Meredith, Arthur, Sharer, J. Frederick, (Retired, Specially
Circuit Court for Baltimore City, sitting as a juvenile
court, found D.M., appellant, "involved" in the
delinquent act of theft of property valued at less than $1,
000, thus affirming the findings of the juvenile master.
Appellant was subsequently committed to the Department of
Juvenile Services for placement.
appeal, appellant raises two questions for our consideration:
1. Did the juvenile court err in refusing to permit the
removal of shackles from appellant during the court
2. Did the juvenile court err in denying appellant's
motion to suppress?
reasons expressed herein, we find neither reversible error
nor abuse of discretion, and affirm the judgments of the
about 9:50 a.m. on August 5, 2014, Nicole DiHart was walking
on Pratt Street in Baltimore City when her cell phone rang.
As she retrieved the cell phone to answer the call, it was
snatched from her hands by a young black man with short hair,
whom she estimated to be between ten and 12 years of age,
wearing blue jeans, blue underwear visible above the jeans,
and no shirt, riding an older blue and red BMX-style bicycle.
As he rode away, he looked back over his shoulder two times,
allowing DiHart to see his face. When she got to work at the
University of Maryland, DiHart reported the incident to the
campus security officers in her building.
two-and-a-half hours later, DiHart was contacted by the
police who asked her if she would ride by in a police cruiser
to view a potential suspect at a nearby McDonald's. At
the McDonald's, DiHart first noticed an older blue and
red BMX-style bicycle parked nearby. She then recognized
appellant as the person who had snatched her cell phone
earlier that morning. She noticed that he had changed his
clothes and was now wearing a shirt or jumpsuit, but was,
nonetheless, able to affirmatively identify him to the
police. At the adjudicatory hearing, DiHart again identified
appellant as the individual who had stolen her cell phone.
his arrest, appellant appeared with his attorney at several
hearings before a juvenile court master. On November 6,
2014, appellant was brought to court for an adjudicatory
hearing before the master. He was transported in leg and
wrist restraints by court security officers, and remained so
shackled during the proceedings.
outset, appellant's attorney requested that the master
authorize the removal of appellant's restraints, which
the master declined to order. We shall discuss that matter in
further detail in Part I of this opinion. Counsel also moved
to suppress DiHart's out-of-court identification. After
hearing testimony from DiHart and argument from counsel, the
master denied the suppression motion and ruled that appellant
was involved in the theft of DiHart's cell
phone. The formal adjudication followed.
filed exceptions challenging both the master's denial of
his motion to suppress and her refusal to order removal of
his shackles during the adjudication hearing. The exceptions
were heard, on the record, in the circuit court on January
20, 2015. After hearing the arguments of counsel, the court
determined that the identification procedure used by the
police was not impermissibly suggestive and that DiHart's
out-of-court identification was reliable. The court further
concluded that requiring appellant to remain shackled during
his adjudication hearing was not prejudicial. Accordingly,
the court denied appellant's exceptions, and affirmed the
Shackling During Adjudicatory Hearing
to each of his hearings before the juvenile master, defense
counsel requested that appellant's shackles be removed.
In each instance, the master denied the request without
making any findings of the need for him to remain shackled.
adjudicatory hearing on November 6, 2014, appellant's
attorney again requested that appellant's restraints be
removed during the proceedings. For understanding of the
issue, we include the following exchange:
[Defense Counsel]: I would like the restraints removed before
any witnesses come into the courtroom. This is –
THE COURT: They're not going to be removed. He can have
them in front if the officer says it's okay.
[Defense Counsel]: Your Honor, this is a case that I've
had (indiscernible). Most cases are a witness identifying D
as the person who –
THE COURT: That happens all the time.
[Defense Counsel]: But, Your Honor, having him in shackles is
an indication to the witnesses that this is the young man who
did it. This is a due process issue, Your Honor. It's not
just I want them off because we're having a hearing. We
don't allow – in the adult system we would never
allow a jury –
THE COURT: This is not the adult system, sir.
[Defense Counsel]: Okay. But the implication is the same.
THE COURT: If his hands are handcuffed in front of him then
they could be down in his lap and no one can see.
[Defense Counsel]: You know, Your Honor, when you walk in the
courtroom you'll see the leg shackles. They will see
THE COURT: Oh, I'm not having anybody's leg shackles
[Defense Counsel]: Your Honor –
THE COURT: It's not going to happen, sir.
[Defense Counsel]: Then this is not going to be a fair trial
because you'll be sending the signal –
THE COURT: Okay, [Defense Counsel], let's do this.
We'll just go ahead and then you'll take your
Now, Officer [W.] –
OFFICER [W.]: Yes.
THE COURT: – the young man has a trial. Is he
handcuffed in front or in back right now? Okay. Now, are you
going to be staying with him the whole time?
OFFICER [W.]: If I have to, probably will.
THE COURT: Okay. Are you comfortable putting his handcuffs in
OFFICER [W.]: No. I'm going to leave them on the back. He
has a problem with his fingers so I have him –
THE COURT: Say that again.
OFFICER [W.]: He has a problem with his fingers.
THE COURT: What do you mean with his fingers?
OFFICER [W.]: He –
THE COURT: You mean he gives people the ...