Justia Juvenile Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Maryland Court of Appeals
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The Court of Appeals affirmed the holding of the court of special appeals affirming the judgment of the juvenile court finding that sixteen-year-old S.K. was involved in distributing child pornography, holding that a minor may be adjudicated delinquent under Maryland's child pornography and obscenity statutes as the "person" who is a distributor of child pornography and a displayer of obscene matter when she is also the minor participant in the sex act. S.K. sent a video to her two best friends that showed herself performing fellatio in a male. When the video was later distributed to other students S.K. was charged under Md. Code Crim. Law (CR) 11-207(a)(4) and 11-203(b)(1)(ii). After an adjuratory hearing, the juvenile court found S.K. involved as to distributing child pornography and displaying an obscene item to a minor. The court of special appeals reversed in part, holding (1) a minor legally engaged in consensual sexual activity is not exempted from CR 11-207(a)(4); and (2) the cellphone video was not an "item" covered within CR 11-203(b)(1)(ii). The Court of Appeals reversed in part, holding (1) the plain language of CR 11-207(a)(4) subsumes situations where a minor produces and distributes pornographic material of himself or herself; and (2) S.K.'s conduct fell within that contemplated by CR 11-203. View "In re S.K." on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeals reversed the judgment of the Court of Special Appeals vacating in part the juvenile court's order and determining that the juvenile court erred in ordering $65 in restitution to rekey three household locks where the corresponding keys were stolen during an armed robbery, holding that, pursuant to the "direct result" requirement of Md. Crim. Proc. (CP) 11-603(a), the restitution award was proper. G.R. pleaded involved to charges of robbery, second-degree assault, and openly carrying a dangerous weapon. The circuit court found G.R. liable for $120 in restitution, including $65 to rekey the locks of three homes of which the keys were stolen. The Court of Appeals vacated the restitution order, concluding that the costs of rekeying the locks was not a direct result of the underlying robbery. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that G.R.'s robbery directly resulted in a substantial decrease of value of the locks because it brought into question the underlying security of the homes the stolen house keys belonged to, and therefore, the decision to rekey the locks was not an intervening act but a necessary action taken to maintain the security of the homes to which the keys belonged. View "In re G.R." on Justia Law

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A family magistrate of the circuit court for Baltimore County found that Cody H. had committed the delinquent act of assault by punching a sixteen-year-old victim in the face and breaking his jaw. The magistrate judgment made a recommendation for a restitution award of $1,489 to the victim for medical expenses but did not award restitution for lost earnings. The State filed exceptions to the recommendation. A juvenile court judge sustained the State’s exception and imposed an additional restitution amount of $5,000 for loss of earnings. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the loss of earnings restitution award in this case was proper under the restitution statute, Md. Code Ann., Crim. Proc. 11-603. View "In re Cody H." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, born in September 1983, filed a five-count complaint against defendant, her grandfather, in September 2008 alleging that he raped her on two separate occasions, the first of which occurred when she was either six or seven-years-old and the second incident when she was eight-years-old. At issue was whether section 5-117 of the Courts & Judicial Proceedings Article could be properly applied retroactively to permit a claim that arose before the effective date of section 5-117 and which was barred by the prior statute of limitations. The court held that, assuming arguendo application of section 5-117 to plaintiff's claims represented a retrospective application of the statute, section 5-117 was a procedural and remedial statute, and, accordingly, it could be given such retrospective application to claims that were not-yet barred by the previously-applicable three-year statute of limitations period as of the extended period's effective date on October 1st, 2003.

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Petitioner Ms. B. and Mr. T. are the biological parents of Shirley, Jordan, Davon and Cedric (collectively, "the Children"). In 2005, the Children were referred to Prince George's County Department of Social Services following reports of neglect and sexual abuse. A subsequent psychological evaluation revealed that Ms. B. was cognitively impaired, and that the Children had special needs of their own. Ms. B. was largely unresponsive to the Department's assistance, and she allowed vital benefits to lapse. She also allowed unauthorized adults to move into her home, exposing the Children to drug use and sexual activity. After a violent altercation between Ms. B., Mr. T. and Shirley, the Department sought to remove the Children from Ms. B.'s care. Proceedings at juvenile court ended with the Children being permanently removed from their home. Ms. B. appealed the decision, arguing the Department failed to make reasonable efforts to reunite her with her children, claiming she did not receive any specialized parenting services. The Court of Special Appeals affirmed the juvenile court's decision. On appeal, the Supreme Court reviewed the lower courts' records and affirmed their decisions: "the Department actively tried to connect the mother with services that could potentially assist her in her parental role⦠Accordingly, it made reasonable efforts toward unification."