top of page

Welcome to Crime and Justice News

Maryland Judges Keep Teens In Adult Court For ‘Arbitrary’ Reasons, Advocates Say

An investigation by WYPR and APM Reports found that some Maryland judges are using what juvenile justice advocates say are arbitrary and inconsistent reasons to keep teenagers charged with serious crimes in adult court. A review of more than three dozen court hearings over the past three years found a process that subjects teenagers to adult jails, courts and sentences despite decades of research showing these tactics push teens to commit more crimes. When deciding whether to treat these children as adults, judges sometimes relied on questionable reasoning.   

The findings include: a Baltimore City judge that said a teenager’s large size was an argument to keep him in the adult system; a Baltimore County judge that said a defendant found to pose a “low to moderate risk of reoffending” should stay in the adult court largely because he missed a lot of school; a Montgomery County judge said a teen evaluated as “low risk” seemed inclined to participate in treatment, but ruled that the teen did not have severe enough mental illness to warrant moving him to juvenile court;  Wicomico County judge decided there was “insufficient evidence” that a 14-year-old boy with severe intellectual disabilities would change his behavior after the juvenile system’s treatment programs; and a Baltimore City judge questioned whether a juvenile sentence would “be of sufficient duration” to treat the extensive mental health needs of a teen with an intellectual disability, despite medical experts’ testimonies that the programs would help him. Advocates who reviewed the findings called the judges’ statements “appalling” and “unfair.” “The first word that comes to mind is ‘horrendous,’” said Natasha Dartigue, head of the Maryland Office of the Public Defender. “A second word that comes to mind is ‘heartbreaking.’”


Recent Posts

See All

HSI Rebrands to Downplay ICE Ties

Homeland Security Investigations has been closely associated with its parent agency, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, for immigration-related law enforcement. But HSI is now attempting to distance

Why Greenwood, S.C., Is Not U.S. Murder Capital

In the FBI's Uniform Crime Report for 2022, some of the usual suspects, like New Orleans and St. Louis, rank near the top of murder rates per capita. But the story behind Greenwood, S.C.'s chart-toppi


A daily report co-sponsored by Arizona State University, Criminal Justice Journalists, and the National Criminal Justice Association

bottom of page