The judge who released a juvenile offender charged in a series of auto thefts said he’s faced threats after Atlanta police published a post on Facebook and other social media outlets condemning his decision.
“What I can say is the APD Facebook post is misleading at best and has generated comments some of which give me some significant concern and has caused my wife to be very fearful for our safety,” Fulton County Juvenile Court Presiding Judge Bradley Boyd told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in an email.
Boyd declined to address specifics of the case, saying ethical and legal issues prohibited it.
The teen was arrested in May on eight charges related to gang involvement, theft and auto larcenies, said APD Deputy Chief Jeff Glazier, who added investigators had been building a case against the 16 year old for more than a year.
Following his hearing last Wednesday, the suspect was taken back into custody for an additional car break-in before Judge Boyd let him go, Glazier said.
In a statement, APD spokesman Carlos Campos noted that police did not disclose the judge’s name in their social media posts -- “We certainly hate to hear that the judge is receiving threats of any kind,” he said.
Boyd was identified in subsequent media reports, including those by the AJC.
“Our only intention in bringing this issue to light was to create a dialogue around our broken justice system and increase transparency around the decisions often made behind closed doors,” Campos said. “Our officers are putting their lives on the line apprehending violent, repeat offenders every day. We need our partners in the justice system to step up to the plate.”
The veteran judge released the 16-year-old discussed in APD’s post to the custody of his 24-year-old sister. He was fitted for an ankle monitor, but police say those devices offer minimal supervision.
“Cases like these are frustrating to our officers and investigators,” APD’s post, published Friday, read. “They work hard on the street to arrest criminals who prey on the law-abiding, but routinely encounter inexplicable leniency afforded to repeat offenders such as this juvenile.”
On Wednesday, Fulton District Attorney Paul Howard, whose office had recommended incarceration for the teen suspect, received approval for a pilot program he said will help repeat juvenile offenders “avoid migration to serious crimes."
The Fulton Board of Commissioners approved $120,000 to hire four employees through the end of the year for “Project Level Up,” which targets minors with three or more arrests for non-felony crimes. Howard said 132 offenders are currently eligible for the program, which includes an aftercare program, mentoring opportunities and family intervention.
-AJC Staff writer Arielle Kass contributed to this article.