Broken: TN juvenile justice system 'broken, outdated, in catastrophic failure'

of this world when teens condemn

innocent people on the streets of


first of all father God we want to thank

you for this precious life the vigils

may be different but the grief fills the

same the victim in this case 16 year old

de Briana Begley gunned down outside her

family's public housing apartment always

be missed a much leader who tried to

take my bank account I'll give it to you

but see bite that in life thank you for

everything it was 74 year old routine

walk shot and killed as he took out the

trash Kyle was nothing if not my best

friend and earlier this year

24 year old singer colleague or le'ts

murdered during an attempted carjacking

police were frustrated we've got to do


families have to do better the systems

have to do better

it is it is unfathomable juvenile crime

overall is going down Davidson County

juvenile court judge Sheila Callaway has

seen a drop in some crimes involving

kids like burglaries and aggravated

assaults the trend that keeps me up at

night that I don't get concerned about

is that our serious crimes that the

children that are committing or alleged

to have been committing murders or

aggravated robberies gun possessions

those crimes aren't necessarily going

down list your robbery charges were near

a five-year high and the number striking

auto theft involving juveniles shot up

along with the number of charges for

kids in possession of handguns you're

seeing more kids stealing cars and more

kids in possession of handguns

that's a deadly combination isn't it

yes that's exactly what I call a recipe

for disaster

lieutenant Blaine whitehead his the

Metro Nashville police departments UV no

crime task force

he calls auto theft a gateway crime

they'll start with auto theft and then

it just seems to escalate it almost

immediately will go to a violent crime

such as robbery carjacking aggravated


worst case scenario a homicide

and Nashville's Juvenal crime problem is

becoming Middle Tennessee's problem with

police regularly reporting pursuits and

other crimes involving the city's youth

here a chased by Hendersonville PD ends

with five teens bailing from a stolen

car police say by and large it's repeat

offenders who are driving the crime wave

why is it still being a problem why are

we still experiencing the same youth

committing violent offenses and car

thefts over and over and over again

are they not afraid of juvenile court

from our experiences they do not a lot

of times even think there was any

consequences because they're released so

fast they don't correlate that there was

even a consequence to them being

arrested for the stolen car or the gun

by law most juvenile criminal histories

are confidential

but News Channel five investigates

obtained juvenile crime data going back

almost eight years while it did not

contain names by cross-checking specific

charges with the dates of known crimes

we developed unprecedented insight into

the path that sometimes leads to murder

what we discovered is a revolving door

that often puts teen offenders in some

cases deeply troubled children back out

on the streets again and again and again

when a child commits a murder and that

child has been in and out of the system

do you say we failed that child oh when

a child has committed murder has been

alleged to commit murder and they've

been in and out of system I definitely

believe that we as a system as a

community have failed to a child in fact

out of some 35 kids charged with

homicide since 2016 we discovered almost

two-thirds had confirmed juvenile

records that should have set off alarms

among them two of debris onna Begley's

accused killers seen here as a mother

looking at these juvenile records they

should have been locked up

we showed des Briana's mother what we

uncovered sixteen-year-old jamarius Hill

was first arrested for theft of

merchandise at age 12 by 14 it was

handgun possession and evading arrest

at 15 he pulled up a car jacking charged

with aggravated robbery auto theft and

in possession he was put on intensive

probation within six months he was

arrested twice more the same way these

kids getting out here doing these crimes

is like an adult doing crimes they need

to be charged as adults doing these


six months later des Briana was killed

we can't be lenient on him cuz they're

gonna keep going out here doing who want

to keep losing innocent family members

to juveniles who want to keep getting up

everyone in their cars gone their house

shot up juveniles juveniles juveniles no

y'all got to be more harder on these

juveniles and maybe the streets to be a

little better locking in love is not

always the best answer Judge Callaway

says she's trying to provide

interventions that give kids a chance to

become productive members of society and

not inmates that taxpayers will have to

pay to keep behind bars for the rest of

their lives those who get locked up

usually are the ones that are least

likely to graduate the ones that get

locked up are the ones that are more

likely to end up in the adult system but

some people will say locking them

protects the public what we have to do

in order to protect the public is to put

more services and research and resources

into every child shot him checked him

out here the murder of the Asian

tourists Racine Wolcott came just eight

months after the alleged shooter 16 year

old nyesha Brown was arrested for auto

theft and other charges just two months

before the shooting she'd been arrested

for heme gun possession and released on

intensive gang probation when Kelly your

Liz was killed during an apparent

carjacking all type of the suspects ages

12 to 16 were known to police our

investigation discovered that one of the

suspects a 13 year old boy whose name

has not been released have been arrested

for auto theft less than three weeks

before a juvenile law prohibits local

detention facilities local judges from

detaining juveniles in many of the

situations where they need to tension

the most former juvenile prosecutor Jim

Todd said that in many cases the judge

his hands are tied because the tension

is not a tool that can be used for

nonviolent offenses the first time a

twelve-year-old steals a car and was

arrested with some crack cocaine they're

gonna get sent home that night the

mother that wasn't watching him at 2:00

a.m. is gonna get called and say come

get your kid because by law in Tennessee

they can't be detained he pointed to the

1997 case of Terrence Maclaurin who is

convicted of murder at the age of 12 but

the mandate that they must go home and

can't be detained is teaching the kid

the wrong message Terrence Maclaurin

said after being arrested for murder I

couldn't believe they didn't let me go

home you're not burning your hand on the

stove you're not learning that the stove

is hot at a very very early age doing

the same thing over over and over and

over again and expecting a different

result I would love to be able to prior

to releasing that child to that parent

is to do an assessment on what that

child needs what that parent needs and

to figure out you know what can we put

in the home prior to us releasing them

back to that home without anything we

don't have the ability to do that now

one option that judges do have is to

commit juvenile offenders to the custody

of the State Department of Children

Services when you send a child to DCs

it's because you feel like that child

needs to be treated in a secure facility

that is correct for that child's

protection in the community safety as

well and what guarantee do you have that

that child will actually be locked up I

have no guarantee that that child would

actually locked up

after DCs experienced unrest at its


youth development centers five years ago

it moved to a different model the agency

now has less than 150 high-security beds

statewide they rely on less secure

facilities operated by private companies

to treat and rehabilitate some of the

state's most troubled kids so if you as

the judge say this child needs to be

taken off the streets of Nashville it's

possible D cska send that child back two

days from now it is possible it happens

I don't know if it happens within two

days but I have seen some cases where I

may question

a community placement that they've

they've chosen for a child back in March

and uber driver was shot during an

attempted carjacking the alleged shooter

16 year old David Earl Mays was first

arrested for burglary at age 10 at age

12 handgun position and theft of

merchandise again at 13 for hanging

possession and assault at 14 he was

placed in DCs custody at 15 he was again

arrested for aggravated robbery auto

theft and handgun possession he was sent

back to DCs at the time of the shooting

the agency had let Mays out on a weekend

pass you know I go back to a lot of

these juveniles that I talk to when I

was a prosecutor and they just all say

the same thing

had I known had I known I would never

have kept doing what I was doing and

they say that when they were in t do C

custody servant 30 years had I know what

consequences it's a system that leaves

our fellow citizens knowing a grief they

wish they had never known is there any

doubt that the juvenile system is broken

brokens too nice of a word for it it's

outdated it's broken it's in

catastrophic failure