Archive for the ‘Youth’ Category

Contra Costa DA Becton supports California Supreme Court decision to prevent minors from being tried as adults

Friday, February 26th, 2021

By Allen Payton

Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton issued a statement regarding Thursday’s California Supreme Court decision to uphold the constitutionality of Senate Bill 1391 (Lara).

Proposition 57, passed in the November 2016 general election, requires prosecutors to commence all cases involving a minor in juvenile court. Senate Bill No. 1391 enacted in 2018, amended Proposition 57 to prohibit minors under the age of 16 from being transferred to adult criminal court.

In the case of O.G. v. The Superior Court of Ventura County, the Court of Appeal held that Senate Bill 1391 is inconsistent with Proposition 57 and thus invalid. The state Supreme Court overruled the lower court’s decision.

“We agree with the majority view that Senate Bill 1391 was a permissible amendment to Proposition 57 and we reverse the judgment in this case,” the decision reads.

“Today’s unanimous decision by the Supreme Court is an important moment for the criminal justice system to give children a chance at rehabilitation for crimes they committed during their youth,” said Becton. “I have always believed this law was constitutional and should be followed. Our local judges in Contra Costa County have also agreed with me.”

“The juvenile justice system currently is not working,” she continued. “I established a task force to examine how to reform our juvenile justice system. We must think differently on how we treat children and ensure we strategically allocate resources to focus on prevention and rehabilitation efforts.”

The full Supreme Court decision is available here.

Scott Alonso, PIO, CCCDA contributed to this report.

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Deer Valley High student wins second in 2021 Contra Costa County Poetry Out Loud competition

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2021

Esmeralda Noyola’s performance in the 2021 Poetry Out Loud county finals. Video screenshot.

Prospects High School champion also made the finals of the competition

The Arts and Culture Commission announced the winners of the 2021 Poetry Out Loud Contra Costa County and Esmeralda Noyola, the Deer Valley High School champion, won second place in the final competition and was awarded a $150 cash prize. The Facebook Live Virtual Screening and Awards Ceremony was held on February 11th. Her performance was of the poem We Are Not Responsible by Harryette Mullen. (See her introduction and performance at the 23:50 mark of the video)

Jermaine Gitana from Pinole Valley High School was selected the champion of the county finals and awarded a $200 prize and varsity jacket.

“I am a 17-year-old senior at Pinole Valley High who is part Black and Filipino,” said Gitana. “I enjoy playing instruments, making music, swimming, singing, and most of all reciting poetry.”

His performances of the poems Written By Himself by Gregory Pardlo and Piano by D. H. Lawrence proved to be a winning combination! On March 11th, Jermaine will compete in the Poetry Out Loud State Finals where students recite 3 poems. On March 12th, the California State Winner will be announced on California Arts Council email, internet, and social media. We are very proud of Jermaine!

Tessa Brubaker from San Ramon Valley High School placed third and was awarded $100. The County Finals included impressive high school champions Patricia May Villanueva of Prospects High School (Antioch), Michael Miralles of John Henry High School (Richmond), Kyla Erika Nano of Concord High School, and Kaleigh Thurman of College Park High School (Pleasant Hill).

Poetry Out Loud is a national arts education program that encourages the study of poetry by offering free educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition for high school students across the country. This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life. Poetry Out Loud provides free curriculum materials—all available online—including a poetry anthology, a comprehensive teacher’s guide, videos of student performances, lesson plans, and promotional and media resources.

All Contra Costa County high school students, grades 9-12, are invited to enter Poetry Out Loud. School winners advance to the County competition each February, then the State competition on March 11, and ultimately to the National Finals. The 2021 POL National Semifinals will take place on Sunday, May 2nd and the 2021 POL National Finals will take place on Thursday, May 27th and will be held virtually in lieu of holding them on-site in Washington D.C. as previously planned. Both will be video submission-based competitions and will be streamed on arts.gov.

Every high school in the county (public, private, parochial, independent, alternative, continuation, court, charter and home schools), non-profit organizations, and libraries are encouraged to participate. Students don’t enter the POL competition directly, but through their high schools or a school POL liaison such as a teacher, librarian, school staff, or organization member.

“Last August, I became the new Managing Director and was first introduced to the amazing Poetry Out Loud program. Our incredible team of Donté Clark (Poetry Out Loud Coordinator), Brennan DeFrisco (Poetry Out Loud Student Coach and Assistant Coordinator), and Antonio Tamayo (Poetry Out Loud Digital Content and Technical Assistant) worked together to transition the program online,” said Jenny Balisle, Arts and Culture Commission of Contra Costa County Managing Director. “The Virtual Screening and Awards Ceremony was an evening of many firsts for the Arts and Culture Commission: first Facebook Live event for a signature art program, first ASL interpreters for a live virtual event, and first Land Acknowledgement. Despite the pandemic, we were determined to uplift, support, and celebrate Contra Costa County youth! I’m proud of what we accomplished but most of all- very proud of the resilience and grace of our youth.”

To watch the Virtual Screening and Awards Ceremony please visit here.

Poetry Out Loud is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, Poetry Foundation, California Arts Council, and Arts and Culture Commission of Contra Costa County (AC5).

AC5 is dedicated to advancing the arts in a way that promotes communication, education, appreciation and collaboration throughout Contra Costa County so that we may grow creatively as a community that preserves and celebrates our diverse cultural expression.

Please visit www.ac5.org for more information and sign up on our email list. We welcome your participation and hope to see you next year!

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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Knights of Columbus announce the Antioch 2021 Free Throw Championship winners

Wednesday, February 10th, 2021

Will now advance to the district competition

By Allen Payton

Following are the winners for the #3265 Knights of Columbus Antioch 2021 Free Throw Championship held on January 30 and February 6 at Holy Rosary School:

Photo: Knights of Columbus

AGE   BOYS                          GIRLS

  9       Ryan Wisely

 10                                           Thalia Pham

 11      Thomas Burr

 12      Justin Uribarri           Lilyana Ponce

 13      Mekhi Reed                Kylie Wisely

 14      Eric Mendoza             Brigida Coria

“The event was held as a drive-through,” Committee Chairman Wayne Steffen shared. “The parents drove up and could watch from a distance. The child got out. Everyone wore masks. We used the same ball but sanitized it between participants.”

Competitor Anthony Burr prepares to shoot a free throw during the Antioch competition. Photo: KofC

“The winners will advance to the district competition,” he said. “But no date has been set for that, yet.”

“Congratulations to all the winners,” Steffen added.

Since 1972, councils have sponsored the Knights of Columbus Free Throw Championship for boys and girls from the ages of 9 to 14 to provide an athletic outlet and encourage the values of sportsmanship and healthy competition. Kids compete within their own gender and age and progress from local level to district, regional and state/province competitions.  International champions are announced by the Knights of Columbus international headquarters based on scores from the jurisdiction-level competitions.

The Knights of Columbus Council #3265 was instituted on August 8, 1950 and affiliated with Holy Rosary Church in Antioch. It is one of 17,000 Knights of Columbus councils that make up the world’s largest Catholic fraternal service organization. Founded in 1882 to assist working-class and immigrant Catholics in the United States, today the approximately two million members of the Knights put their faith into action through a broad range of charitable causes locally, nationally and internationally with financial contributions and hands-on service. Membership in the Knights of Columbus is open to practicing Catholic men age 18 and older.

 

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Annual Antioch youth Free Throw Championship to be drive-thru, this year on Jan. 30 & Feb 6

Thursday, January 28th, 2021

Local Knights of Columbus Council contest part of state-wide competition

All boys and girls ages 8 to 14 are invited to participate in the local level of competition for 2021 Knights of Columbus Free Throw Championship.  The local competition will be held on January 30 and February 6 at Holy Rosary School, 25 East 15th Street in Antioch from 1-4 pm.  The event will be held outdoors, one contestant at a time.  In the event of inclement weather, a rain date is set for February 13.

The Free Throw Championship is sponsored annually by the Knights of Columbus, with winners progressing through local, district, and jurisdictional competitions. International champions are announced by the Knights of Columbus international headquarters based on scores from the jurisdiction-level competitions.   All boys and girls ages 8 to 14 are eligible to participate and will compete in respective age divisions.  Participants are required to furnish proof of age and written parental consent.

For entry forms and to make an appointment contact: Wayne Steffen 925.890.0119 or Mike Hayes 925.565.4482

Due to COVID restrictions, drop-ins may not be able to compete.

Please Spread the Word!

Council #3265 in Antioch, CA is one of 17,000 Knights of Columbus councils that make up the world’s largest Catholic fraternal service organization. Founded in 1882 to assist working-class and immigrant Catholics in the United States, today the approximately two million members of the Knights put their faith into action through a broad range of charitable causes locally, nationally and internationally with financial contributions and hands-on service.

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Antioch school district announces 2021 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Art & Essay Award winners

Monday, January 18th, 2021

The following Antioch Unified School District 2021 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Art & Essay Award recipients presented their works during the online event, held Monday afternoon.

Elementary – Art

1st Place: Calli West, 5th Grade Belshaw Elementary

2nd Place: Bryce West, 3rd Grade Belshaw Elementary

Middle School – Art

1st Place: A’nyja Morton, 8th Grade Orchard Park School

2nd Place: Blake West, 7th Grade Park Middle School

3rd Place Tie: Kylie Wisely, 8th Grade Holy Rosary

Natalia Cortez, 7th Grade Orchard Park School

Middle School – Essay

1st Place: A’nyja Morton, 8th Grade   Orchard Park School

2nd Place: Ke’Ona Jones, 8th Grade   Black Diamond Middle School

3rd Place: Lily Bastedo, 8th Grade   Black Diamond Middle School

High School -Art

1st Place: Daxibel Oliveras, 10th Grade Deer Valley High School

2nd Place: Juliana Medina, 9th Grade Deer Valley High School

3rd Place: Eduardo Artiga Sanchez, 9th Grade Dozier Libby Medical High School

High School – Essay

1st Place: Olumese Oaiya, 12th Grade Deer Valley High School

2nd Place: Dennis Gavrilenko, 12th Grade Deer Valley High School

3rd Place: Ieshia Perez,  12th Grade Dozier Libby Medical High School

Artwork by A’nyja Morton, 8th grader at Orchard Park School winner of the Reggie Moore Memorial Family Community Service. Video screenshot.

Reggie Moore Memorial Family Community Service Award

1st Place: A’nyja Morton, Orchard Park School

2nd Place: Olumese Oaiya, Deer Valley High School

3rd Place: Ke’Ona Jones, Black Diamond Middle School

4th Place Tie: Ieshia Perez, Dozier Libby Medical High School

Dennis Gavrilenko, Deer Valley High School

Honorable Mention:

Jeremiah Shirden-Bean, Antioch High School

Cristina Craven, Dozier Libby Medical High School

Nicole Orozco, Deer Valley High School

Robyn Page, Deer Valley High School

 

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19-year-old Antioch man dies in Vasco Road head-on collision early Tuesday morning

Tuesday, December 1st, 2020

By CHP – Contra Costa

Early this morning at about 3:45am, Contra Costa CHP was advised of a two-vehicle crash on Vasco Road, south of Walnut Blvd. Upon emergency personnel and CHP arrival, it was determined that a 2008 Chevrolet HHR was traveling northbound on Vasco Road and began a turning movement, crossing over the solid double yellow lines and into the southbound lane. As the Chevrolet entered into the southbound lane, it was directly in the path of an oncoming vehicle, a 2015 Ford F-150. The driver of the Ford, a 49-year-old male from Brentwood, was unable to avoid the HHR within the lane and collided into it, causing major damage to both vehicles. Tragically the driver of the Chevrolet, a 19-year-old male from Antioch, was pronounced deceased at the scene.

The driver of the Ford suffered moderate injuries and was transported to John Muir Hospital in Walnut Creek. The Contra Costa County Sheriff-Coroner’s Office will be handling the release of identity of the deceased driver.

It is unknown at this time if alcohol or drugs were a factor in this collision, but it is still under investigation. If anyone witnessed this collision or the events leading up to it and have not yet spoken with CHP, please contact Contra Costa CHP in Martinez, (925) 646-4980.

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Antioch teen in critical condition after being hit by car Friday evening

Saturday, September 19th, 2020

By Sergeant Ted Chang #4362, Antioch Police Traffic Unit

On Friday, Sept. 18, 2020 at approximately 6:17 PM, dispatch received numerous calls of a vehicle versus pedestrian collision on W. 10th Street at Auto Center Drive. Police and medical personnel responded immediately and located a 16-year-old Antioch resident nonresponsive and suffering major injuries. He was immediately air-lifted to an area trauma center where he underwent surgery and is currently listed in critical condition.

The driver of the involved vehicle remained on scene and was cooperating with the investigation. Drugs and alcohol due not appear to be a factor in this collision. The Traffic Unit responded and took over the investigation.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Antioch Police Department non-emergency line at (925) 778-2441. You may also text-a-tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using the key word ANTIOCH.

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Glazer votes to eliminate requirement of mandatory sex offender registration for sex with minors 14 years or older

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2020

“if the person was not more than ten years older than the minor at the time of the offense” – Assembly analysis of bill

State Senator Steve Glazer. (D-7, Orinda)

Frazier didn’t vote.

By Allen Payton

On Monday, the California State Senate and Assembly passed SB-145 Sex offenders: registration, authored by Sen. Scott Wiener, (D-11, San Francisco), which exempts defendants convicted of specified, non-forcible sex offenses involving minors from mandatory registration as a sex offender. State Senators Steve Glazer (D-7, Orinda) and Nancy Skinner (D-9, Oakland) were joined by Assemblymembers Rebecca Bauer-Kahan (D-16, San Ramon) and Buffy Wicks (D-15, Oakland) who all represent portions of Contra Costa County in voting for it.

The bill passed in the 40-member Senate by a vote of 23-10 and in the 80-member Assembly by the minimum votes required of 41-25. Seven Senators and 13 Assemblymembers, including Jim Frazier (D-11, Discovery Bay) and Tim Grayson (D-14, Concord), who also represent portions of the county, did not vote on the bill.

Wiener said about his bill, “if a young person has voluntary sexual intercourse with a minor then the offense is not automatically registerable if they are within 10 years of age of the minor and the minor is 14 years or older.”

Assembly amendments removed provisions of the bill that would have mandated that specified offenders would still have to comply with provisions of Megan’s Law, despite the fact that they would no longer be registered sex offenders.

According to the state’s Legislative Information website, this bill:

1) Exempts a person convicted of non-forcible sodomy with a minor, oral copulation with a minor, or sexual penetration with a minor, as specified, from having to automatically register as a sex offender under the Sex Offender Registry Act if the person was not more than 10 years older than the minor at the time of the offense, and the conviction is the only one requiring the person to register.

2) Specifies that a person convicted of one of those specified offenses may still be ordered to register in the discretion of the court, if the court finds at the time of conviction or sentencing that the person committed the offense as a result of sexual compulsion or for purposes of sexual gratification.

(WARNING: Graphic language) A report in the San Francisco Examiner reads, “Currently, while consensual sex between 15- to 17-year-olds and a partner within 10 years of age is illegal, vaginal intercourse between the two does not require an offender to register as a sex offender. Other forms of intercourse such as oral and anal intercourse require sex offender registration.”

The Washington Examiner reports, “Adults less than 10 years older than the minor they are convicted of engaging in oral or anal sex with are not automatically added to the sex-offender registry. The decision whether or not to add them is left up to a judge under the new bill, referred to as SB145. Under current state law, judges are given discretion to keep teenagers off the sex-offender registry for having sex with someone close to their own age, but it only applies to “penile-vaginal” intercourse, and gay and transgender rights advocates argue this discriminates against gay teenagers.”

But the bill does not just cover minors as the offender can be 10 years older than the younger partner who must be at least age 14.

According to attorney Samuel Dordulian, who represents sexual assault victims, “The goal of SB 145, according to the bill’s language, is to ‘exempt from mandatory registration under the (Sex Offender Registration) act a person convicted of certain offenses involving minors if the person is not more than 10 years older than the minor and if that offense is the only one requiring the person to register.’ But rather than amend existing law to include vaginal intercourse with a minor as an act that requires mandatory sex offender registration – which would in effect remedy what Senator Wiener apparently views as discrimination – the bill aims to make all criminal sex acts with a minor over 14 equal by providing offenders with an opportunity to evade said mandatory registration. Doing so would be a disservice to survivors of those sex offenders, to communities, and to law enforcement officials.”

“Communities would be forced to accept that sex offenders could now potentially live anonymously among law-abiding citizens,” Dordulian added.

The result of the legislation, if signed by Governor Gavin Newsom, a person 24 to 27 years old can have any kind of intercourse with a child as young as 14 and judges would no longer be required to mandate the older of the two register as a sex offender.

“I cannot in my mind as a mother understand how sex between a 24-year-old and a 14-year-old could ever be consensual, how it could ever not be a registrable offense,” said Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-80, San Diego), one of only 10 Democrats to vote against the bill. “We should never give up on this idea that children should be in no way subject to a predator.”

A question to Glazer’s aid, Susannah Meyer was sent late Wednesday asking why he voted for the bill.

UPDATE: In response Glazer said, “I voted for SB 145 after consulting with law enforcement, including the California District Attorneys Association and the California Police Chiefs Association, which supported this bill.

This bill simply clarifies that in cases of statutory rape involving non-forcible sexual contact, the same sentences and the same registration requirements should apply no matter what kind of sexual interaction leads to the charges.

In all such cases, the perpetrator will still be required to register as a sex offender if the judge determines that this is necessary to protect public safety.”

The bill next heads to Newsom who has until the end of September to either sign or veto it.

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