CHICAGO, IL – A teenager and known “Kia boy” was in the process of having a previous gun case expunged in a “restorative justice” court when he was arrested and charged with the theft of at least one vehicle. Whether this new arrest will cause his previous gun case to be prosecuted or not is yet to be determined.
A Chicago teenager, Tavion Griffin, has found himself in hot water with the criminal justice system for at least the second time in two months. While his first arrest, on September 5th of this year, was for carrying a firearm in a convenience store, his new charges are for allegedly stealing two vehicles.
Griffin’s problems started on November 25th when officers for the Chicago Police Department responded to a reported stolen Hyundai. As officers moved into the area, they located a Kia which had also been reported stolen.
Officers stopped with that stolen Kia and began checking the area for potential suspects. As they walked down a nearby gangway (where the Kia had been parked) they saw the Hyundai they were originally looking for parked on the other side.
When officers moved in, they allegedly saw Griffin who was near the car. When Griffin saw the officers approaching, he allegedly began running in an attempt to evade capture.
The Chicago Officers was apparently faster than Griffin was and were able to capture him in the area. Officers allege that Griffin had a screwdriver and USB cord when they placed him under arrest.
After Griffin was taken into custody, they processed the Hyundai for any evidence and reported seeing the driver’s side window broken and the steering column stripped open which exposed the ignition.
Stolen vehicles in this condition are indicative of a phenomenon in the windy city and elsewhere in which car thieves utilize a design flaw with Hyundai and Kia which allow someone to use a USB wire to drive the stolen cars once the column has been exposed. This phenomenon has become commonly known as the “Kia Boys.”
Griffin, who was out on a $250 bail for unlawful use of a weapon in September of this year, was arrested and charged with the theft of the Hyundai. Griffin appeared in front of Cook County Judge Mary Marubio, who saw him in September and decided to release him with a court date pending his promise to appear at all court proceedings and abide by a curfew of 7 p.m. through 7 a.m.
When Judge Marubio saw Griffin in September, she opted for the promise to appear in court and not be held for future court proceedings in part because he allegedly had no previous criminal history. When she initially ordered a curfew for him, which was later removed by another judge, a woman in the courtroom who was not identified accepted responsibility for him by saying:
“He [Griffin] ain’t even comin’ out.”
Griffin’s new legal woes come after Cook County prosecutors determined his original gun case from September was eligible to be heard and potentially cleared through the Cook County Restorative Justice Community Courts.
The Restorative Justice Community Courts aim to engage those aged 18-16 who have been charged with “non-violent felony or misdemeanor crimes” to participate in different programs which when successfully completed allow the person to have their crime expunged.
Cook County court officials believe a program like this is necessary to ensure that there is an “end [to] the harmful cycle of revenge and recidivism.” They do this by entering into a “Repair of Harm Agreement” as described in part:
“[T]he participant agrees to complete certain tasks, such as perform community service, write a letter of reflect to a loved one, undergo substance abuse treatment, and other tasks…If the participant successfully completes all the tasks set out in the agreement, his or her case will be dismissed, the offense expunged, and the participant will be invited to attend a graduation ceremony celebrating this milestone in his or her life.”
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