A 17-year-old whose criminal record would likely have been erased upon leaving the juvenile justice system now stands to begin his adult life with at least a felony charge.
Santos Rodriguez was transported from the Hays County Juvenile Detention Center to the county jail at about 12:30 p.m. on Feb. 12 after reportedly attacking detention center staff. He was charged with assaulting a public servant, which is a third degree felony.
“This particular kid was verbally combative and uncooperative all morning, was in the latrine area and refused to come out, saying ‘Bitches, I ain’t goin’ nowhere,’” said SMPD Sgt. Fred Wisener. “He threw a large jug of ice on the [juvenile] jail staff member, approached him, grabbed his wrist, dug his fingernails in, and then he punched the jail officer on the side of the face.”
Wisener said it is not uncommon for juvenile detention inmates to be uncooperative and violent towards staff.
Rodriguez, who has an Edcouch, TX, address, remains in police custody at the adult jail on a $5,000 bond. Rodriguez has entered the adult court system because juvenile courts only have jurisdiction over conduct that occurred when a person was at least 10 but not yet 17 years of age. The juvenile center and the county jail are in San Marcos.
Brett Littlejohn, administrator of the juvenile center, declined to speak about Rodriguez’s previous offenses and said all matters concerning juveniles are confidential.
“I can tell you that the employees of the Hays County Juvenile Center are committed to providing all residents with opportunities to succeed and work hard toward that goal even though some youth are not receptive to rehabilitation,” Littlejohn said.
Most offenses committed by juveniles do not cause them to have adult criminal records, Wisener said.
“If you’re smart, you won’t commit any crimes at all whether you’re a juvenile or otherwise,” Wisener said. “But if you’ve made a mistake and slipped up as a juvenile, don’t commit any further crimes and you’ll have a good path ahead of you.”
Those arrested on felony charges may be entitled to have the charges expunged if they are acquitted by trial courts or courts of criminal appeals, if their indictments are dismissed or quashed, or if they are released and the charges do not result in final convictions and are no longer pending and the courts did not order community supervision, among other provisions, according to Chapter 55 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.