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Hart waived back into adult court

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Kayla Bunge
April 26, 2008
— Krystal Hart knew she wasnít supposed to drink.

The 16-year-old was out on bond after being charged with killing a man in a November drunken-driving crash.


But her parents were out of town on March 15, and she was spending the night with a friend.


They went to a party.


Later that night, officers responding to a loud-party complaint arrested Hart on charges of obstructing an officer and bail jumping. Police said she gave a fake name and had been drinking.


Hart will face those accusations and the earlier charge of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle in adult court, Walworth County Judge John Race decided Friday.


The crime she committed was serious, District Attorney Phil Koss said, and the services offered by the juvenile court arenít sufficient.


"Krystalís needs are profound," Penny Nevicosi, a social worker with the Walworth County Department of Health and Human Services, testified Friday.


The juvenile court can only serve Hart until she turns 18. She turns 17 in less than a month.


"Oftentimes to address this level of behavior, we need more than a year," Nevicosi testified.


She said the juvenile court is "inept" and lacks the resources of the adult court. Juvenile court puts on emphasis on the family, and she said itís "questionable" whether Hartís family would be adequately supportive.


Nevicosi said Hartís mother wasnít concerned that her daughter might have a substance abuse problem and her father became upset and angry when she asked about obtaining treatment for his daughter.


She recommended Hart be waived into adult court.


"We would do her a disservice because we only have one year to manage her behaviors," Nevicosi said.


Hart was charged as an adult after the Nov. 3 crash in which Everado Chimal-Lopez, 54, was killed when his vehicle collided head-on with the car driven by Hart. Police say Hart was driving over the centerline.


At the request of the defense, those charges were dismissed April 17 and new charges, including charges from Hartís arrest March 15, were filed in juvenile court.


On Friday, defense attorney Jim Martin said Hart should remain in juvenile court because itís designed for treatment rather than punishment.


"Give her the opportunity to be rehabilitated and rebuild her life," he said.


Therapist Julie Rice testified Friday for the defense. She said she doesnít believe Hart is an alcoholic or a drug addict. She said Hartís use is "occasional" and "situational," and she hasnít found it necessary to refer her to alcohol or drug treatment.


"She had her life together up until this accident," Rice said.


She said the services offered by the juvenile court are sufficient to "help her put everything together that needs to be put together after this tragic accident."


Rice said Hart would endure "a lifetime of difficulty" because of the incidents.


Hartís mother, Pamela Hart, said she isnít opposed to alcohol and drug treatment for her daughter but has relied on her daughterís therapist for direction.


"This is all new to me," she said.


Race said what happened in November wasnít an accident.


"I donít know if she understands the seriousness and the severity of her conduct," he said.


Hart is free on a signature bond co-signed by her parents. Under the conditions of her bond, she is prohibited from drinking alcohol or using drugs and from "finding herself in places where people are doing that," Race said.


Her initial appearance in adult court is Friday, May 2.



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