The League of Women Voters' guide to candidates for the general election CAMPAIGN 1994

October 30, 1994

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan organization that works to promote political reponsibility through the informed and active participation of citizens in their governemnt. The League does not support or oppose any political party or candidate.

The candidates' answers appear as submitted in reponse to a nonpartisan questionnaire. If answers exceeded the specified word limitation, the additional words were cut where practical, or at the end of the candidate's statement. All candidates were asked the same questions as other candidates running for the same office.

An asterisk (*) denotes incumbents.

The League assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions. This guide was produced by The Sun in cooperation with the League.

GENERAL ELECTION: Tuesday, Nov. 8

, POLLS OPEN: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

STATEWIDE BALLOT QUESTIONS

Article XIV, Section I of the Maryland Constitution sets forth the procedures for amending the document. The General Assembly may propose amendments through legislative bills that add to, amend, or repeal a provision of the Constitution or an Article of the Declaration of Rights.

Such bills must be passed by three-fifths of all members elected to the Senate and House of Delegates. At the next general election, these bills are submitted to the electorate. If a majority of the votes cast on an amendment are in favor of it, then the Governor issues a proclamation declaring it to have been adopted by the people of Maryland as part of the State's #F constitution. Questions 1, 2 and 3 on the 1994 ballot are the result of such actions of the General Assembly.

QUESTION 1: Victims' Rights

Ballot Title: Establishes that crime victims have a right to be treated with respect and sensitivity throughout the criminal justice process; a right under certain circumstances to be notified of, to attend, and to be heard at, a criminal justice proceeding; and a right to be notified of these rights. No money claim or right to stay proceedings arises from this article.

Present Status: There are no provisions in the Constitution that establish any specific rights for victims of crime. However, there are a number of statutes covering the problems that are encountered by victims of crime when they come into contact with the criminal justice system. There are a variety of statutory -- provisions relating to victim impact statements, restitution, the right to be present at trial, the right to be notified of certain criminal justice proceedings, and other victim's rights issues. Current law sets forth statutory guidelines for treatment of and assistance to crime victims.

Proposed Change: This amendment will add a new Article 47 to the Declaration of Rights of the Maryland Constitution, requiring agents of the State to treat victims of crime with dignity, respect, and sensitivity during all phases of the criminal justice process. It establishes that, in a case originating by indictment or information filed in a Circuit Court, a victim of crime has the right, upon request and if practicable, to be notified of, to attend, and to be heard at a criminal justice proceeding.

The proposed amendment specifies that it does not allow any civil cause of action for monetary damages for violation of any of the provisions of the amendment, nor does it authorize a victim to take any action to stop criminal justice proceedings.

A Vote FOR: Adds a new section 47 to the Declaration of Rights of the Maryland Constitution enumerating victim's rights.

A Vote AGAINST: Continues victim's rights protection as statutory law rather than constitutional authorities.

QUESTION 2: APPEALS' COURT

Ballot Title: Alters the boundaries of the circuits from which members of the Court of Appeals are appointed; provides that the terms of current members shall not be affected and that certain members shall be deemed to be serving from certain circuits; specifies certain eligibility, appointment and continuation in office provisions for certain judges.

Present Status: The Court of Appeals, the State's highest court, has 7 members. Maryland's 23counties are grouped into five appellate circuits; Baltimore City is the sixth circuit and has two judges. This system was established in 1960, when Baltimore City still far exceeded all counties in population. According to the census, however, Montgomery County is now the biggest jurisdiction, with Baltimore City second and Prince George's County third.

Proposed Change: The state will be divided into seven Appellate Circuits. A single judge will be appointed from each circuit. First and Second and Sixth circuits will remain unchanged, Third: Howard and Carroll counties will be taken from the 5th circuit and added. Montgomery will be removed. Fourth: Only Prince George's will remain. Fifth: Anne Arundel will stay and Calvert, Charles and St. Mary's will be added. Seventh: New circuit which will contain only Montgomery.

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