Matter of Johnson

304 A.2d 859 (1973)

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Matter of Johnson

Maryland Court of Special Appeals
304 A.2d 859 (1973)

  • Written by Tammy Boggs, JD

Facts

Diane Johnson was 16 years old, an above-average student, and responsible; had no behavioral problems; and participated in extracurricular and church activities. In May 1972, Johnson, who was not licensed, asked her 21-year-old boyfriend if she could drive his car. The boyfriend agreed. In attempting to make a wide turn, Johnson accidentally put her foot on the accelerator instead of the brake. The car struck three children on a sidewalk, and one of them died. The boyfriend instructed Johnson to go home, and he told police that he was the driver. Eventually, the police discovered Johnson’s involvement. The state (plaintiff) brought an action in juvenile court alleging that Johnson was a delinquent child on account of her gross negligence that had resulted in a young child’s death. The court held a hearing to determine whether to waive or retain delinquency jurisdiction. Johnson was 17 years old at the time. The state argued for a waiver based primarily on the serious nature of the offense. The department of social services reported Johnson’s positive characteristics and potential to be a productive citizen. Johnson’s minister testified that Johnson was very concerned and tearful over what had happened; the minister thought Johnson would be better served in the juvenile system. The juvenile court decided to waive jurisdiction. The court commended Johnson’s “credible record” but believed that the severe, tragic nature of the offense and subsequent events necessitated a waiver. Johnson appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Gilbert, J.)

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