‘God Hates Fags’ Teen Denied Bail

John Bambenek is climbing the charts at Digg with a shocking story about a 16-year-old high school girl thrown into prison and denied bail because she is accused of distributing flyers in her high school that “depicted a male classmate kissing another classmate and had the words ‘God Hates Fags.'” He notes that even accused murderers usually get bail.

Outrageous, right?

Well, not so much. If one follows the link in the story first to Fox News and from there to its link to the Daily Herald, it turns out that there’s a wee bit more to the story than a loony lefty judge gone berserk.

Citing concerns over the girl’s home environment and her already lengthy juvenile record, Judge Michael Chmiel denied the girl’s request for home detention. Instead Chmiel ordered her held in the Kane County Juvenile Justice Center while the case is pending.

The girl’s record, Chmiel said, features 13 contacts with police, including an arrest for marijuana possession in August. McHenry County court records show that within the past year the girl also has been charged for driving without a license, consumption of alcohol by a minor, possession of tobacco by a minor, trespassing and three curfew violations. “I’m concerned about you having some potentially negative influences around you,” Chmiel told her. “I think the environment is ripe for failure.”

The girl’s mother said her daughter had gone through some “rough spots” but had not been a problem in the home for at least a year. She later declined comment on the judge’s decision or the charges.

It’s rather hard to fault a judge for suspecting that sending a child home under those circumstances would be counterproductive.

FILED UNDER: Gender Issues, Law and the Courts, , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Anderson says:

    The real question is, why was she *arrested* for distributing flyers at school?

    No way is that constitutional, my friends. Discipline might’ve been appropriate, depending on the facts; but this “hate crime” b.s. is over the top.

  2. I’m SURE all the juvinile gang members jailed this Memorial weekend in LA will be held indefinitely for having a bad home life and having previous brushes with the law.

  3. Mark says:

    She is also being charged with a hate crime…

  4. madmatt says:

    Show me where accused murderers get parole…certainly not in any liberal states…must be a red state deal!

  5. Michael says:

    A minor point of detail: The flier depicted an actual classmate, not a generic “male”. Evidently this girl (and another who did get bail) had been fighting with this other student, and the flier was more for social humiliation than religious conviction.

    The girl is charged with a hate crime yes, but also with disorderly conduct and resisting a peace officer. If it were just the fliers, they probably would not have been arrested, but if a police officer tried to make them stop and they refused or even fought back, that is another thing all together..

  6. Anderson says:

    but if a police officer tried to make them stop

    This seems to beg the question. If a cop *illegally* tries to make me stop exercising my First Amendment rights, then why am I jailed for resisting his illegal efforts to do so?

    If a cop burgles my house, am I being disorderly if I shoot him?

    As for the motives behind the flier, I would want to see a case where the *motive* behind speech decided whether it’s protected.

    If putting up pix of people you hate, with nasty slogans, is banned, then American politics will never be the same.

  7. just me says:

    I am still not convinced there is a crime.

    Resisting arrest-what was she being arrested for? What crime was the cop trying to stop.

    I have real issues with hate crimes, because they thought crimes.

    If the fliers encouraged violence, there may be a crime, but people do have a right to be offensive.

    Seems to me that this is a school discipline issue, not a criminal one, and I am really uncomfortable with holding a kid in a detention center for a bad homelife.

    When I worked juvenile probation, kids with bad home lifes went to foster care or similar group homes, not detention centers. Shoot when I worked juvenile probation, the county I lived in-pretty much a kid all but had to committ a murder or serious assault to be held in detention.

  8. Mark says:

    Show me where accused murderers get parole…certainly not in any liberal states…

    Nah, in liberal states they just give the killers weekend furloughs where they go off and rape and murder some other person. In fact, it cost a certain Massachusetts governor the presidency in 1988…

  9. Sure, the child had run-ins with law enforcement before (which I mentioned), but those run-ins included things like curfew violations. Seriously, that’s not exactly a hardened criminal offense. The worst was possessing pot.

    To flip the tables, do you think most, say, drug offenders have Norman Rockwell families they go home to? Of course not. But today, by the hundreds, drug offenders are not only getting bail, but are being released on their own recognizance while this *child* languishes in jail for misusing photoshop.

  10. just me says:

    To flip the tables, do you think most, say, drug offenders have Norman Rockwell families they go home to? Of course not. But today, by the hundreds, drug offenders are not only getting bail, but are being released on their own recognizance while this *child* languishes in jail for misusing photoshop.

    This is a good point, and a lot of people argue (rightfully) that drug possession and use shouldn’t entail a saty behind bars.

  11. Michael says:

    As for the motives behind the flier, I would want to see a case where the *motive* behind speech decided whether it’s protected.

    Yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater? Death threats? How about disturbing the peace?

    The first amendment doesn’t protect every stupid thing that may come out of your mouth, and motive is a big consideration in first amendment cases. In this case, emotionally attacking a specific fellow classmate is not protected speech, and suppressing it does not endanger a free society.

    If putting up pix of people you hate, with nasty slogans, is banned, then American politics will never be the same.

    This wasn’t a public figure, celebrity, or even an adult that was targeted. This was a 16 year old boy. Surely if this was a teaching doing it, we’d all be outraged and calling for prison time (remember the faked shooting story not to long ago?). The fact that it was a another classmate who did this doesn’t make the boy any less of a victim.

  12. Michael says:

    Resisting arrest-what was she being arrested for? What crime was the cop trying to stop.

    Presumably the cop was trying to keep the peace in a public high school. I would imagine that instead of complying with the officer, this young lady probably reacted with verbal assaults on the officer, then physical ones when he tried to physically stop her disruption.

    Police officers assigned to schools are there because administrators do not have the authority to enforce order when students don’t comply. Now you want to take away the ability of the police to enforce order in public schools? How long should she have been allowed to disrupt the education of other students? How long should she have been allowed to harass her fellow students? The cop did his job, plain and simple.

  13. Anderson says:

    Michael, expressing hatred towards a classmate or towards a category of people, or towards the whole damn human race, is not a CRIME in America.

    If a student wrongfully harasses another student, then it’s up to the school to enforce its rules. I do not much care to “imagine” why the student might have deserved to be arrested for disorderly conduct. I do know that she has been unconstitutionally charged with the crime of hating other people and saying as much.

  14. Michael says:

    Anderson,
    Perhaps you can tell me then, what the substantive difference is between these flyers and burning crosses or swastikas?

  15. TJIT says:

    Michael asked Anderson to

    Perhaps you can tell me then, what the substantive difference is between these flyers and burning crosses or swastikas?

    Let me take a crack at that one. People who burn crosses on their property and display swastikas don’t go to jail for it.

    It was an offensive flyer. But I assure you it is well within the range of cruelties high school students regularly inflict on each other. Without, it should be noted, being sent to jail.

  16. Michael says:

    TJIT,
    This was also done on someone else’s property.

  17. TJIT says:

    Michael,

    From the linked article

    A 16-year-old Crystal Lake girl facing a felony hate crime charge alleging she and a friend distributed anti-homosexual fliers at her high school

    According to the article it was distributed on public property at the high school.

    I’m concerned about the free speech implications of this case, she is facing a felony charge over distributing offensive flyers.

    Free speech is not protected just by defending inoffensive speech everyone agrees with. It is defended when the right to say offensive things almost everybody disagrees with is defended.

    Ugly fact but that is the way it is.

  18. m anderson says:

    For crying out loud stop talking tom tit. She was arrested for expressing herself not because she had a shite home life. If teenagers were kept in illegal detention for having a crap home life half the teenagers in the world would be in prison. Besides that, why didnt the powers that be do something about her home life before she posted the flyers? ‘Cos they didnt give a f*ck!

  19. Michael says:

    Free speech is not protected just by defending inoffensive speech everyone agrees with. It is defended when the right to say offensive things almost everybody disagrees with is defended.

    No, the constitution is not there to give you the ability to be an ass. It’s there to give protection to those who keep the government in check. Calling a classmate a fag and distribution fliers at his public school are NOT protected actions. It’s illegal to distribute content with obscene language in a public high school. I don’t see why it wouldn’t be illegal to distribute derogatory and hateful content directed at a single specific student.

  20. just me says:

    I agree with Anderson-if her homelife was so crappy, why didn’t they do something when she committed the real and obvious crimes, was she held in detention without bail for those crimes?

    I don’t think what she did was right or ideal, and I sure enough wouldn’t want my kid standing in a school parking lot handing out those fliers about a fellow student, but I am having a hard time seeing a real crime here, and the disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges seem too much like add ons to justify making her stop.

    School discipline? Acceptable.
    Concern for homelife? Acceptable, but detention shouldn’t be the solution to concerns about a home life.

  21. Michael says:

    School discipline? Acceptable.

    And what exactly could the school have done to stop her actions? Any suspension or detention would have been after the fact punishment, but what could they have done to stop her while in the act? Or should they have just let it continue until she was finished?

  22. Shawn says:

    Anyone that believes that the first ammendment freedom of speech is absolute and not subject to regulation (Anderson) should spend a few minutes doing some research. Schools have the right to discipline students for speech that violates school rules and has the tendency to interfere with legitimate educational & disciplinary objectives per Bethel School District v Fraser. Slandering a fellow student would certainly fall under this. If she refused to cooperate with the school authorities, the police were absolutely correct for arresting her for delinquency & disorderly conduct. Would you seriously want high school students to be able to post or distribute anything that they wanted to their classmates?