PONTIAC, Mich. – A suburban Detroit judge who sent a 15-year-old girl to a juvenile detention facility for not doing her homework released the teen from probation on Tuesday, after an appeals court ordered her release.
Oakland Circuit Judge Mary Ellen Brennan adopted a caseworker’s recommendation that the case be terminated and that the girl, called “Grace” to protect her identity, continue receiving mental health treatment at home.
The girl was placed on probation in April in a case involving allegations of assault and theft, and had been in Oakland County’s Children’s Village since May for violating that probation, according to ProPublica.
Brennan said a Michigan Court of Appeals decision July 31 ordering Grace’s release from Children’s Village effectively tied the lower court’s hands. She said Grace appeared to be benefiting from the treatment she had received at the facility. No details of that treatment have been provided.
“This court’s goal to place her (in Children’s Village) was to address delinquent behavior and improve life at home for her and her mother,” Brennan said.
Among the requirements of her probation, Grace was expected to complete her schoolwork. Grace, who has ADHD and receives special education services, struggled with the transition to online learning and fell behind.
Brennan initially cited a “failure to submit to any schoolwork and getting up for school” for her decision to place the teen in juvenile detention.
But the judge said at a July 20 hearing in Pontiac that Grace was placed in the juvenile facility because she was a threat to her mother and that police had been called out three times for confrontations between the two.
Brennan had said the girl was a threat to the community based on an assault allegation involving her mother in November, according to court documents. The girl was also accused of stealing a cellphone from a fellow student at Birmingham Groves High School in Beverly Hills, northwest of Detroit.
An attorney for Grace, Saima Khalil accused Brennan of “callous conduct” during the case.
“You have deprived my client access to mental health treatment that was available through her school ... and this court publicly lambasted the child during a court hearing.”
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