April 19, 2014
Case Scenario

The story below shows a typical case:

Three juvenile boys were hanging out on a Saturday night and decided they wanted to play video games. They ran out of money and one of the boys suggested they break into another boy's house who had a big screen TV and a large collection of video games.

They cruised the neighborhood and saw that no one seemed to be home. They found an open window and went into the house. They started playing video games until one boy got angry at one of the other boys and threw a vase at him. The vase missed his friend but hit the TV and destroyed it. A neighbor heard the noise and called the police. The police came and arrested all three boys.

When the owners got home, they found their property destroyed. They were horrified that someone had broken into their home and they were afraid for their future safety. They also had to deal with replacing the damaged TV and vase.

For several weeks after the incident, the victim's ten-year old daughter had nightmares that the burglars would come back and take all of her toys.

The boys admitted their offense to the authorities and told the probation officer they were sorry for what they did. The Judge referred the case for mediation to determine restitution. During mediation, the victims asked the boys why their home had been targeted, and why they destroyed the vase and their television.

The boys explained they just wanted to play video games and that they had not intended to damage any property. They said they heard about the victim's TV and video games through a friend at school, and when they saw no one was at home, they went into the house.

They explained about the fight between the two boys and how the television got damaged when one boy threw the vase. All three boys apologized. They promised never to do this again and told the victim's daughter not to worry about her toys.

The victims told the boys that the vase had been a present from their dead aunt and couldn't be replaced. They said the replacement cost for the television was about $3,500.00, but the insurance paid $2,000.00.

The victims said they were very disappointed in the boys, who also lived in the same neighborhood. They wanted them to pay the $1,500 difference in the cost of replacing the TV, and to do community service at the local community center.

All three boys had part-time jobs and said they would mow lawns and do other odd jobs so they could pay the $1,500.00. Each boy agreed to pay $100.00 per month, which was agreeable to the victims.

The boys also agreed to do 20 hours of service at the community center, like, painting, gardening and other needed repairs.

© 2014 Superior Court of San Mateo County