Friday, 18 January 2019 10:12

Mentors Can Help Shape Young Lives

By Amy Weirich
Shelby County District Attorney General
Much has been said in recent weeks and months about juveniles and crime in Shelby County.
New juvenile facilities. More rehabilitation. Better representation. Fewer transfers to adult court.
Those are all worthy goals, but we can’t lose sight of the many victims of juvenile crime.
Major violent delinquent charges against juveniles in Shelby County for 2018 totaled 661, an 8.5% increase over last year and the highest total in eight years. That total includes 23 murders, 245 aggravated assaults, 235 aggravated robberies, and aggravated rapes, some involving child victims.
The number of all “delinquent” charges – called “criminal” charges for those over 18 – totaled 6,446 for 2018. 
That’s a lot of victims. I see them and hear from them daily.
Last year Juvenile Court transferred 73 juveniles – at our request for the safety of the community – to be tried as adults. All were charged with major violent crimes. (Interestingly, 40 of these juvenile defendants, more than half, did not challenge our petition to transfer. See attached list.)
Had we not sought transfer to be tried as adults, these juveniles would automatically have been released by Juvenile Court upon reaching their 19th birthday. No matter how serious the charges they faced, there would be no accountability and the community would be less safe.
There are many theories and explanations about how we got to this point, but one thing is clear: these young people didn’t turn to violent crime overnight. They lost their way years before because there was no one in their life to show them what hope looks like.
Here’s a suggestion going forward for everyone in the community: Be a mentor.
This is National Mentoring Month.
A mentor can show young people that someone cares about them, that they matter and that they are not alone to face the daily challenges. Mentors can have powerful and lasting positive effects on children.
According to MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership in Boston, a child with a mentor is 52 percent less likely to skip school; 55 percent more likely to enroll in college; 78 percent more likely to volunteer, and 130 percent more likely to hold a leadership position.
Our community-based mentoring program – Every DAy in School – matches mentors with middle school students. It involves a background check, a one-year commitment and just eight hours a month. We are an affiliate partner of MENTOR Memphis Grizzlies.
Since Ty’Juan Williams, an employee in our office, began mentoring a 12-year-old student, officials at his school say his mentee’s behavior and grades have dramatically improved. (Ty’Juan and young Trumaine recently made their TV debut on WREG-TV’s Live at 9!)
Two years ago I received a letter from a young man who wrote about the violence and obstacles he faced growing up in Memphis, and about the “dramatic effect” his mentor, Shelby County Sheriff’s Deputy Eric Holmes, had on his life.
He began taking honors classes, graduated high school with a 3.38 GPA, joined the Army, was a leader in his class and today holds the rank of sergeant and is deployed overseas.
“I told him when he was 14 that ‘I’m with you for life,’” Deputy Holmes said the other day. “He still keeps in contact.”
The deputy has another mentee who has become successful in the music industry as a manager.
“Children need direction,” Deputy Holmes said. “Without it, you have chaos.”
As I’ve said many times, I don’t want to fill the jails. I want to fill the classrooms. Mentors can help do that.
There is nothing better we can give our children than a good education. That is the key to everything, even a reduction in crime.
At least 25% of juvenile crime is committed during school hours. Those youngsters are far less likely to graduate or go to college, and are much more likely to end up another sad statistic in the criminal justice system.
If you would like to become a mentor, please call our office at 222-1300.
A mentor can make a difference. A mentor can save a life.
Juvenile Transfers in 2018
Name ChargeAge (Time of Transfer)Status
B. A.CA: Agg Assault18Information 10/15/18
C. Al-WAgg. Robb. X 316Transferred 3/20/18 NBS
M. A. Carjacking X 216Waiver 6/7/18 $25,000
L. B.Rape17Waiver 3/16/18 ROR
T. B.Rape of a Child20Waiver 6/7/18 $4,000
D. B. Carjacking17Waiver 9/25/18
D. B. S.Agg. Robbery16Information 11/30/18
D. B.Aggravated Robbery15Transferred 4/26/18 $75,000
M.B. Agg. Asslt X 317Waiver 6/8/18 $4,000
C. B. Agg. Robb X 2, Carjacking17Transferred 10/16/18 $80,000
T. B.Agg Robb X 217Transferred 12/4/18 $50,000
C. B.CA: M1D X 416Transferred 3/22/18 $75,000
M. B.Murder 1st, Murder Perp., CA18Transferred 12/4/18 $500,000
C. B. Aggravated Robbery16Transferred 2/22/18 $65,000
C. B. Aggravated Robbery X 317Transferred 5/1/18
S. B. Agg Rape, Agg Kidnapping, E17Transferred 9/28/18 $100,000
L. B.Rape of a Child24Transferred 11/8/18 $25,000
K.C.Robbery X 3, Agg Burg X 1017Information 8/14/$30,000
I. C.Aggravated ROC19Waiver 5/29/18 $10,000
D. C.Aggravated Assault17Waiver 4/24/18 $30,000
J. C. Agg Robb X 215Waiver 11/2/18 $30,000
T. C.Aggravated Burglary18Waiver 1/3/18 $75,000
L. C.Aggravated Robbery X 216Transferred 2/22/18 $75,000
J.C.Aggravated Robbery17Waiver 1/23/18 $40,000
D. D.Aggravated Robbery18Waiver 5/1/18 $35,000
T. D.TOP Over $1,00019Waiver 4/3/18 $1,500
J. E.TOP Over $2,50018Waiver 6/5/18 $500
A. F.CA: M1, CA: Agg Robb, Agg 18Waiver 11/16/18 $60,000
M. F.Robbery19Waiver 4/4/18 $10,000
J. G.M1D17Waiver 2/9/18 NBS
J. G.CA: M1D17Transferred 4/15/18 $75,000
A. H.Aggravated Robbery16Transferred 4/26/18 $50,000
C. H.Agg Burg18Waiver 3/22/18 ROR
R. H.Agg Robb X 315Transferred 3/20/18 NBS
O. H.Carjacking, CA: Murder 2nd15Information 8/31/18 $50K
L. H.CA: M1st., Employ Firearm, TOP18Waiver 9/7/18 $100,000
K. J.FAC: Aggravated Robbery 17Waiver 5/15/18 $10,000
N. J.CA: M2D18Waiver 3/20/18 $75,000
G. J. Agg Robbery18Information 8/23/18
R. J.Agg Robb X 818Transferred 5/8/18 $250,000
T. J. AA X 1718Waiver 3/21/18 $NBS
G. K.Agg Robb, Agg Burg, TOP o/17Transferred 8/28/18 $50,000
A. K.Agg Robbery, Agg Kidnapping18Transferred 6/28/18 $150,000
M. K. Rape of a Child18Transferred 3/8/18 $10,000
C. L. Murder 1st17Transferred 9/4/18 NBS
L. L. Carjacking X2, TOP over $100017Transferred10/4/18 $40,000
D. L. Agg Burg, TOP o$10K,Burg17Transferred 10/2/18 $30,000
J. L. Aggravated Burglary18Waiver 5/25/18 ROR
K. L.CA: M1D16Waiver 2/20/18 $30,000
Z. M.Agg Robbery17Transferred 9/14/18 $75,000
K. M.Rape of a Child20Transferred 2/16/18 ROR
A. M.Burg MV, TOP under $100018Waiver 12/14/18 ROR
D. M.Agg Robb X 317Waiver 5/25/18 $25,000
J. M.Agg. Robb18Transferred 2/16/18 $50,000
J. P. CA: M1D16Waiver 2/20/18 $30,000
D. P.CA: M1D18Transferred 6/6/18 $500,000
I. P.Carjacking X 218Transferred 1/9/18 $75,000
D. R.Agg. Robbery X 317Transferred 2/21/18 $90,000
W. R.Rape of a Child24Transferred 10/16/18 $10,000
D. R.M1D, CA: Esp. Agg. Robbery18Waiver 10/30/18 $200,000
M. S.Fac: M2D18Waiver 4/18/18 ROR
O. S.M2nd, CA:M2nd, Employing17Transferred 8/24/18 $250,000
A. S.Agg Robb X 315Transferred 3/20/18 NBS
T. S.Carjacking, TOP over $250018Waiver 8/28/18 $10,000
R. S.Murder 1st, Murder Perp, CA17Transferred 12/5/18 $500,000
M. T.CA: M1D17Transferred 4/11/18 $75,000
V. T.Rape18Waiver 3/16/18 ROR
D. T.Aggravated Burglary18Waiver 4/6/18 $5,000
A. T.Fac: M2D18Waiver 4/18/18 ROR
C. T. Aggravated Robbery17Waiver 3/29/18 $2,500
C. W. Vehicular Homicide17Information 3/7/18
S. W. Rape17Transferred 5/11/18
J. W. Aggravated Robbery18Waiver 2/23/18 $35,000