My first B1 story for The Washington Post. It continues onto B4 with a tease on A1.

In special Md. court, a teen takeover
The Washington Post
Apr 7 2014

The 16-year-old said he didn’t think before stealing a shirt, pants, hat and jewelry box from a local Kohl’s. He had fallen in with new friends after moving from Virginia to Maryland, and he followed their lead. He put on the clothes and started to walk out of the store.

The youth didn’t know police were on to him until right before officers handcuffed him. He was charged with theft under $1,000.

“I wasn’t in the right state of mind,” he said. “It was a dumb thing to do.”

But in Charles County, Md., the teen and other young first-time offenders get a second chance. Their records are wiped clean, and potential fines and driver’s license points can be forgiven. Instead, a jury of teen peers picks a different kind of punishment: community service, letters of apology, even having offenders plan their own more…