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Researching Juvenile Justice Law
Juvenile delinquency law is largely governed by statute. In Maryland, the official source of the state statutes is the Annotated Code of Maryland. All Maryland law libraries and many Maryland public libraries (see SAILOR, Maryland's Online Public Information Network sponsored by Maryland public libraries) carry the Annotated Code of Maryland in print. For your convenience, this guide provides links to Maryland's statutes in a free web database maintained by Lexis-Nexis. Keep in mind, however, that the print version may be more useful in your research because it provides summaries of and citations to cases that have interpreted each statute. The free web version does not give summaries of case law.
The court rules governing juvenile proceedings appear in Title 11 of the Maryland Rules of Court. The print version of the court rules, like the print version of the statutes, has the advantage of providing summaries of cases that interpret the rules. You may therefore wish to visit a library to do your rules research in print, instead of relying on the web version.
Regulations & Policy Documents
The Maryland Department of Juvenile Services has made extensive regulations concerning the construction and management of juvenile facilities, as well as the provision of services to youths in the juvenile justice system. The Department's regulations are published officially in Title 16 of COMAR (the Code of Maryland Administrative Regulations), the print version of which is available in all Maryland law libraries and many Maryland public libraries. The Department has also issued several policy documents, including statements of its policies on the use of force and the prevention of suicide in juvenile facilities. These policy statements are available on the Department's home page, here. Other policy documents of interest include the following:
- Standards of Conduct and Disciplinary Process
- Maryland Standards for Juvenile Detention Facilities
There are several ways to begin research into juvenile justice case law.
- One way is to find the statutes that apply to your situation in the Annotated Code of Maryland, then look at the case summaries that follow them.
- You can find additional cases by reading books (treatises) that explain Maryland juvenile justice law and noting the cases they cite.
- Another method of finding cases is to search the Maryland Digest, which is a big subject index to Maryland case law. The Maryland Digest arranges summaries of published cases by legal issue using something called the "topic and key number" system. Once you know the topic and key number combination that represents your issue, look up that topic and key number in the Digest and you should find a list of summaries of cases that discuss your issue.
Source:Sara Kelley, Librarian, Georgetown University Law Library.
Is this legal advice?
This site offers legal information, not legal advice. We make every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information and to clearly explain your options. However we do not provide legal advice - the application of the law to your individual circumstances. For legal advice, you should consult an attorney. The Maryland State Law Library, a court-related agency of the Maryland Judiciary, sponsors this site. In the absence of file-specific attribution or copyright, the Maryland State Law Library may hold the copyright to parts of this website. You are free to copy the information for your own use or for other non-commercial purposes with the following language “Source: Maryland's People’s Law Library – www.peoples-law.org. © Maryland State Law Library, 2013.”