Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Kindred Spirits Of Latarian Milton

It's been awhile since we last heard from our husky hoodrat friend Latarian Milton. You'll recall this past Spring, the 7 year old Florida youth made national news for stealing and subsequently wrecking his grandma's SUV. The followed this impressive feat with a far less funny action only weeks later, when he snapped in an argument over (what else?) chicken wings, and gut punched Grandma repeatedly in a Walmart superstore. The last word I got on this sad ordeal was that Latarian was "getting a mental evaluation", which is a nice was of sayin' they're preppin' him for juvie already.

Anyways, in the weeks since, we've seen an explosion of similar "kids gone bad" stories across the nation. I swear, I get emailed these sorts of stories at least twice a week. Thank you AverageNation™ for keeping me informed on this burgeoning trend in preteen crime.

There was Semaj (yes, James spelled backwards) Booker, a 10 year old in Washington State who while ticketless, managed to hop on not one, but two Southwest Airlines flights and made it halfway around the country before getting busted. He was going to visit his grandfather. Just last year, Semaj also made national headlines of his own for stealing a neighbor's car and leading police on a high speed chase. Yikes!

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A few weeks ago, someone sent me a link about a 9 year old kid in Ohio named Hunter Lance, who stole the keys to him mom's minivan while she was sleeping. With his 5 year old sister ridin' shotgun, he took off, heading to go visit his father at work.

Yesterday, I'm at the gym, and I see the news ticker indicate some 7 year old in Indiana stole his mom's car, and took off, supposedly in search of his brother. He had apparently learned to drive while playing (what else?) Grand Theft Auto IV.

With all this attention being showered on his fellow preteen motorists, I knew it was just a matter of time before Latarian elbowed his way back into the spotlight.

Yep, he's baaaaack. Forgive the excessive quoting. I didn't know where to edit this one.

When a 7-year-old boy takes his grandmother's Dodge Durango on an 8-minute joy ride, hits two mailboxes, two parked cars, two moving cars, and finally stops only when he hits a sign and knocks the right front wheel off the SUV, you know where that little boy belongs.

On Judge Judy.

Come July 1, LaTarian Milton; his mother, Ashley Milton Mickeens; and his grandmother, Vikkita Stratford, will be in Los Angeles, taping a segment of the popular afternoon justice show.

"Judge Judy contacted me about two days after my grandson took the SUV," Stratford recalled Monday.

That was April 25, when drivers called 911 to report "a small person driving a car" in the vicinity of Northlake Boulevard and Congress Avenue in Lake Park. No one was hurt, but the boy was charged with stealing the car, then returned to his family.

"I said, 'Oh, no, my dignity means more to me than your show,' " Stratford said she told Judge Judy producers. "I watch Judge Judy, and I know what she's capable of."

Next, the producers called the boy's mother.

"I have mixed feelings because I kind of think this will look like a reward to him," Mickeens said.

But both women agreed to play along. So on May 23, Stratford sued her daughter in Palm Beach County Court for $5,000.

"I didn't know I had grounds to sue my daughter until Judge Judy called and told me what grounds I could sue her on," Stratford said. "I would have sued. I just didn't know how."

Stratford said she was told the show will pay any money the judge awards. The family will get a trip to Hollywood and a fee out of the deal as well.

"She pays you to be on the show," said Stratford, who declined to say how much she and her daughter would split. "But it's worth my while. Trust me."

A spokesman for Judge Judy did not return a call seeking comment.

The segment featuring the family will be broadcast during the coming season, which begins in September, according to CBS affiliate WPEC News 12.
Uhhh, Judge Judy?!!? How did she pull this one off? Seriously, I'm just wondering how Judge Joe and Judge Mathis missed this coup. Now I gotta add another of these shows to my Season Pass. Arrghhh!

I told ya'll long ago all these Judge shows were nothing but poorly scripted sitcoms. So I wonder just how much this is gonna help the kid.

I'm sure he'll visit Magic Mountain while in LA. He'll crash a rooftop party at The Standard. He'll end up in some photo ops at the Beverly Center. He'll hit the Santa Monica Pier. He'll cruise Sunset. Drop by the Slauson Swap Meet. He'll prolly eat a few Scoe's Specials[1]. But will he be any better off at this end of this whole thing?[2] I doubt it.

Cause he's still coming back home with the same idiots who keep enabling this sorta behavior in the first place.[3]

Hide your car keys.

Question: Do all these kids need to go before Judge Judy or do they just need a solid a$$ whoopin'?!?

Boy's joy ride puts family before 'Judge Judy' [Palm Beach Post

Judge gives runaway, 10, another chance [SeattleTimes]

Minivan Joyride Ends In Crash For 9-Year-Old [KPTV]

Police: 7-Year-Old Boy Drove Grandmother's Car [IndyChannel]

[1] West Coast, holla at ya' boy! Tell the rest of the country what they're missin'.

[2] And yeah, I'm sorta jealous that this 7 year old thief gets an all expenses paid trip to LA, but I haven't been able to convince my boss to put me on a project out there to save my life. It's been ages since I sniffed the Left Coast. I think Shaq was still in town the last time I was there. Either way, I Love LA!

[3] Somebody sue me. We can both get a free frip to LA outta this.

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