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Purpose clauses, 2016

  • No clause

  • Parens patriae

  • Due process era

  • Balanced and Restorative Justice (BARJ)

  • Developmental Approach

Maryland retains traces of parens patriae language of the Standard Juvenile Court Act (1959) and the Legislative Guide for Drafting Family and Juvenile Court Acts (1969) of the due process era, but the purpose clause aligns with BARJ.  Last amended effective 2002, the purposes mention "balancing public safety and protection of the community, accountability of the child to the victim and the community, and competency and character development to assist children in becoming responsible and productive members of society." 

MD ST §3-8A-02

Intake and diversion, 2016

Initial intake and court diversion decision is at the discretion of the prosecutor or the juvenile court intake officer, divided by offense.

In Maryland, once a law enforcement officer takes a child into custody (similar to arrest), if the child is not referred to a community diversion program, a complaint must be filed within 15 days of taking custody. If referred to a diversion program, a complaint must be filed with JPO after 30 and before 120 days from the referral. Police must also file copies of issued citations with JPO when youth are not taken into custody.

Otherwise, complaints are received by JPO from any person or agency. JPO will make an inquiry to determine whether the court has jurisdiction and whether judicial action is in the best interest of the public/child within 25 days. For citations and petitions alleging a child is in need of service, the JPO can authorize filing a petition, propose informal adjustment, or deny filing the petition. If the petition is denied, the victim/arresting police officer/filing agency receives notice that they can ask that the State’s attorney (DA) review the decision. The JPO may authorize filing felonious delinquency petitions. All other delinquency complaints must be forwarded to the DA with the JPO’s recommendation on whether to file, adjust, or dismiss the petition. Informal adjustments can be implemented by JPO upon consent of victim, child, and parent (and DA for felonious delinquency allegations.) The written agreement can include a plan for up to 90 days that includes conditions such as: successful completion of a D&A program, supervised work program, requirement that the parent withdraw consent for the child to drive. The Intake officer must refer the youth to the DA for a decision on further action when parents refuse to withdraw consent for the driver's license or when the child fails to comply with D&A or work program assignment.

After a petition is filed, the DA may dismiss the petition in open court with reasons.

Pre-petition court diversion time limit/s exist.

In Maryland, pre-petition diversion agreements can be monitored for up to 90 days.

Courtroom shackling, 2015

No statewide restriction

In Maryland, on 6/29/16, the Court of Special Appeals In re: D.M held that “juveniles should not be shackled while appearing at juvenile court hearings, unless and until there has been a finding on the record that the juvenile poses a security concern or threat that would disrupt those particular proceedings or involve danger to the juvenile or others.”

Competency, 2015

In Maryland, the legal basis for juvenile competency is found in the juvenile code (of statutes), which aligns with the Dusky standard. Within 25 days of intake, all juveniles are screened for whether a comprehensive mental health and substance abuse evaluation should be conducted. Competency hearings may be held regarding youth ability to participate in various proceedings including adjudicatory, waiver (transfer), disposition, and violation of probation hearings. Procedural criteria for evaluators, evaluation reports, timelines, treatment conditions, and dismissal are also statutory.

  • No juvenile standard

  • Juvenile standard is the adult standard

  • Juvenile justice standard exists

  • JJ standard includes developmental immaturity

Sex offender registration, 2015


About this project

Juvenile Justice GPS (Geography, Policy, Practice, Statistics) is a project to develop a repository providing state policy makers and system stakeholders with a clear understanding of the juvenile justice landscape in the states.

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