Missoulian: 10 Year Old Being Held on $500,000 Bond

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The small town of Polson, Mont., is in a raging debate over the criminal case of a 10-year-old boy, charged with a probation violation, and his being held at a juvenile detention facility on $500,000 bond.

Even the Lake County District prosecutor recommended that the bail be no higher than $50,000.

"I couldn't believe what I heard," Dorinda Buck, the child's grandmother wrote in an email to the media. "He's only 10 years old."

The grandmother said the child initially got in trouble in 2012 when he and another boy were accused of theft and burglary. The charges were dismissed so long as the children met certain conditions. But the grandmother said her grandson was recently cited for disorderly conduct following an incident at his school.

This morning's Missoulian reports that the boy, hugged his grandmother the afternoon of May 8 before being led off to a juvenile facility.

District Court Judge Kim Christopher insisted on the high bail—usually assigned to adults charged with violent crimes—because the boy had already missed three previously scheduled psychological evaluations. The boy will now be held at least 15 days behind bars until the evaluation is completed.

But the child's public defender, Steve Eschenbacher, told the court that a $500,000 bail had been set for a 10-year-old who had never been convicted of any crime.

"With the deferred prosecution agreement, he is still presumed innocent," said Eschenbacher.

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