New Juvenile Judge Pledges Action On Curfew, Truancy Problems

Monday, June 24, 2013
Rob Philyaw
Rob Philyaw

The new judge in Juvenile Court on Monday said little to nothing is currently being done on Chattanooga youth curfews or truancy, but he aims to spark some action.

He said curfew enforcement "is non-existant," and he said the situation is about the same on dealing with truancy.

  Rob Philyaw told members of the Pachyderm Club that Chattanooga has a poor curfew law and it is not enforced. He said after there were issues about youths roaming Coolidge Park at late hours, a special area was set up in North Chattanooga to take those caught for curfew violations. He said the center closed because no one was ever brought there.

Judge Philyaw said virtually nothing is being done here about dealing with the truancy issue, except for the filing of some cases in May - when school is about over. He said the number of truancy cases brought to the court last year from Howard High School was zero.

He said, "This is not about getting little Johnny to bed on time. It's about the safety of these kids and the safety of the community."

Judge Philyaw said he found that the current city curfew ordinance was so inadequate that he took part in an effort to rewrite it. He said it currently is one paragraph and the proposed version is a page and a half. He said he has presented the draft to Mayor Andy Berke.

The speaker said the current curfew ordinance "was lacking a lot," and the rewrite "is a good draft for the mayor and City Council to consider." 

He said he has identified a section of the Juvenile Court site on East Third Street where curfew violators could possibly be taken.

He said when underage kids are out in groups in the early hours of the morning they are often in danger themselves or may be a threat to endanger others.

The judge, who replaced Suzanne Bailey when she retired, said older Chattanooga gang members with felony records often utilize very young kids to wield weapons for them. He said they do not want to be caught themselves with the guns.

He said the court is taking several initiatives to deal with curfew and truancy issues and is being aided by prosecutor Boyd Patterson, the former gang task force leader who has been assigned by District Attorney Bill Cox mainly to Juvenile Court.

On whether action can be taken against parents of curfew violators and truants, he said options are limited, but they may be found in contempt of court.

He said he understands why officers who have to deal with very serious crimes are reluctant to spend time on curfew violations, but he indicated he will seek more help from the police. He also said he plans to meet with School Supt. Rick Smith on dealing with the truancy problem.

Judge Philyaw said the Juvenile Detention Center on Third Street is designed to hold 25 youthful offenders, but had 34 last Thursday. He said those included 13 who had guns, two charged with carjacking, three accused of aggravated robbery and three (ages 12, 13 and 16) charged with attempted first-degree murder.

He said they may be commiting adult crimes, "but I see kids when I look in their faces."  




    



Woman Gets Minivan Stuck On Railroad Track; It Is Hit By Train; She Goes To Jail

Police said a woman got her minivan stuck on railroad tracks on Hickory Valley Road on Friday. A train wound up hitting the van, and the woman, Julie Louanne Abel, wound up being taken to jail. Ms. Abel, 45, of 7437 Private Lane, was charged with driving on a revoked license and having no proof of insurance. A woman who was behind the minivan said Ms. Abel got out of the vehicle. ... (click for more)

Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ABEL, JULIE LOUANNE  7437 PRIVATE LN APT11 OOLTEWAH, 373639682  Age at Arrest: 45 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga NO PROOF OF INSURANCE DRIVING ON REVOKED, SUSPENDED OR CANCELLED LICENSE --- BERRY, JEFFERY BURNSIDE  1420 19TH STREET CLEVELAND, 37311  Age at Arrest: 36 years ... (click for more)

Fix Obamacare, Don't Repeal It - And Response (2)

John McCain recently said, "I cannot in good conscience vote for the Graham-Cassidy proposal. I believe we could do better working together, Republicans and Democrats, and have not yet really tried. Nor could I support it without knowing how much it will cost, how it will affect insurance premiums, and how many people will be helped or hurt by it. Without a full (Congressional Budget ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: J.B. And The Saturday Funnies

As thousands of his friends prepare to celebrate the 100th birthday of Chattanooga newspaper icon, J.B. Collins, tomorrow, it is only fitting that I publicly salute a great reporter who helped develop me as a writer in the 38 years we spent together at the Chattanooga News-Free Press. He was a genius of a writer back in the day and a great photographer as well. I have adored him ... (click for more)

Lethargic Tennessee Struggles Past Minutemen 17-13

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Lethargy was Tennessee’s constant companion here Saturday. With the Vols’ offense sputtering like an old Ford Pinto hitting on two cylinders, the defense kept winless UMass at bay and Tennessee managed to post an uninspired 17-13 victory before a crowd announced as 95,324, although the in-person total at Neyland Stadium appeared much less. “At the end ... (click for more)

#11 Georgia Bulldogs Capture Decisive Win, 31-3, Over #17 Mississippi State

ATHENS, Ga. — The Georgia Bulldogs were impressive in nearly every phase of the game Saturday evening as they took down Mississippi State, 31-3. The MSU Bulldogs came into the game after upsetting LSU, 37-7, last week For the first time in the series, both teams entered the game ranked in the top 25, and it was No. 11 Georgia with a victory over #17 MSU.  Georgia ... (click for more)