How Baltimore Freed Teen Who Then Was Charged With Murder


The Baltimore Sun won release of a video of a closed juvenile court hearing that crime beat reporter Peter Hermann hoped would help explain how a teenager with a long criminal record who had just been arrested in a drug bust could be sent home from a detention center only to be charged with killing a man two hours later. He says the video “not only fails to explain why state officials freed 17-year-old Maurice Brown, but it raises new questions about the case, while revealing proposed procedural changes that would make it easier for more young offenders to avoid detention.”

Brown had a “risk assessment” score of 13, considered high, but not high enough to require that he be detained. Prosecutors complained that the assessment tool does not give enough weight to drug offenses, which they believe show a propensity toward violence. while 13 is considered high, it was not high enough to require that he be detained. Juvenile authorities said they work to push kids out of detention. Says Hermann: “That might be well and good, but that doesn’t mean all kids and it shouldn’t mean that the process is always carried out behind closed doors and without public accountability.”

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