Washington Co. Juvenile Court briefs

December 30, 2009

Teen ordered to pay restitution for property damage

A 17-year-old girl on Wednesday was found to have been the perpetrator in a second-degree assault and property damage incident that occurred at a home in her neighborhood.

The teenager had entered a not-involved plea at the start of Wednesday's proceeding. A plea of not involved is the equivalent of a not-guilty plea in adult court.

Washington County Circuit Judge John H. McDowell, sitting in juvenile court, heard testimony from two witnesses for the state before ruling on the teen's involvement.

The victim testified that the incident occurred at her residence on Lanvale Street in Hagerstown, and that she had returned home from a date to find the teenager in her home, uninvited and noticeably intoxicated.


When she told her to leave, the teen "became enraged," and pushed some books off a ledge, spilling juice on them, the victim testified.

The victim testified that when she continued to demand the girl leave, the teenager began pulling her hair and she had to hold her down to make her stop.

She also testified that the teen smashed a glass bottle, then when she was removed from the residence, began kicking at the front door, throwing mud around and smashing a light fixture.

A Hagerstown Police Department officer testified that when he went to the home, the teenager was uncooperative, and screamed and swore at him.

McDowell found the teenager guilty on both counts, saying she committed what amounted to fourth-degree burglary.

He dismissed arguments by defense attorney Michael Wilson, who said the victim might have initiated the first contact while trying to remove the intruder from her house.

"As the occupant, she has the right to use reasonable force to remove a trespasser," McDowell said.

He ordered the teenager's family to make payments to the victim for restitution in the amount of $312.24 for the door and light fixture that were damaged.

The teen was placed on indefinite supervised probation with a condition that there be no unexcused absences from school.

Teen's case placed on inactive docket

The case of a teenager charged with trespassing and inhaling noxious substances was placed on the inactive docket Wednesday in juvenile court.

His attorney, Washington County Assistant Public Defender Loren Villa, entered her appearance in the case.

The teenager, who admitted that his actions had been foolish, said it was the "stupidest thing he'd ever done."

Washington County Circuit Judge John H. McDowell, sitting in juvenile court, told the teenager he needed to continue with his current drug and alcohol treatment program as a condition of the arrangement.

Teen's case continued until January

The case of a teenager charged with breaking and entering was continued Wednesday in juvenile court until Jan. 20 pending a pre-sentence investigation.

The teenager was charged with breaking into a residence in Hagerstown on Sept. 28.

Assistant State's Attorney Steven Kessel said the case might be related to another pending burglary case involving a large amount of restitution.

The youth currently is on community detention, and Washington County Circuit Judge John H. McDowell, sitting in juvenile court, ordered him to remain in the program until the case is resolved.

Probation violation charge against man dropped

Washington County Assistant State's Attorney Steven Kessel dropped a probation violation charge against an 18-year-old man in juvenile court on Wednesday.

The respondent had been housed in the Washington County Detention Center for the past five months.

Before he was charged as an adult in an assault case, he had been keeping up with his probation responsibilities, but stopped attending appointments after learning of the assault charge, probation officials said.

Kessel said the state likely would not prosecute the adult assault charges because the victim had changed his story and he was doubtful the case could proceed.

Washington County Circuit Judge John H. McDowell, sitting in juvenile court, terminated the man's juvenile probation and ordered the case closed.

-- Bridget DiCosmo

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