Teen arrested with sawed-off rifle

Teen arrested with sawed-off rifle

URBANA — An Urbana teen on parole for aggravated robbery was arrested Wednesday night for allegedly having a loaded sawed-off rifle.

Urbana police Sgt. Dan Morgan said about 10 p.m. officers were sent to the 1500 block of Briarcliff Drive for a disturbance. The caller told police that Kaleb Smith, 19, who lives in that block, had allegedly pointed a gun at him.

Morgan said there were several people in front of the house when officers arrived, including Smith, who was sitting in a car.

They got him out of the car and found a loaded .22-caliber rifle with its barrel and stock cut off, Morgan said. The serial number had also been scratched off.

Morgan said while officers were dealing with Smith, some of the men inside the house got into a fight that led to the arrests of two other men for battery.

Court records show Smith was sentenced in July to six years in prison, with a recommendation for boot camp, for the Oct. 8, 2012, aggravated robbery of the Circle K, 1821 Philo Road, U. The clerk was robbed at gunpoint of cigarettes, cigars and cash. Smith pleaded guilty to the lesser charge. He had a juvenile adjudication for retail theft.

Smith was charged Thursday with unlawful use of weapons, possession of a sawed-off rifle and possession of a firearm with a defaced serial number.

If convicted of the most serious of charges, Smith faces a mandatory prison term of between three and 14 years.

Judge John Kennedy set his bond at $500,000.

Smith is due back in court June 13 for a probable cause hearing.


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Skepticity wrote on June 05, 2014 at 11:06 am

I stand by what I posted about this previous article:


Plea bargain justice places us all at risk.  He was allowed a plea that let him do boot camp and return to the streets.  An armed robbery conviction would not have allowed boot camp.  

787 wrote on June 05, 2014 at 12:06 pm

More times than not, it is the same people.... over and over and over again.

Too bad that Julia Rietz hasn't figured that out yet...

billbtri5 wrote on June 05, 2014 at 3:06 pm

we'll see how many of these charges are plead away...some of these are Federal violations, maybe they can get serious about our safety ..

Son of a Barrelmaker wrote on June 05, 2014 at 5:06 pm

Bring these issues to the attention of your County Board members.

Demand that these people be incarcerated and tried.

See how far you get.  There seems to be an overwhelming movement on the County Board to not have a jail.

Double dare you to do it.

rsp wrote on June 06, 2014 at 8:06 am

Anyone know the stats on how many go thru boot camp? Stay out of trouble after that? Any facts or are we just sticking to being alarmists here? Just checking.

Skepticity wrote on June 07, 2014 at 10:06 am

The point I raised in my comment on the earlier article and again in the comment on this article above is NOT about whether Impact Incarceration can be productive, as your post infers.  You are welcome to seek out the statistics as to how many complete it and how many reintegrate successfully. That doesn't address the issue.

I believe Impact Incarceration can be a productive alternative to regular prison IF the appropriate prisoners are given the opportunity to complete the program and IF inappropriate referrals are screened out. It is an intensive, highly disciplined, grueling program, and given the proper prisoners, it can be of great benefit in rehabilitation.

My point is about pleading down charges to qualify people for the boot camp program who should not have the opportunity in the first place. If the charges are minimized, the wrong people are then sent to the program. Eligibility is based on the charge for which you are convicted, not the crimes you committed.

If a criminal is willing to threaten people with deadly weapons, then he/she is willing to use them and injure or kill someone to achieve his/her purpose. People who have this mindset and are willing to place the lives of others at risk have no business being placed in a program that will return them to the community in such a short time. It minimizes the significance of the crime, and erodes any deterrent effect on peers who see that there are not serious consequences for committing a crime with a deadly weapon.

I have repeatedly seen cases reported in this paper of criminals who committed dangerous criminal acts involving firearms and other deadly weapons who were allowed to plea to a lesser offense, and then return to the community in short time to commit subsequent dangerous crimes. This case is one example. I have commented on many others, as well.

Rather than insist on a plea admitting to the serious crime or go to trial, the State's Attorney accepts a plea on a lesser charge for expediency, the criminal gets a lesser sentence, and the public is placed at greater risk. The lesser charges may allow enrollment in the boot camp program, or may allow a dangerous prisoner to qualify for early release. These programs were not designed for dangerous criminals, but they are based on the conviction. Corrections officers cannot assess danger to the community if the original dangerous crime(s) are not reflected in the crime for which the criminal was convicted and sentenced.

Allowing such plea bargains that hide the seriousness of the crime and allow early release is a common practice in many courts. The expediency of clearing the case from the court quickly at little expense takes precedence over assuring public safety by keeping dangerous criminals out of the community.

Local Yocal wrote on June 07, 2014 at 4:06 pm
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Massive system failure here in that there seems to be little communication between probation/court services, parents, and boot camp supervisors. It's not as easy as looking up the seriousness of an offense and then tossing a key. We could have jailed the 17-year old Kaleb Smith for decades for the 2012 incident at Circle K, but prosecutors must have seen something redeemable at the time. Playing God with first-time or second-time offenders isn't easy, nor advisable. 

What's the story with this kid? Meth? Alcohol? Child abuse? Something has gone seriously awry in his history to create such violence, and demonic addiction to cigarettes of all things. 

Skepticity's call for a quarantine of this kid a while back is not entirely wrong, for Smith's trajectory isn't improving. 

But then, the system isn't designed to improve anything. It's designed for re-offending and making bigger monsters out of little monsters. Imagine if Smith had instead of going to boot camp, had done 1.9 months (average length of sentence at the D.O.C.)? He would have been exposed to a much more abusive situation and learned even worse traits the boot camp was supposed to knock out of him.  

Skepticity wrote on June 08, 2014 at 9:06 am

None of us know his history and what events shaped his development to arrive at a mind set that accepts placing others' lives at risk of death as OK to achieve his goals. 

None of us knows his family and neighborhood circumstances, and none of us know what prenatal events, trauma, loss, abuse, neglect, substance abuse, or social dysfunction contributed to his lack of regard for others. 

None of us knows what intervention attempts were made to offer mentorship, counseling, therapy, and support. 

None of us knows to what extent his family and friends tried to redirect and guide him. 

None of us knows his juvenile record and what attempts at redirection were offered before he stepped up to threatening the lives of others. 

We do know that regardless of whatever services and support were offered, only he could step up to use those services to make changes in himself. 

What we do know is that on two documented occasions he placed the lives of others at risk by threatening deadly force. 

What we do know is that regardless of any contributing circumstances to developing his mindset, in the context of these crimes HE IS NOT THE VICTIM. 

The key to understanding at this point is that HE is the one who is playing God with the lives of others in HIS hands as HE threatens with deadly weapons. 

This was my objection in the first article.  If you threaten the life of someone with a deadly weapon, you have placed yourself beyond sympathy and understanding.  You need consequences commensurate with the crime that will prevent you from doing it again anytime soon.  Society needs to protect itself from such acts. 

Until our justice system treats crimes that have the potential to take the lives of others with deadly weapons as being extremely serious, this pattern will repeat and lives will be put at risk. 

Some will not survive it. 


Local Yocal wrote on June 08, 2014 at 9:06 am
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Assuming the gun Smith is using is loaded, I suppose threatening to use deadly force is a standard most would agree is a reason to imprison anyone. (Would that include the football coach on the highway?) 

You have to wonder what happened in boot camp that allowed Smith to essentially leave the same way he came in, or to what circumstances he was released to that triggers his psychosis. He is not a victim, but the "system" is not getting the thorough vetting in these quick media narratives that explains how the taxpayers paid for garbage in and more garbage out. 


Skepticity wrote on June 08, 2014 at 12:06 pm

I think that a threat with a deadly weapon, even by a football coach, needs severe consequences.  I support the right to bear arms, and I support severe consequences for using a gun to commit a crime.

Boot camp offers hard labor, group living and work, discipline, group and individual counseling, and substance abuse education.  If a participant has self control to the extent that they can go with the program, they can succeed and complete it, earning release on parole.  If the prisoner is in impact incarceration and cannot control their aggression, their impulses, or are repeatedly insubordinate, they are kicked out to serve their sentence.  Emotionally disturbed and mentally ill prisoners struggle in this setting.  You cannot get in if you are taking psychotropic meds.  They rely on prisoner self reporting to see if you are on meds, so some failures are those who lied about needing psychotropic meds when entering DOC.

Any counseling/treatment program in or outside of prison can offer assistance in helping someone making changes, but none can guarantee outcomes.  Counseling can be gamed, so can boot camp. 

Prisons themselves offer small assistance for rehabilitation, and only someone actively seeking to change will do so.  Most prisons are pretty nasty, even the better ones, and they do little to prepare a prisoner for reintegrating into society.  Most correctional counselors try to the best of their ability, given their caseload.  The social norms of prisoner subculture work against successful reintegration into society. 

I do object to your assumption of psychosis.  Sociopathy seems more likely, but we really cannot diagnose from newspaper stories. 

When the latest crime was committed he was on parole. Despite being on parole, he sought out a firearm. Parole officers can do little to control, but can only revoke.

rsp wrote on June 09, 2014 at 7:06 am

According to the first article, the first arrest was with his brother who had a long record. I don't remember all the details. I suspect they felt that he was under the influence of his older brother and that's why he was given the chance at boot camp. He has proven that to not be the case.

Skepticity wrote on June 09, 2014 at 10:06 am

His half brother is reported as having been 16 years old.  The article reports that his half brother's extensive juvenile record was the reason his brother was tried as an adult for an armed robbery committed the day after this crime. 

I don't think they thought he was under the influence of his 16 year old brother.  I think that accepting a plea for a lesser charge to avoid going to trial is standard operating procedure in many courtrooms.