Minors released home for house arrest despite police demand for stay in reform institution

Monday, April 22, 10:30 The following is an account of the release of the last of the youths suspected of involvement in two incidents of assault, one in Teveria (Tiberius) and the other in Tel Aviv. Subsequent to the insistence of Honenu’s team of lawyers and the realization that in one of the cases there was insufficient evidence, the youths were released to house arrest. For two months three minors sat in remand on suspicion of involvement with two incidents of violence. After two months the court decided that there was insufficient evidence in one of the incidents and the three detainees were released to house arrest. Honenu insisted that the minors not fulfill their house arrest in an institution for juvenile delinquents reasoning that in such an institution they would genuinely learn how to be criminals. Six Honenu attorneys have been working recently on a complex case in which youths, among them minors, were accused of attacking several Arabs. The attorneys are of the opinion that a stay in an institution for juvenile delinquents would be highly detrimental to the youths and insisted that they remain in remand in a detention center until a solution was reached. A stay in a detention center is indeed not a pleasant experience, all the more so for youths, the youngest of whom is only 15 years old, say the staff of Honenu and add that, “In this case there was no choice other than to insist that they remain in remand until a suitable alternative was found that would not exacerbate the situation and harm the youths.” The three youths were detained approximately two months ago on suspicion of involvement with two incidents of violence. Despite the recommendation made by the youth probation service to release them to house arrest already a month ago the police demanded that the court reconsider the decision in light of the fact that the case involved two separate incidents. Because the case involves youths with no criminal record the premise of the youth probation service is that it would not be beneficial for them to be in complete remand. In the end the youth probation service suggested an alternative more strict than house arrest, an institution for juvenile delinquents. The Honenu attorneys representing the youths strongly objected to the suggested alternative to the remand. “Our experience shows that institutions for juvenile delinquents achieve exactly the opposite result of what is wanted. Instead of a youth being rehabilitated and returning to the proper path, the institution serves as a greenhouse for raising expert criminals.” In the complex case being tried simultaneously in the Tel Aviv and Natzrat Juvenile Courts, indictments were filed against four youths, three of them minors. No fewer than six Honenu attorneys participated in the defense of the case. Ran Shaham, Tomer Schwartz, Aharon Roza, Chai Haber, Adi Kedar and Bentzi Kabler handled the cases in both courts. Initially there were other detainees in the case who were released after several weeks after it became apparent that they were not involved with the supposed incidents. The harsh treatment by the courts was due to the fact that there are two incidents of violence in the case. After two months of deliberations the Tel Aviv court reached the stage at which the evidence was supposed to be presented. During the course of the deliberations it became clear that the police were having great difficulty in presenting evidence and that there was great doubt that the attack had actually occurred. In light of that Judge Tzion Kafah, a juvenile court judge in the Tel Aviv District Court, released the youths to house arrest and not to the rehabilitation institution recommended by the youth probation service. “There has been a turn around concerning the facts [of the case],” wrote Judge Kafah in his decision and specified, “The involvement of the defendants in the attack on the complainant is not clear at all and there a quite a few puzzling aspects [in the case].” Later also Natzrat District Juvenile Court Judge Yonatan Avraham ordered the release of the youths to their homes according to the conditions determined by the Tel Aviv Magistrate Court. The two judges based their decision on the fact that in the end the case involved only one incident and in light of the circumstances it was sufficient for the youths to be under house arrest under the supervision of their parents in addition to wearing an electronic ankle monitor which enables them to be located at all times. The detainees were released to their homes after bail was posted. Honenu expresses satisfaction at the release. “Although it [the release] came late, we feel that our insistence was worth the effort. Their release home has genuinely saved these youth.” Honenu attorney Adi Kedar summarizes the legal angle of the case: “After a prolonged and complex legal battle to which six Honenu attorneys devoted their efforts, in a rare step the district court ruled that in one of the instances the evidence which the police presented had a significant lack. Rendering the claims – on the basis of which one of the indictments was filed – of the police baseless changed the picture and facilitated the release of the youths to their homes.”

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