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With police responding to a spate of car thefts by teens, Madison Police chief Mike Koval complained in an Oct. 16 blog post that Dane County’s juvenile justice system wasn’t doing enough to protect victims of juvenile crime and hold child offenders accountable.

It’s hard to evaluate Koval’s complaints because juvenile court proceedings are closed to the public. But the sentencing last month of a 17-year-old Madison boy at least provides a window into what kind of punishment a teenager can expect in adult court for stealing vehicles.

As part of a plea deal approved Dec. 20, Ramogi Carr was sentenced to six months in jail with work-release privileges and four years of probation, and ordered to pay $7,095.36 in fines and other costs.

He has to report to jail Feb. 18, at which time the sheriff’s office can decide to keep him in jail at night or release him to his home with an electronic monitoring bracelet. As part of his plea agreement, he is under a 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. curfew and must be going to school, work or both.

Carr pleaded guilty to two felony counts of operating a vehicle without the owner’s consent and one felony count of bail jumping, and six misdemeanors for being a passenger in a stolen car, resisting and obstructing arrest, and criminal damage to property for incidents that occurred from June to October. Felony operating a vehicle without the owner’s consent is a Class I felony punishable by up to three and a half years in prison and extended supervision, up to a $10,000 fine or both.

Multiple felony and misdemeanor counts of bail-jumping were dismissed, as were misdemeanor counts of criminal trespass to dwelling and resisting or obstructing an officer.

Carr turned 17 in June, making him an adult under Wisconsin criminal law. He was the only legal adult with a group of five juveniles who were arrested Oct. 18 after leading police on chases of two stolen vehicles in southern Dane County.

Four months earlier, he’d been among seven people — including five juveniles, ranging in age from 14 to 16, and 18-year-old Cameron Barber-Smith — arrested after allegedly leading police on chases of three stolen vehicles, including one that crashed into a field.

He also showed up on a list of 32 repeat juvenile offenders that the Madison Police Department compiled in July.

Judges can consider previous juvenile adjudications when meting out punishment in adult court, according to Dane County Juvenile Court Administrator John Bauman, “but adjudications do not count as convictions to increase the maximum sentence under the habitual criminality law.”

Carr declined to comment to the State Journal at a Dec. 14 court date, and his attorney did not respond to a request for comment.

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Chris Rickert is the urban affairs reporter and SOS columnist for the Wisconsin State Journal.