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Judge Denies 15-Year-Old Release After Being Jailed For Not Doing Homework

Protest calling for Grace’s release | Image: Daily Mail/Reuters

A judge in Michigan, United States has ruled that a 15-year-old girl who was incarcerated for not completing her homework would not be released.

Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Mary Ellen Brennan during the three-hour proceeding on Monday said it was in the teenager’s best interest to stay in the program.

The teenage African American girl, who is identified by the name “Grace” to protect her identity, was placed on probation in April by Judge Brennan following a case of assault and theft. But in May, she was sentenced to a juvenile centre for violating her probation by failing to do her homework, which was one of the requirements of the probation.

However, U.S news site ProPublica which did a special report on Grace and her mother, revealed that the teenager has ADHD, receives special education services and struggled with the transition to online learning and fell behind.

During the hearing, Brennan told Grace that it was in her best interest to stay in the program after all of the progress she had been making.

“Give yourself a chance to follow through and finish something,” Brennan said, according to the Detroit News. “The right thing is for you and your mom to be separated for right now.”

Grace, however, told the judge that she wanted to go home: “I miss my mom. I can control myself. I can be obedient.”

Protest calling for Grace’s release | Image: Daily Mail/Reuters

At Monday’s hearing, Brennan stressed that police had responded to incidents between the mother and the daughter three times and that Grace’s detainment came out of violating probation related to charges of assault and theft from last year, ProPublica reported.

“She was not detained because she didn’t turn her homework in,” Brennan said. “She was detained because I found her to be a threat of harm to her mother based on everything I knew.”

Judge Brennan, who has come under criticism for the ruling maintained that her ruling was in the teenager’s best interest.

“My role is to make decisions that are in this young lady’s best interest, period,” Brennan said. “I took an oath that I would not be swayed by public clamour or fear of criticism.”

After the hearing, an attorney for the family, Jonathan Biernat, confirmed that Grace had been making strides, but the “fight for her release” is ongoing. Another hearing has been scheduled for September, according to local media reports.

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juvenile delinquency
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