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Juvenile court briefs

October 21, 2004

Boy ordered to detention center


A Washington County Circuit judge ordered a 17-year-old boy, who admitted to stealing candy from a grocery store, to be placed in a youth detention facility pending placement in a therapeutic group home.

The youth was seen at about 9:30 a.m. on July 3 placing three Snickers candy bars in his back pocket and a pack of Skittles candy in his front pocket by an employee of Giant Eagle at 835 W. Hillcrest Ave. in Hagerstown, Washington County Assistant State's Attorney Michelle Flores said Wednesday in Washington County juvenile court.

Circuit Judge John H. McDowell, sitting in juvenile court, looked over the youth's file before addressing the boy. He told the youth that he "has some significant problems here: Significant psychological problems ... abuse in the past ... substance abuse issues ... bomb threats."

The youth told McDowell, "I don't think that I have psychological problems. Everything's new in my life now ... Everything's been pretty rough the past couple of years."

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The youth told McDowell that he has a 7-month-old baby, whose mother lives with him at his mother's house along with his new stepfather.

The boy's attorney, Assistant Public Defender Stephen Musselman, suggested the youth might be acting out as a backlash to his newfound adult responsibility.

The youth told McDowell that he is working hard to provide for his new family.

McDowell told the youth: "Why'd you screw up, knowing you have a daughter and could be taken away from her?"

The boy said he'd like to look into a parenting program.

Before ordering the youth to be sent to a youth detention facility, pending placement in a therapeutic group home, McDowell told the youth: "I know ... in all the problems you've had in the past ... that you have deep-seated psychological problems.

"You have to deal with it and you have to deal with it effectively," McDowell told the youth. "These problems, if you do not deal with them now, will last for the rest of your life."

Boy admits behavior must change


A 17-year-old boy who did not have a lawyer Wednesday in Washington County juvenile court to hear allegations he violated probation by getting in trouble in school was warned by a Circuit judge about the implications of any continued misbehavior.

The boy admitted Wednesday that he violated probation ordered in September by getting three referrals for foul language and disruptive behavior at Boonsboro High School.

He told Circuit Judge John H. McDowell, sitting in juvenile court, that he knows his behavior must change.

"I need to stop using inappropriate language," the boy told McDowell.

McDowell ordered the youth to continue on probation, including a period of home detention. The judge told the youth that although the cause of his violation might seem minor to most, that type of behavior can carry serious implications for the youth if it continues.

"If you come back and violate probation again, I'll take you away from your home," McDowell told the youth.

The boy's parents told McDowell they did not want to delay their son's disposition in order to get an attorney. They declined, when asked by McDowell, to consult with their child prior to his admission.

A Washington County Public Schools representative said the youth previously was a student at Antietam Academy, an alternative school, and that if it is requested, school officials could see if the youth could return there.

- Pepper Ballard

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