Maryland prosecutors say juveniles need to be held more accountable for crime

Written By: by WBFF StaffSun, July 16th 2023, 11:41 AM CDT
Jul 17, 2023

BALTIMORE (WBFF) — Nearly a dozen top prosecutors across the state of Maryland say their hands are tied when it comes to holding juvenile offenders accountable. They say two laws are to blame and something needs to change fast.

“They know nothing is really going to happen to them if they keep their crime in a certain limit of types of crimes,” said Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger.

"What I will tell you is that we need to do something fast, quick and in a hurry. Juveniles understand that nothing will happen to them,” said Baltimore City State’s Attorney Ivan Bates.

It’s the Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 2022 and the Child Interrogation Protection Act they think are letting juveniles get away with crime with little to no consequence.

In Calvert County, State’s Attorney Robert Harvey told WBFF he doesn’t support either law.

“Juveniles need to know that they are going to be held accountable for their actions," he said.

The law calls for six months’ probation for juveniles who commit adult misdemeanors and one-year probation for juveniles who commit adult felonies.

“These time frames are not sufficient to deter conduct, do not in many cases reflect the seriousness of offenses committed by juveniles and do not allow for the provision of services that juveniles often require," Harvey said.

Advocates of the Juvenile Justice Reform Act argue criminalizing children doesn’t improve public safety.

Meanwhile, new charges have been filed against the teenager arrested in connection with the mass shooting in Baltimore earlier this month that left two people dead and 28 others injured.

The 17-year-old boy now faces two riot charges, according to his attorney Michael Clinkscale. The teen already faces charges of possession of a firearm by a minor, assault weapon possession, reckless endangerment, and handgun in a vehicle.

Court documents are not public due to the being charged is a juvenile, and he has not been named publicly. It’s not clear if the case will remain in the juvenile court system or play out in the adult system.