Interviewed on WBAL radio about the recent murder of a Baltimore County police officer during a traffic stop involving four juveniles, Jane C. Murphy, the Laurence M. Katz Professor of Law in the University of Baltimore School of Law and director of its Juvenile Justice Project, says that failures in the state’s juvenile justice system may have played a role in the incident. Still, she adds, the deeper cause is rooted in what the accused perpetrators believed about themselves—and, she believes, this is where the system must produce results.
“There were some breakdowns in the system here,” Murphy said, citing the need for GPS tracking of juveniles who are in trouble with the law.
Dawnta Harris, the 16-year-old charged with the murder of Officer Amy Caprio, has admitted to the court that he drove his vehicle at her during the stop. He had been placed on home detention following a string of car thefts and an escape from juvenile detention, but was missing before the incident. Three other youths in the car with him have been charged as adults with murder and burglary, according to media reports.
Prof. Murphy told WBAL that not only should flaws in the system be worked out, but larger conversations about how to prevent young people from becoming offenders need to take place.
“We need to begin to look at investment in kids as important to our public safety and national security as investments in the police and the military,” she said. “We need to value every child’s life in ways that make them feel they value their own life and the lives of others like officer Caprio.”
Read the WBAL article.
Learn more about Prof. Murphy.