Amir Banks appeared in Clarke County Juvenile and Domestic Relations court today with his attorney, Paul Thomson, to attend a monthly status meeting.
Banks was remanded to six months custody at Northwestern Regional Juvenile Detention Center in Frederick County, Virginia for his role as driver of the vehicle in a drunk-driving accident that killed 17-year-old Aaron Shirley of Berryville, Virginia on June 18th, 2010. The Northwestern Regional Juvenile Detention Center is a 32 bed secure detention center serving the City of Winchester and Clarke, Frederick, Page, Shenandoah, and Warren Counties
Thomson, a well-known local defense attorney and former Winchester Commonwealth’s Attorney, pleaded “not guilty” to charges of drug possession and witness tampering in US District Court in Harrisonburg in January of 2011.
Although today’s hearing for Banks was closed to the public because he is a minor, Thomson said that Banks was making excellent progress.
“Amir’s case is administratively reviewed every thirty days,” Thomson said. “He got an A+ this time. He’s doing exceptionally well and everyone is very proud of him.”
Commonwealth Attorney Suzanne “Suni” Perka said that the monthly administrative hearings are conducted under what is known as a “post-dispositional” program (also referred to as a Post-D program). According to the Northwestern Regional Juvenile Detention Center website, the mission of the Post D Program is to “teach residents how to make positive choices in regards to education, personal life, family, and community.”
Perka said that because of Banks’ situation and because the crime was unintentional, a decision was made to not try his case in Circuit Court. A Circuit Court conviction could have sent Banks to what Perka termed “juvenile prison” rather than the treatment center where he is currently living. Perka said that the advantage of Northwestern Regional Juvenile Detention Center is that it provides both counseling and education to detainees.
“Amir’s case has a disposition where it is reviewed every 30 days. If he fails the program he can still be committed to a Department of Juvenile Justice prison.”
Banks was remanded to custody on December 10, 2011. Today was Banks’s second Post-D hearing.
“If he successfully completes the Northwestern program then it was the right call” Perka said. “If not, then he goes to prison.”
Banks sentence is due to end in June 2011.