The Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court is considering an appeal in a case involving a teen boy who was detained at Long Creek Youth Development Center for seven months after being found incompetent to stand trial. Though the teen is now in residential treatment, his attorney argues that his case sets a bad precedent.

[Teen sues over detention at Long Creek, challenging Maine’s imprisonment of youths]

The teen, known as AI, was held at Long Creek Youth Development Center starting in December and was not released until August. His attorney, Sarah Branch, petitioned the state Supreme Judicial Court last spring for his release, arguing that the detention facility was not an appropriate setting to receive services to regain competency. That petition was denied, and the teen, who is now 14, is at a residential treatment center and the charges against him have been dismissed.

In court on Monday, Branch argued other children could face a similar fate.

“This is an extraordinary case. Sadly, however, this case is not unique. Every time the state seeks to detain an incompetent child at Long Creek, these issues will be present,” she said.

Attorneys representing the state argue that the case is now moot and that teen received adequate services until he could be placed in a more therapeutic setting.

This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.