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Judge recommends 16-year-old girl stay in youth home

Posted at 11:53 AM, Jul 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-31 16:35:34-04

LANSING, Mich. — The mother of a 16-year-old girl, who was involved in an excessive force investigation with Lansing Police, is disappointed her daughter will not be returning home Wednesday.

The teen was in front of Judge Garcia on Wednesday morning for a pre-trial hearing that lasted less than 30 minutes.

Garcia recommended that the girl stay in a youth home until her trial on Sept. 6.

Tonia Lilly, the girl's mother, said she thinks her daughter is being treated unfairly.

"She's being made to look like a hardened criminal which she is not. She's made some bad choices, but haven't we all?" Lilly said.

But the judge said his decision is based on the girl's out-of-control behavior, which includes trouble with following the rules.

"You're somebody who likes to seek attention. Well you have my undivided attention," Judge Garcia said.

Her probation officer told the court that she struggled with being compliant.

"She was not attending school. She was often absent or tardy. When present at Ingham Academy, her behavior was disruptive."

The girl faced an initial charge of taking a knife to school and was also suspended for making a post on social media threatening to use the knife against a student.

The teen has been in custody at the Ingham County Youth Center for more than a month since she was arrested on Dakin Street. Prior to her arrest, she was a-wol from the youth center and got into an altercation with someone else.

"When are you going to use your superior intellect when I do believe you're very intelligent. When are you going to start using that instead of using the emotional part of your brain to throw a temper tantrum every time you don't get something you want?" Judge Garcia said.

The girl's attorney said the girl has been affected by her life experiences.

"Anyone who regularly knows with teens knows their brains are still developing. They're still a lot of things going on in terms of their emotions and hormones and with this particular teen, her life experiences have impacted her," Elizabeth Abdnour, the girl's attorney, said.

The teen's public defender tried to have her return home with a tether, but the judge denied the request saying he's not confident she would stay there.

"You go back to the detention center and think about what I said," Judge Garcia said.

The hearing ended with the teen leaving the courtroom crying.

The girl is facing charges of resisting arrest, among others, after being the focus of an excessive force investigation with the Lansing Police Department.

On May 13, a warrant was issued to pick up the girl based on her not attending school, having disruptive behavior, testing positive for marijuana, and possession of a weapon.

When officers tried to pick her up on June 14, she ran from them and resisted arrest, which lead to the excessive force investigation.

She is facing a two-year felony charge for the incident with the police.

Her trial is set for Sept. 6 at 11 a.m.

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