Maryland bill would block minors from being charged as adults

(AP Photo/Sean Rayford)

The Maryland state Senate recently introduced SB 93, named the Youth Equity & Safety Act. This latest attempt at so-called “justice reform” would end the practice of charging juvenile suspects under the age of 18 as adults. Proponents of the bill claim that younger offenders don’t receive the resources they need in an adult prison while going through the juvenile court system makes them “less likely to re-offend.” (They offered no data to back up that assertion.) This is a stunning proposal to put forward at a time when Baltimore has seen seven straight years with more than 300 murders and a very sizable portion of the offenders (when they manage to identify and arrest a suspect) are minors that are recruited by the gangs, some of whom are barely old enough for middle school. (CBS News Baltimore)

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A proposed Senate bill aims to make a big move in juvenile justice reform, trying to prevent youth in Maryland from being charged as adults.

Advocates rallied in support of Senate Bill 93 Thursday morning, ahead of a hearing for the proposed bill in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee.

They argue it’s about treating youth the right way and making sure these offenders get the resources they need.

At the rally held by supporters of the bill in the Capital on Thursday, one of the featured speakers was Alonzo Turner-Bey. He tearfully recounted the more than thirty years he spent in prison after being charged as an adult at the age of 17 in 1989. One detail that received less attention was the fact that Turner-Bey wasn’t sent up the river on some random burglary or drug charge. He gunned down another teenager in cold blood and was convicted of murder. An attempted appeal of the sentence in 1994 was dismissed as being “without merit.” He says he is “very remorseful” over the killing and didn’t fully understand “all of the ramifications” of the murder. Okay, then.

It’s true that many people have, in the past, received unusually heavy-handed sentences for some drug crimes or lesser offenses. But Turner-Bey doesn’t seem like the person you would pick as a poster child for sentencing reform. The fact that sentencing for gun crimes in Baltimore in the current era has been so liberal is widely blamed for the city’s failure to get the homicide rate under control.

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Ironically, that story was published by CBS News in Baltimore on the same day that this story went online. An arrest was finally made in the case of a horrific shooting that took place on January 4th in the parking lot of a shopping center across the street from a suburban Baltimore high school. Five students were shot and one of them died. The suspect is an unnamed 16-year-old.

A 16-year-old boy has been arrested in a high-profile murder case from January.

He has been charged with first-degree murder.

Deanta Dorsey, 16, was killed in the shooting on Jan. 4 in the parking lot of the Edmondson Village Shopping Center. Two 17-year-old males and two 18-year-old males were injured.

The unnamed 16-year-old had an accomplice who has not yet been caught. The murder victim, Deanta Dorsey, also 16 years of age, reportedly had eighteen bullets in him. The victim was in school that day and had been out on his lunch break with friends. The shooter was not in school and clearly was in possession of an illegal firearm since he couldn’t legally purchase one at that age.

Does that shooter sound like someone who should be fed into the juvenile court system and be put on some sort of “monitoring” program while he’s “rehabilitated?” If they wanted to feature a speaker at that rally on Thursday, perhaps they should have invited Deanta Dorsey’s aunt/guardian to say a few words. She told a reporter from CBS News that nobody has reached out to contact her about what happened to her nephew and she “wants answers.”

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So do we all, Ms. Dorsey. So do we all.

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David Strom 12:40 PM | July 24, 2024
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