Researching Juvenile Justice Law


Juvenile delinquency law is largely governed by state statutes. In Maryland, the official source for 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. Keep in mind, however, that the print version may be more useful in your research because it provides case summaries and citations interpreting each statute. The free web version does not give case summaries or citations.

Statutes about Juvenile Delinquency: Read the Law: MD Code Ann., Courts & Judiciary Proceedings § 3-8A-01 and following

Statutes about Truancy: Read the Law: MD Code Ann., Courts & Judiciary Proceedings § 3-8C-01 and following

Court Rules

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, provides case summaries interpreting the rules. You may, therefore, wish to visit a library and use the print version for your research.

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 Regulations). The print version of COMAR is available in all Maryland law libraries and many Maryland public libraries. The Department has also issued several policy documents, including statements 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:


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 following 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 the "topic and key number" system. Once you know the topic and key number combination for your issue, look up that topic and key number in the Digest and you will find a list of summaries of cases that discuss your issue.

Sara Kelley, Librarian, Georgetown University Law Library; updated by Sarah Kaplan, Esq., Juvenile Law Manager, AOC Department of Family Administration
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 Thurgood Marshall 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 Thurgood Marshall 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 – © Maryland Thurgood Marshall State Law Library, 2020.”