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Court Report

Suing for witholding evidence

gavel2There have been a number of cases since the advent of DNA testing  where, often times many years later, a person who has been wrongfully convicted has had his conviction overturned when evidence is later tested. Whether the wrongfully convicted person can obtain damages from the government officials who participated in the prosecution was explored by a three judge panel of the federal Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in an opinion last month in the case of James Owens v. Baltimore City State’s Attorneys’ office.

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Statements regarding child abuse

gavel2Proving child sexual abuse cases are a particular challenge for the prosecution, primarily because the State has to often rely on the testimony of alleged child victims who may be testifying to events that occurred many years earlier.  How the State may go about bolstering the testimony of the victim is illustrated in a recent case from Maryland’s intermediate appellate court called Robert Mitchell Acker v. State.

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Musings on a local drug kingpin

gavel2Maryland’s Criminal Law Article includes among the laws criminalizing possession and sale of illegal drugs a “drug kingpin” statute.  The  law defines a “drug kingpin” as an “organizer, supervisor, financier or manager who acts as a co-conspirator in a conspiracy to manufacture, distribute, dispense, transport in, or bring into the State a Controlled Dangerous Substance.” 

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Don't try to cut a deal with police

gavel2It is not unusual when watching police dramas to see a suspect in the interview room talking about cutting a plea deal. In the real world, plea negotiations can only happen when a defendant is communicating with the prosecutor, which in Maryland would typically be an Assistant State’s Attorney. This was made clear by a recent opinion from Maryland’s Court of Special Appeals called Ottus Savoy v. State.

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Out of state tickets still count

gavel2Many people who hold a Maryland driver’s license may think that if they get a speeding ticket while driving in another state, they can just pay the fine and not worry about the violation affecting their Maryland driver’s license. Just how wrong that is was discussed by Maryland’s highest Court in an opinion this week in a case called Motor Vehicle Administration v. Salop.

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