The Maryland Senate is weighing legislation that would shield from the public the names and photographs of youths who are criminally charged as adults until a judge has determined whether the case should be moved to juvenile court.
Under the bill, which has been approved by the House of Delegates, juveniles charged as adults would receive some of the same protections as those charged in the juvenile system: their names, and any photographs and videos, would remain confidential. The information would be made public if a judge decides that he or she should be tried as an adult.
Currently, police agencies often release such information on juveniles charged as adults, and their names and other information appear in public court records. But judges often transfer those cases to juvenile court, where the young defendants face lighter sentences and the focus is on rehabilitation.
In Maryland, defendants under the age of 18 can be charged as adults with certain more serious offenses, such as murder and armed robbery.