Nasheen Anderson's online posting of court documents and comments that could have endangered crime victims was "vile, wrong and ugly," a judge said today, despite concluding that the teen should not be tried as an adult.
After waiving his right to a preliminary hearing in Family Court and speaking with his mother and attorney, Anderson, 17, was allowed to plead guilty as a juvenile to felony witness intimidation and terroristic threats, a misdemeanor.
The District Attorney's Office last month filed a motion requesting that the court try the Martin Luther King High student as an adult.
Family Court Administrative Judge Kevin M. Dougherty, however, said Anderson - who has good school attendance and only one prior minor court case - could be better served in the juvenile system.
A court-ordered mental-health evaluation of Anderson and a probation officer also concluded that he should remain in the juvenile justice system.
After formally adjudicating Anderson delinquent, Dougherty gave him a tongue lashing and demanded to know where he got the court pictures and documents that he posted to his Twitter account in October. The documents were related to a June 2012 nonfatal double shooting in Southwest Philadelphia.
Anderson's response that he merely photographed and then reposted information that was sent to him by some among his thousands of Twitter followers did not satisfy the judge.
Dougherty gave Anderson until his next court date on Dec. 16 - when he will be sentenced - to reveal from whom he obtained the court information and why he posted it along with comments such as "Expose All RATS."
"You have become part of the thug culture, and in my world, thugs go away," said Dougherty, who ordered that Anderson be housed at the highest security level until his next court date.
Assistant District Attorney Jan McDermott said Anderson should have been tried as an adult.
"Based on the fact that this defendant posted photographs of victims in a nonfatal shooting, as well as their statement, the affidavit of probable cause and the photo array where the shooter was identified," she said, "that's the specific kind of crime - with a level of sophistication and culpability - that's such a threat to the criminal-justice system and its ability to function ... that [it] should be dealt with in adult court rather than in juvenile court."
Defense attorney Timothy P. McCullough said Anderson is a good kid who got tripped up by the dangers of social media.
"If you retweet or post something without thinking about the repercussions, regrettable, very bad things can happen," he said after the hearing.