Monday, December 28, 2009

Webinar Archive: Individuals with Mental Illnesses in the Criminal Justice System: Addressing Both Criminogenic Risks and Mental Health Needs

During the webinar, held on November 18th, Dr. Jennifer Skeem provided an overview of how criminogenic risk factors contribute to the involvement of people with mental illnesses in the criminal justice system, discussed the need to develop approaches that take into account individuals’ criminogenic risk factors and their functional impairments, and presented an intervention model that does both. The webinar concluded with a question-and-answer period.

Click here to download or listen to the webinar.

Click here to download the powerpoint presentation.

Just to note, I have been trying all day to listen to the webinar archive with no luck. Admittedly, it could be the operator. Update: Use Internet Explorer, not Firefox.

Truvia case continues as options weighed

Post from Tyler Paper:

State Trying To Certify Alleged Teacher Stabber As An Adult For Trial
Staff Writer

Another detention hearing was waived on Monday in the case of the juvenile who is accused in the stabbing death of John Tyler High School teacher Todd Henry. The stabbing took place on September 23 while Henry sat at his desk inside of a special education classroom.

Jim Huggler, the youth’s attorney, said there are two ways in which the state may proceed—through discretionary transfer, or through a determinate sentence. He said the state has already filed a petition for discretionary transfer, which could lead to the accused juvenile to be tried as an adult.

“The state is in the process now of performing a court transfer study, which has been happening for the past few weeks,” he said.

There are several factors to consider when making that determination, according to the Texas Family Code. The first consideration is whether the alleged offense was against person or property, with the greater weight given in favor of offenses against a person. The other points to evaluate in the court transfer study are the sophistication and maturity of the child; the record and previous history of the child; and the prospects of adequate protection of the public and the likelihood of the rehabilitation of the child by use of procedures, services and facilities currently available to the juvenile court.

Huggler said he did not know when the process of the court transfer study would be complete.

The other possibility for the accused juvenile will be for a determinate sentence, which means that the youth’s case will be handled by the juvenile court system.

Watch and the Tyler Morning Telegraph today and Tuesday for more details on this story.

Post from
SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - Another hearing has taken place in the case of accused murderer Byron Truvia, 16. Truvia is accused of fatally stabbing his teacher at John Tyler High School in September.

The state has asked for Truvia's case to be moved to adult court. But, we learned prosecutors are also asking for something called a determinate sentencing.

Truvia's attorney says, if that happens, the court could find enough evidence to hand down a sentence of up to 40 years.

"That is one of the options," said Jim Huggler, Truvia's attorney. "That'll be up to the District Attorney to determine which road to take."

Truvia is still being held at the Smith County Juvenile Attention Center. Another hearing is scheduled in two weeks.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Evaluation of the Individual Process Ward for Juvenile Offenders Who Are Not Suitable for Group Treatment: Summary

“The aim of the investigation is to acquire knowledge of the possible effects of the ITA [Individuele Trajectafdelinfg or Individual Process Ward] for juveniles in respect of whom a group approach within regular treatment wards has proved unsuitable” (p.1). Sections of this summary are: background of the investigation; aim of the investigation and formulation of the issues involved; structure of the investigation and working method; findings according to the ITA in theory (i.e., intended approach, effective methods and technologies, principles of effective interventions)and ITA in practice (i.e., the target group reached, implementation and realized preconditions, realized approach, incidents, sickness, absence, and staff turnover, targets attained by the juveniles; conclusion, and points for attention. It does not appear that risk of violence or recidivism is reduced by ITAs. Click here for the pdf.

Repeat Offenses in Texas Raise Questions Over Release of Mentally Ill Juveniles

From the NY Times:
Repeat Offenses in Texas Raise Questions Over Release of Mentally Ill Juveniles

Published: December 20, 2009

TYLER, Tex. (AP) — A 16-year-old former juvenile detainee was accused of stabbing a high school teacher to death with a butcher knife. Another teenager was convicted of killing a roofer during a robbery spree.

Both were released by the Texas Youth Commission because the agency was not equipped to treat their mental illnesses, and under the law, had to let them go.

The cases highlight what some juvenile justice experts say is a loophole in the way Texas treats under-age offenders with severe psychiatric issues. Data obtained by The Associated Press reveal that the commission has released more than 200 offenders because of mental health issues in the last five years and that more than one-fifth of them went on to commit new crimes, some of them violent.

“All these cases are failures where we should have done something different,” said Richard Lavallo, legal director for Advocacy Incorporated, an organization in Austin that helps children with disabilities.

In most states, young offenders are not discharged from custody because of mental illness unless they are being committed to hospitals. But under a 1997 law meant to keep mentally ill juveniles from being held in detention centers where they cannot get proper treatment, youths in Texas who are serving indeterminate sentences and who have completed their minimum required time in custody are released to parents or guardians.

While some experts said Texas should be commended for not warehousing such offenders where they cannot get treatment, they questioned the logic of releasing them without ensuring that they receive supervision.

“Without some requirement for supervision, it doesn’t seem like a sound policy to me,” said Gail Wasserman, a professor of clinical psychology at Columbia University and the director of its Center for the Promotion of Mental Health in Juvenile Justice.

The issue gained notoriety in September after the fatal stabbing of a special education teacher at John Tyler High School in Tyler. The teacher, Todd Henry, 50, was sitting at his desk in his classroom when he was attacked.

The Texas Youth Commission had released the boy accused of killing Mr. Henry in July because of multiple mental health issues, including schizophrenia, said his lawyer, Jim Huggler. The teenager, whom The A.P. was not identifying because he is a juvenile and has not been charged as an adult, had been committed in 2007 for aggravated assault.

Mr. Huggler said he had seen nothing to indicate that the boy’s family, which had moved to Tyler from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, had received a plan from officials on how to deal with his mental problems.

“This case is sad on so many levels,” he said.

The commission makes sure offenders released because of mental illness receive referrals to their local Mental Health and Mental Retardation centers. But there is nothing that requires the youths or their families to avail themselves of those services.

Cherie Townsend, the commission’s executive director, declined to comment about specific cases. But she acknowledged that it might be time to limit some of the releases for public safety reasons or require that some releases have conditions attached.

“We’ve got to find a middle ground where we assure public safety and accountability for actions that have taken place and at the same time find better ways to provide treatment for these youth,” Ms. Townsend said.

Any changes would have to be approved by the Legislature, which is not scheduled to meet again until January 2011.

Lawmakers did approve a measure in the spring that allows youths released from custody because of mental illness to receive case management services like those available to parolees.

But the author of the legislation, Representative Jim McReynolds, a Democrat, said the Tyler case had convinced him that the measure did not go far enough.

According to the youth commission, 206 juvenile offenders had been released in the last five years because of mental illness. Of those, 43 were incarcerated again. Most were returned to custody for burglary or robbery, but some were convicted of more serious offenses, including two for arson and two for sex crimes involving children.

Among those discharged was Jeremy Miera, 21, who is serving a life sentence for the fatal shooting of a 45-year-old roofer in May 2006.

Records provided to The A.P. by Mr. Miera’s family show that he was released on parole from a Texas Youth Commission facility in May 2005 and discharged entirely four months later for “inability to progress due to mental illness/retardation.”

TYC: Fewer Teens Discharged Over Mental Illness

TYC: Fewer Teens Discharged Over Mental Illness
Staff Writer

During the past two years, the Texas Youth Commission (TYC) has expanded its treatment abilities for incarcerated youth and has significantly reduced the number of juveniles it has discharged because of their failure to make progress while in treatment for mental health issues, said Jim Hurley, public information officer for the TYC on Monday.

Hurley was not able to give specific numbers of releases but said that every youth who is admitted to the TYC is evaluated individually. "If they have been diagnosed with mental health issues, we have psychologists and psychiatrists and medication to treat them, and we also may send them to the Corsicana Crisis Stabilization Unit," he said.

The comments came in response to a widely distributed Associated Press story on Sunday night that stated that the 16-year-old juvenile who stabbed John Tyler High School Teacher Todd Henry in September was released from the TYC because the agency wasn't equipped to deal with his illness and had to release him under Texas law. Henry was sitting at his desk in his classroom when he was attacked.

The juvenile accused of the crime is being held in the Smith County Jail. His attorney, Jim Huggler, has requested that each of his scheduled detention hearings at the Smith County Juvenile Attention Center be waived in the "best interest of his client." The hearings have been scheduled every two weeks since the youth's arrest in September.

In July, the TYC had discharged the boy who later was accused in the killing of Henry. His dis- charge came because he had been diagnosed with mental health issues including schizophrenia, Huggler said.

The story also mentioned Jeremy Miera, now 21, who is serving a lifetime prison sentence for the fatal shooting of a 45-year-old roofer in May 2006. Records provided to the AP by Miera's family show that he was released on parole from a Texas Youth Commission facility in May 2005 and discharged entirely four months later for "inability to progress due to mental illness and mental retardation."

It was his second stint in juvenile detention after originally being committed at 15 for robbery and being returned for fighting at school.

While in juvenile custody, Miera was diagnosed with depressive disorder. His parole included intensive surveillance and conditions that required him to seek employment, do community service, remain at home in the evening and continue taking the antidepressant Prozac.

In most states, youthful offenders aren't discharged from custody because of mental illness unless they are being committed to hospitals. But under a 1997 law meant to keep mentally ill juveniles from being held in detention centers where they can't get proper treatment, Texas youths who are serving indeterminate sentences and who have completed their minimum required time in custody are released to their parents or guardians.

"We are required by law to discharge them if they have completed their minimum period confinement period and if they have a primary brain disorder that keeps them from progressing in our mental health programs," Hurley said. He said that because he is not a mental health professional, he is unable to determine when a youth is not making such progress.

"Even when they are discharged, we cannot force a parent to make sure they get treatment," Hurley said.

In cases in which youths are being placed on parole from the TYC, he said no one is released without re-entry planning. Hurley said the Commission works with mental health providers to ensure there is a plan in place to address the parolees' needs and that they monitor parolees.

Lawmakers approved a measure last spring that allows youth released from custody due to mental illness to receive case management services like those available to parolees. But the author of the legislation, Rep. Jim McReynolds, D-Lufkin, said the Tyler case has convinced him that the measure doesn't go far enough. "This has to be looked at much more globally than a little quick fix," he said.

According to the TYC, 206 juvenile offenders have been released in the past five years because of diagnosed mental illness. Of those, 43 have been reincarcerated. Most were returned to custody for burglary or robbery, but some were convicted of more serious offenses, including two for arson and two for sex crimes involving children.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Hooks found NGRI

Judge Declares Murder Suspect Legally Insane
Staff Writer

QUITMAN -- After more than four years in and out of court for murder, aggravated assault charges and competency hearings, Wood County officials say Kaleb Richard Hooks will most likely spend the rest of his life at Vernon State Hospital. The 402nd district court concluded Hooks suffers from a severe mental illness and will "likely cause serious harm to others."

After reviewing medical evidence and hearing testimony from defense counsel Monday, Judge G. Timothy Boswell found Hooks was legally insane at the time of an attack on a Wood County Justice Center inmate. The aggravated assault with a deadly weapon charge, a first-degree felony, was enhanced with a hate crime paragraph, as Hooks yelled racial slurs while attacking a fellow inmate. Wood County District Attorney Jim Wheeler said the charge is in the same category as a murder charge.

Although Hooks has not been convicted of a murder charge, stemming from the 2005 beating death of an East Texas man, Wheeler said he is satisfied that Hooks will be locked away for good and unable to harm anyone else.

"The statute of limitations does not run out on a murder case," Wheeler said. "In the unlikely event that he is released, he'll still have to answer to that charge. Our commitment is to protect the public."

The trial for the aggravated assault charge began in September, but it ended in a mistrial after Hooks disrupted court by "acting up" and had to be restrained during the jury selection phase.

Prior to the trial, his defense attorneys -- Clifton "Scrappy" Holmes and David Moore -- insisted that Hooks be evaluated again.

Hooks was initially charged with murder in 2005 following the beating death of 47-year-old Steven Tinney. He was found competent to stand trial, but later released from that charge in 2007, after doctors found that he was incompetent. He was ordered to Vernon State Hospital then, but later deemed competent again by doctors. Since that time, officials say Hooks continued to disrupt court, and allegedly, was violent toward a Wood County jailer, in which he has another charge.

Wheeler said Hooks' mental illness may be the result of abusing inhalants, which allegedly occurred after he made bail on the murder charge in 2005.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Free Summit on Mental Health and Juvenile Justice

Join Texans Care for Children and Texas Mental Health and Juvenile Justice Action Network for the:
Texas Summit on
Mental Health and Juvenile Justice
Featuring presentations, panel discussions, and more with
Texas parents of system‐involved youth and national experts from :
• The National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice
• The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges
• The New York State Office of Children and Family Services
9 a.m. ‐ 3 p.m.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
In the Capitol Building Auditorium in Austin

Click Here For the Form

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Guillory Lynches Himself

Although Mr. Guillory claims that Judge Getz has publicly lynched him, I think that Guillory did that to himself. You know if you give a man enough rope . . .
Case in point, here's a story from KETK and Guillory's response the following day.

Story by Roger Gray:

He describes himself as autodidactic, which means self taught.

And he is the loudest element in the case of murdered John Tyler teacher Todd Henry.

And, he is a bishop to boot.

He claims to be the Ombudsman General. He claims to be a Unitarian Bishop.

Both of those titles were self-awarded by Leroy Joseph Guillory, who has now inserted himself into the case of the John Tyler High School stabbing suspect.

According to sources in Henderson, where he owns a home, Guillory made several accusations of racism there against the police department, U.S. Post Office, and the city in general.

He came from California, where he ran for congress, garnering 1.1% of the vote, and more importantly, went to prison.

Guillory was given 15 years in prison in Los Angeles for kidnapping. He was apparently paroled and formed his own governmental watchdog group, Ombudsman International.

The group has two addresses, one in Washington D.C. and one in Beverly Hills. Both are PO Boxes.

He claims to be a Unitarian bishop, but that denomination has no true ordained clergy.

And now he represents the family of the accused John Tyler stabber.

And he has made the firing of court-appointed attorney Jim Huggler his mission…

And that has earned him the scorn of Judge Jim Getz who has banned Guillory from the courthouse grounds.

Guillory has been quoted as claiming the entire process is racist, and the city to boot.

Whether he continues to be a presence in this case isn’t much in doubt.

Unless of course, he is named a Cardinal.

Tuesday we told you about Bishop L.J. Guillory, who is involved in the case of the student accused of stabbing a teacher to death at John Tyler High School.

He still says he is a Bishop in the Unitarian Church, and that the Smith County justice system is so racist, a fair trial for the accused stabbing suspect is impossible.

We sat down with him today…

He claims a doctorate of divinity from Bailey’s Temple, and Christ Paradise Church in Tyler.

“I didn’t assume it, it was bestowed on me.” He says.

“By whom?” we asked.

“By an Archbishop and 7 Bishops.”

He owns up to his time spent in prison, but Guillory has a bigger message to deliver.

He claims that attorney Jim Huggler, who represents the John Tyler High School stabbing suspect, is incompetent,

“My problem with Mr. Huggler,” Guillory says, “is the problem I would have with anyone who lies to the clients mother and other individuals about what he did and what he didn’t do.”

“I am an outstanding attorney,” Huggler told us by phone late Thursday. “I am a past president of the Smith County Bar Association. I am a past president of the Smith County Criminal Defense Attorney’s Association. I am a speaker for the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association. I am board certified in criminal law, and there are about 838 lawyers out of about 80,000 that have achieved that level of professionalism.”

Huggler says this is interfering with what is a very serious case…

“He’s crossed the line himself and he’s done it multiple times,” Huggler told us.

“That’s not inserting yourself,” Guillory responds. “Any American can do that. Unless you’re black…in Tyler.
And Guillory also says, Judge Floyd Getz is racist.

“For a judge to publically lynch you, to publically humiliate you…” he complains.

And he says it is the corrupt Smith County justice system that has preordained the outcome in this case…

"The Judge has already predetermined how this was going to work,” Guillory says. “That everybody was in place. Oh Bishop Guillory is coming here to change things. I don't like the way he's doing things boss. Can you please get rid of him for me? Bring that negro forward. I'll deal with that negro. Negro what are you doing here? Didn't you go to prison. Didn't we taint your name? Get your tail out of here. But, what he don't understand is that there is still people in Washington that listen to me."

Thanks, Roger Gray, for reporting on this. People like Guillory really taint those who are really trying to make positive changes in the justice system.

Extremist, Self-Proclaimed Bishop, Guillory Has His Own Blog

This man gives civil rights activists a bad name and he's created his own blog to promote himself. His rhetoric reminds me of the Turkey on National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, all show, no meat. Judge for yourself: At least he admits on his blog that he is not related to the government in any way. Notice he does not allow comments to be posted to his entries.

Previous posts on Guillory:
OMG - Guillory barred from Byron Truvia Proceedings
Truvia Family Seeks New Lawyer says Family Spokesperson
Truvia Ruled Fit to Proceed (without an evaluation): Where's the Integrity in the Justice System?

CJAD's latest Report to the Governor on Diversion Funding

TDCJ this week issued its latest report to the Governor analyzing the results from expanded prison diversion funding at Texas probation departments, giving us a sense of the initial results from Texas' investments in community corrections in the 79th and 80th Legislatures. Here's the report.

Departments that received diversion funds from the 79th and 80th Legislatures reduced their revocations by 4.14%, while departments that didn't get the money saw their revocations increase by 9.79%. (Departments had to agree to implement diversion strategies to get the money and some didn't want to.) Even more startlingly, departments receiving diversion funds saw technical revocations (for rule violations instead of new crimes) decline by 14.24%, while in departments receiving no funding, technical revocations increased by 11.51%.

How did Smith County do? Well, there was a 17.1% increase in felony revocations, and 24.6% increase in overall felony placements. And, no, Smith County was not willing to implement the suggested diversion strategies so they did not get the diversion funds. So, Smith County out-revoked the state average for those counties receiving no funding. Way to go Smith County! Still sending folks to prison in record numbers! (For those of you not catching the sarcasm, having a history of sending the most people to prison per capita is not good).

Friday, December 4, 2009

Key questions in mental competency issue

From Dallas Morning News

Key questions in mental competency issue

If a judge approves the Army's request for a mental responsibility evaluation, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan's sanity will be evaluated by a board that includes a physician or clinical psychologist. The board must decide four questions:

• Was the gunman suffering from "a severe mental disease or defect" at the time of the crime?

• What is the clinical psychiatric diagnosis?

• Did the mental illness make the accused unable to understand the "wrongfulness of his or her conduct?"

• Does the mental illness prevent the defendant from assisting defense lawyers?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

OMG - Guillory barred from Byron Truvia Proceedings

Family spokesperson barred from future hearings
Posted: Nov 30, 2009 5:14 PM CST Updated: Nov 30, 2009 5:14 PM CST
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Family spokesperson barred from future hearings
RAW: Bishop Leroy Guillory's outburst in court
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Snow for parts of Texas this week. Freeze on the way to East Texas.
Road crew finds body with stab wounds
SJS: East Texan diagnosed with rare skin disease
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Janis Demarest - email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - What started as a routine hearing in the case of Byron Truvia took an unexpected turn Monday afternoon.

The scheduled detention hearing only took only a few minutes, but an outsiders involvement quickly led to some heated moments, in and outside of the courtroom. The man at the center of controversy is Bishop LJ Guillory. He is serving as a spokesman for the Truvia family. In the last few weeks he has been working to have the teen's attorney Jim Huggler removed from the case.

Monday, the judge had Guillory removed from the courtroom and barred from the Smith County juvenile facility.

"Smith County has not heard the last of Bishop Guillory," yelled Bishop Guillory. "You may take away mobility but my mentalitiy is my own. I will be back with the feds and we will be over there marching and protesting and fighting 'cause God is in control, amen."

Judge Floyd Getz also told Guillory he will consider issuing a protective order that would bar him from any involvement in this case.

"The judge certainly has the ability to control who comes into his courtroom," said Jim Huggler, Truvia's attorney. "Courts are public places and you have to ask yourself what Mr. Guillory did that got him excluded from this juvenile center."

Judge Getz also noted that the relationship between Jim Huggler and Byron Truvia's family has been strained because of Guillory's interference.

Huggler said that his relationship with his client has not been damaged.

Judge Questions Guillory:

Judge Ousts Family Spokesman
Staff Writer

The spokesman for the family of a teenager accused of fatally stabbing John Tyler High School teacher Todd Henry earlier this year was told Monday during a court hearing he would be arrested if he set foot back on the property of the Smith County Juvenile Attention Center.

During an exchange of questions after an ex parte hearing, Judge Floyd Getz asked Bishop L.J. Guillory about his contact with court personnel and a probation officer regarding the case.

Getz said he felt the contact was inappropriate and, because Guillory was not an immediate family member or guardian of the juvenile and not the attorney in the case, he should not be involved with the case.

"I understand that as recent as today you have made contact with the court coordinator and with officers of the court to gain information about the case," Getz said.

Guillory said he had made contact and was doing so in order to gain information as to the process of having the teen's attorney, Jim Huggler, removed from the case because he and the family felt Huggler had proven to be "incompetent."

Getz then asked Guillory if he had ever served time in prison and Guillory responded he had for three felonies in California.

Getz asked Guillory about Ombudsman International and his role in the organization. Guillory said the organization has thousands of members and was established to help people with injustices. Getz then asked Guillory where he went to seminary and Guillory replied, "I didn't, but neither did Jesus Christ."

After asking Huggler what he thought Guillory's involvement in the case had done, Huggler said he felt it had caused irreparable damage to his relationship with the teen's mother Denise Truvia and other family members.

Getz told Guillory he was being warned away from the building and if he returned would be arrested for criminal trespass. He added he was considering placing a protective order in the case, which would bar Guillory from any further involvement in the case and any contact with the teen's family.

Guillory, who was then escorted from the premises by Smith County Sheriff's deputies, shouted that Smith County and Getz were racists and he was not afraid of Getz or of the justice system in the county.

"Smith County is racist and has not seen the last of Bishop L.J. Guillory. What just happened is like a town hall lynching," he said, shaking his fist at the building as deputies watched. Moments later, Guillory, Ms. Truvia and her sister sped from the parking lot in the bishop's Cadillac Escalade.



Guillory and Ms. Truvia then addressed CBS19 and the

Tyler Morning Telegraph

at the television station's offices about the injustices he contends are being conducted in Tyler regarding the case.

Guillory said he would be sure to follow the law and would be questioning other judges as to Getz's decision to bar him from any further proceedings at the Juvenile Attention Center.

"We all have a responsibility to do our best to help others and that is what I am doing. I will stay away from the building until a real judge says Getz does not have that authority," he said.

Ms. Truvia said she had sought Guillory's help after her son was detained and added, "He is the family's spokesperson."

"He's only trying to help and Bishop Guillory is a good man," she said.

She added she was sorry for Henry's death and her heart went out to his widow and family members for their loss.

"My boy was and is sick and he needs help," she said.

Guillory contends Huggler is "incompetent as an attorney" because he is not communicating with the family nor asking their thoughts on what needs to be done in the case.

Guillory then leveled accusations that Huggler had been fired from the Smith County District Attorney's Office for "unscrupulous actions" and questioned why Huggler took a reporter to Ms. Truvia's home for an interview without her permission.

Smith County First Assistant District Attorney April Sykes said Guillory's inflammatory accusations about Huggler, a former president of the Smith County Bar Association, and his job performance as an assistant district attorney were false.

"Jim Huggler was not fired from the Smith County District Attorney's Office, and he certainly never committed any unscrupulous actions," she said.

Guillory said everything combined proves Huggler is not the right attorney for Ms. Truvia's son.

"She doesn't have the money to hire an attorney, but I do and I will put up everything I have to see that justice is done in this case," he said tossing land deeds and car titles on a conference table to stress his point.

Guillory and Ms. Truvia said they did not believe the teen should be allowed to go home, but having Huggler continue to waive detention hearings, as he did Monday, was not the right thing to be doing.

"We're not saying he should be released, but we are saying he needs to be somewhere that he can get the mental help he needs," Guillory said about the teen being detained.

The teen is scheduled to appear before Judge Getz on Dec. 14 for his next detention hearing.