Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Burgess History

Kudos to the Times- Standard for their story in today's paper covering the late Chris Burgess' background. Still, it left me with a lot of unanswered questions. I still want to know just what he was like in Juvenile Hall. Unfortunately, the Probation Department, the ones who can answer that, aren't speaking.

It sounds like Burgess might have started out ok, from listening to his family and friends . Assuming that's true, it's no surprise to me. I've mentioned before how some kids in Juvenile Hall would be pretty fun to deal with then, when they return to the Hall some time later, their whole attitude changes.

It's also true, as the article mentions, that all it takes is one criminal offense, often a minor one, for the juvenile justice system to get hold of you and it can take years to get it to let go. Burgess' start into the world of crime being in possession of a pocket knife on school grounds- Something that wouldn't have even raised an eyebrow twenty or thirty years ago.

I question some of the references made to Burgess' Juvenile Hall stays, like a friend saying Juvenile Hall staff didn't try to get to know him. Well, sometimes you can't "get to know someone", if they won't deal rationally with you.

Burgess' friend also says he was kept in his room 23 hours a day because he was threatened by other detainees. I find that a bit hard to swallow although, if he was such a nice kid, why were other kids supposedly threatening his life?

I don't know how it is in The Hall now, but back when I was there a kid could spend considerable time in his room if he was on segregation for any number of reasons. Usually some accomodation was made for a segregated kid to spend time in the dayroom, where at least they could watch TV.

The most likely reason for a kid to spend a lot of time in his room was due to disciplinary action which, reading between the lines of the T- S article, I suspect Burgess got his fair share of.

So, hard to say just what kind of guy Burgess really was. He certainly seems to have had his fair share of friends, save those that wanted to off him in Juvenile Hall. Then again, even hard core criminals usually have some friends, so still no way of knowing just what kind of kid he was.
********
As an aside, there were few "threats" made against kids while I was at Juvenile Hall. The only real "death threat" I recall dealing with was a kid who kept coming to us with notes he said were slipped under his door- a difficult thing for kids to do to each other there, at least with any regularity.

So one early evening, after the kid brought us yet another note, I began discussing the issue with Senior Counselor on the shift, Kristy. Something just didn't seem right about this to us.

I went to the kid's room and went through his papers, looking for a handwriting sample and found a few things he'd written. Sure enough, those threats that were supposedly left under his door were obviously written by him.

I don't remember how we ended up dealing with that. I think we just let him keep doing it until he got tired of it.


29 Comments:

At 8:55 AM, Blogger Carol Ann said...

Fred, I appreciate your writing about your experiences working at Juvenile Hall. It offers insight. Thank you.

 
At 9:30 AM, Blogger Fred said...

No thanks necessary. That's what I'm here for. :-)

 
At 9:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My brother was sent home from school-for showing up with a 2" folding nail file. The year? 1967.

And man did he get in trouble!

 
At 10:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

a

 
At 10:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What background on Burgess? Family and friends paint him as a saint. That's a propaganda piece from the T-S, at best, given the headline they wrote for it. What really made that guy what he was? The T-S didn't tell us. The headline should have read, "Family and friends blame system" or "Family and friends canonize dead teen."

 
At 11:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Or "Family and Friends Point Fingers Away from Themselves."

 
At 11:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Or "Family and Friends cleverly divert attention from their own Guilt."

 
At 11:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was hoping for an investigative piece looking at the teen's true, documented history. Instead we just got a sympathetic opinionated piece from the T-S. Tell the birth family's side of the story (I say "birth family" because foster care has been referenced. If a teen has to go into foster care, I don't consider his birth parents to be the legitimate parents any longer). Anyhow, fine, tell the birth family's side, but then give us the "other side" that documents what really happened with this teen. Enough of the yellow journalism. It only serves to reinforce everyone's existing opinions. Why can't this county afford real journalists?

 
At 12:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There isn't much reason to keep the files closed on Chris Burgess-he is deceased.

The law protecting a minor's police record is meant to shield a youth from past mistakes so he/she can grow up with a clean slate and move past a troubled or misspent youth.

Releasing the records of why he was in the system and the steps leading up to the probation officers arriving at that house (3 of them-why 3?) will lay this thing to rest once and for all for some-leave questions for others- but it is always good to keep this in perspective: You can't change the past.

 
At 1:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't expect our sharp reporters to request such records.

 
At 2:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes Chris Burgess was a lovely, gentle, caring young man. Bright, got good grades, everybody liked him but ......... he took one itsy bitsy pocket knife to school once when he was 10 years old and the system picked on him forever/

Is it true that just the mear possession of a small pocket knife by a 10 year old will get him sent to juvenile hall for imprisonment?

I don't think so. In fact I think it's a lie. There has to be more for a 10 year old to get sent to the hall ? Maybe threatening fellow students, a teacher maybe, something.

And what about the other "9" times he was sent to the hall? There has to be a reason? ! The Foster homes ? There has to be a reason.

What about the meth? Oh yes I'm sure it was his first time and it's the probation officers fault for expecting him to abide by the conditions of his probation!!

It was soooo dreadful to hear about young Burgess locked up for 23 hours a day in protective custody because other juvenile prisoners threatened to kill him? Why? After all he is just a sweet gentle boy? Why did these other kids threaten him ? There has to be a reason! What about the rest of the story?

The media just keeps this going. Does Mom Marge just call the media up and give out another story when she hasn't seen her picture in the paper for a couple days? We had the little thing in Sequia Park, and the ER was there with a photographer. Now she says there will be a bonfire at Moonstone beach on Friday night. Will the T/S be there to continue the saga of poor little Chris and his hero/victim mom?

I'm sure Burgess was a good kid somewhere in his life, all kids are. But he quit being a gentle little boy a long time ago. Marge Burgess seems to be eating up he fame, a media *&^%. I am tired of hearing about how the system, the probation, the cops caused Burgess to do what he did. The mom, Marge, is a lousy piece of shit parent. Hey, afterall Marge thinks it's good to speak your mind! She thaught her son that, the article says so!

Marge Burgess likes the limelight and she sees lots of money in her future.

What a peach of a gal. Why encourage her? She started her show before her son was even buried. Has he been buried? I haven't heard anything about that? Why is Marge puttig that off? She could have another media event.

Over the weekend a man was murdered in old town, hardly any mention. Last week a retired Humboldt County judge was shot at with a twelve gauge shotgun while fishing, again hardly any mention and no follow up. But Marge Burgess gets all the press she wants. I'll bet she's keeping a scrapebook?

Enough!

 
At 6:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

2:22, you don't know anything about selling newspapers (or getting people to read free ones). Learn about what constitutes journalism. It's not what's important. It's the juicy gossipy stuff that can be fed by selective reporting... or in this case, reporting emotion and very few facts.

 
At 7:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

SOMEONE WROTE HERE: I am tired of hearing about how the system, the probation, the cops caused Burgess to do what he did. The mom, Marge, is a lousy piece of shit parent. Hey, afterall Marge thinks it's good to speak your mind! She taught her son that, the article says so!

I RESPOND: Yes, I read that in the article. I wonder if Chris would be alive if he had learned to listen to other people and respect what they said. Or if he had been taught to obey legal authority such as the Police.

What part of "Don't take illegal drugs" and "Drop the knife" don't you understand, Chris?

Well with a mother like that, and a "father figure" like the one shown in that article, poor Chris really had two strikes against him already.

From what they say, they did everything they could to help him look at the rules of our land as applying to everybody but him.

Did that (criminal) attitude help him? Or did it set him up and then kill him? Isn't the answer obvious?


And now, having set Chris up for his terrible fate, these paragons of self-proclaimed virtue continue to propagandize Chris's two younger siblings, assorted kids from the neighborhood, and a veritable Pied Piper's Parade of children from all over the City and County.

They do their best to convert the children to their own view of all authority figures as illegitimate.

And, most infuriating of all, they do it with the full assistance, aided and abetted in this crime against children, by the Eureka Reporter, and most sadly, by the Times-Standard.

The papers tell the story of a poor child, 16, mercilessly murdered by a killer cop.

In other words, they lie.

 
At 10:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Absolutely.

 
At 11:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aided and abetted is a bit strong. Don't attribute bias to that which is easily explained by incompetence.

 
At 7:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A newspaper is only as good as its editor. We live in Suckville.

 
At 9:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

maybe both ?

 
At 9:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Somerville first agreed to print one person's letter to straighten out reporter Durant's inaccuracies about the Oct 30 meeting and the Mayor's conduct of it. Then Somerville agreed to run a longer opinion piece by another person.

Then he decided, screw it, I'm the editor, you can kiss my bum.

Of course, he never put that sentiment into words.

He just put it into action.

 
At 1:41 AM, Blogger Nick Bravo said...

7:03 don't you have better things to do than sling mud at the dead and the parents of the dead?

Not very honorable of you.

 
At 1:44 AM, Blogger Nick Bravo said...

Anon 2:22 said

"The mom, Marge, is a lousy piece of shit parent. Hey, afterall Marge thinks it's good to speak your mind! She thaught her son that, the article says so!"

So are you inferring that all parents who teach their children about the fundamental right gauranteed by the united states constitution are bad parents?

Brilliant....perhaps you'd also like to do away with the right to bear arms and the right to own property...

 
At 6:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nick Bravo said...
7:03 don't you have better things to do than sling mud at the dead and the parents of the dead?

Not very honorable of you.

1:41 AM


Again. Bravo Blows it.

I was issuing a cautionary note for children still living and their still living parents.

 
At 7:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nick Bravo said...

Anon 2:22 said

"The mom, Marge, is a lousy piece of shit parent. Hey, afterall Marge thinks it's good to speak your mind! She thaught her son that, the article says so!"

So are you inferring that all parents who teach their children about the fundamental right gauranteed by the united states constitution are bad parents?

Brilliant....perhaps you'd also like to do away with the right to bear arms and the right to own property...

1:44 AM



I ask: Why can't you see that 2:22 is making an ironic, if unneccessarily crude, criticism of Chris Burgess's choice to mouth off to the police officer instead of following the order to drop his knife.

You wrote "So are you inferring..."

The word you wanted, Nick Bravo, was "implying."

Also, Nick Bravo, why didn't you capitalize the "United States of America?" Aintcha got no respect?

 
At 8:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nick is an idiot -

 
At 9:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree, Dick Bravo is an idiot. And an idiot that thinks he's not! Everyone else has to suffer his ramblings................

 
At 9:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The kid had skipped school. That is why they busted into the home he was at with out a warrant (being on probation, they do not need one, plus, minors have no rights) and he ran scared after they pepper sprayed him.
Yes he had a 5" knife (you measure a knife by the length of the blade, that is unless you feel a need to embellish a story as the the EPD apparently did.) and he ran AWAY with that knife.
But he had to be hunted down and right then. No one runs from the EPD and gets away with it, or in this case, lives to tell the tale.
Good thing too, or someone might have got cut.

 
At 10:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Burgess family mother is how old? And has how many children by how many fathers? And how many of these fathers are involved with
their children?

At what point does some sense of personal responsibility kick in?

Or, better, just let people vote themselves into the (dwindling)
number of pockets belonging to
people who work. Have kids, do drugs, don't serve, don't work,
but howl howl howl that
you weren't GIVEN the tools you
need to raise YOUR OWN children.

Nope. Other people can pay for your kids and theirs, your home and theirs, your food and theirs.

 
At 11:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

9:53 AM, you're an idiot. You put out information you know is not correct. you're a dick too !

 
At 1:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

9:53 is more than an idiot and a dick. You have to have the morals of a snake to deliberately spread that kind of misinformation. Tell us, who pray tell are you 9:53?

 
At 4:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

1:32PM It's evident to anyone with a brain that 9:53 is just a nutless wonder that smokes way too much weed and probably too much meth. I know I should be more empathetic as it is a substance abuse problem. 9:53 has the system let you down too?

 

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