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Breaks by judge, police kept gang leader on the street

A violent Milwaukee youth who was a leader in a notorious street gang got breaks from the juvenile court system that kept him on the street were he committed new crimes, an investigation by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter John Diedrich revealed.  The newspaper reported in July that miscommunication between federal and state authorities later resulted in missing a chance to arrest Barragan in a courtroom before he fled to Mexico and became one of the U.S. Marshals Service's most wanted fugitives. In the new report, the newspaper found systematic problems earlier in the life of Armando Barragan. The juvenile court documents reviewed by the newspaper show Barragan could have — and probably should have — been behind bars in April 2003, when Kevin Hirschfield was shot to death outside the gas station. He was free because of breaks he received, first from a judge and later from police, according to court records and interviews.

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