A 19-year-old man was arrested Wednesday after court officials said he took a cell phone photo of an undercover police officer testifying during a Howard County Grand Jury proceeding.
Julian Warren Hudson, of Ellicott City, was charged with violating grand jury secrecy law and reckless endangerment for snapping the photo and sending a copy to his girlfriend, according to Wayne Kirwan, spokesperson for the Howard County state's attorney's office.
"The secrecy of grand jury proceedings is a cornerstone of the American judicial system," said Howard County State's Attorney Dario J. Broccolino, who, in a statement, called the arrest "unprecedented."
"Additionally the identification of an experienced undercover officer has been exposed and his future effectiveness is severely compromised," Broccolino said.
All grand jury proceedings are required to be kept secret under Maryland law in order to protect key witnesses and allow jurors to speak freely on evidence before they make decisions, according to Kirwan.
The proceedings took place in the grand jury meeting room, which is located within the state's attorney's offices in Ellicott City.
If convicted, Hudson faces up to five years in prison and/ or a $1,000 fine for the secrecy violation, officials said.
The Howard County grand jury meets every other week to examine arrests and issue indictments.