Oakland County Executive Coulter calls for review of judge's decision to incarcerate teen for not doing schoolwork


Oakland County Executive David Coulter. - CITY OF FERNDALE
  • City of Ferndale
  • Oakland County Executive David Coulter.

Oakland County Executive David Coulter is requesting a court review of a judge’s decision to incarcerate a 15-year-old girl during the coronavirus pandemic for violating her probation by not completing her online schoolwork.

Judge Mary Ellen Brennan of Oakland County Family Court in May called the teenager a “threat to (the) community” after she failed “to submit to any schoolwork” and ordered her to Oakland County’s Children’s Village juvenile detention center. The teenager, who has ADHD, was on probation for previous assault and theft charges.

The judge’s decision to lock up a Black teenager during the coronavirus pandemic was featured in a widely shared ProPublica story.

“I spoke with the Judge this evening,” Coulter says in a news release. “While there are many more details that she is unable to share with me and the public to protect privacy of the minor and their family, I believe a review of this case within her court or during an appellate process is required.”

He added, “It has been a top priority of my administration to keep the young people and employees safe at Children’s Village during the pandemic and that includes limiting residency to immediate safety risks.”

Brennan has declined to comment on the case.

The teenager remains in Children's Village, where she is expected to stay until at least September.

Meanwhile, supporters of the teenager are circulating an online petition calling for her to be released.

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