught him cheating and I’m getting ready to file papers on him.”

This revelation Lieutenant Sherman hadn’t expected. From everything he’d seen, the Hernandez family seemed normal and happy, who were going through a rough time with their son. Perhaps Raphael learned of the marital problems and this is his way of acting out. Either way, the decision made would help Raphael and maybe keep him out of the Lieutenants’ hair for a while.

And Paul Sherman had little hair left.

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