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Court Report

Anonymous internet postings and trouble

gavel2There are many websites these days that allow consumers or others to post comments or reviews about such things as restaurants, hotels, or other businesses. Even when such postings are anonymous, however, statements that may allegedly be false and defamatory may lead to efforts to find out who posted the comments so they can be sued.

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Prepare to get spammed

gavel2All of us have been frustrated by the receipt of unsolicited email of “SPAM”. Maryland in 2002 enacted the Maryland Commercial Electronic Mail Act (MCEMA) to prohibit the sending of “unauthorized, false or misleading information.”  The limits of how this law can be used to try to prevent unwanted SPAM are illustrated by a case last month from Maryland’s intermediate appellate court called Jeffrey Walton v. Network Solutions.

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Making a false bomb threat is still illegal

gavel2In this age of potential terrorism, all of us take very seriously a statement or threat made by anyone regarding any type of explosive device. Maryland has a specific statute criminalizing that behavior, as illustrated by a recent opinion from Maryland’s intermediate appellate Court called Gary Ross Latray v. State.

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The homeless and sex offenders

gavel2Maryland’s intermediate appellate court last month again addressed Maryland’s sex offender registry.  The law in Maryland since 1995 has provided that persons convicted of certain sex offenses must register with law enforcement as a sex offender. The case of Reynaldo Rodriguez v. State addresses the law as it applies to homeless persons.

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Flaws in comparative bullet analysis

gavel2A technique formerly used by the FBI called Comparative Bullet Lead Analysis (CBLA) was used as a forensic technique for many years to try to connect bullets found in a victim to other linked to a criminal defendant. CBLA analysis has been debunked and has led to reversals of many convictions,  and recently led to a writ of actual innocence being issued by Maryland’s intermediate appellate court in the case of Gary Ward v. State.

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The problems with intent

gavel2To convict a defendant under Maryland law of first degree murder, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant in a premeditated way intended to and did kill the victim. Maryland’s interim appellate Court this week explored the circumstances under which a conviction for first degree murder may stand for killing an unintended victim, in a case called Bircher v. State.

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