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NEWS
By Ian Duncan and Yvonne Wenger, The Baltimore Sun | July 10, 2013
Thirteen inmates convicted of murder have been released from prison - and dozens more could be freed - after Maryland's highest court ruled that jurors had been given improper instructions in the decades-old cases. The Court of Appeals ruling effectively entitled as many as 200 prisoners convicted before 1980 of crimes including murder, attempted murder and rape to demand new trials. The difficulty of retrying the old cases has prosecutors throughout the state fighting to keep violent offenders behind bars.
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NEWS
By Luke Broadwater, The Baltimore Sun | April 11, 2014
After a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Maryland election officials said Friday that they will no longer enforce a state law that imposes an overall limit of $10,000 on campaign contributions in a four-year election cycle. State officials said they would continue to enforce a Maryland law limiting individuals to contributing no more than $4,000 to a particular candidate during an election cycle. Donors, however, are now free to give $4,000 to as many candidates as desired. Without the limit, moneyed donors are likely to give more - or be asked to give more - and lower-profile races are more likely to get their attention.
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NEWS
By Jessica Anderson, The Baltimore Sun | April 27, 2012
Pit bulls are inherently dangerous animals, the state's highest court has ruled, a decision that could lead to stiff penalties for people found responsible in attacks — even if the dogs have never been violent before. A decision by the Maryland Court of Appeals, issued this week, distinguishes pit bulls and mixed breeds from other kinds of dogs. In the past, a victim intending to file a lawsuit after a dog attack had to prove that a dog's owner knew it had a history of being dangerous.
NEWS
By Robert B. Reich | April 9, 2014
Last week a majority of the Supreme Court decided that the First Amendment protects the right of individuals to pour as much as $3.6 million into a political party or $800,000 into a political campaign. The court said such spending doesn't corrupt democracy. That's utter baloney, as anyone who has the faintest familiarity with contemporary American politics well knows. The McCutcheon v. FEC decision would be less troubling were the distribution of income and wealth in America more equal.
NEWS
By Carrie Wells, The Baltimore Sun | August 7, 2013
A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday in a case involving a Salvadoran woman arrested in Frederick that state and local authorities cannot arrest or detain someone on the suspicion that they are in the country illegally. The case involves the 2008 arrest of Roxana Orellana Santos, who was sitting outside her workplace in Frederick eating a sandwich when two deputies approached and began questioning her. After checking her identification and consulting with dispatchers, the deputies determined that Santos had a civil immigration warrant requiring her immediate deportation, according to court records.
FEATURES
By Kevin Rector, The Baltimore Sun | June 26, 2013
Outside the Supreme Court on Wednesday, Joseph O'Farrell searched the crowd of cheering same-sex marriage proponents for his husband. Before the couple connected, O'Farrell sent Rafael Ramirez a quick text message: "Yay!" For the Laurel couple, the high court decision to strike down the law that barred federal recognition of same-sex marriage means that O'Farrell will finally be able to sponsor his Mexican spouse in his efforts to become a U.S. citizen. "It really is a weight lifted off our shoulders," O'Farrell, 28, said Wednesday evening.
NEWS
By Andrea F. Siegel and Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | July 11, 2013
Authorities are warning that a ruling by Maryland's highest court could take away a powerful weapon in the fight against crime: the state's mandatory five-year, no-parole sentence for gun possession by certain convicted felons. The Court of Appeals ruling in a Baltimore case erased a defendant's mandatory sentence and ordered him resentenced under a more lenient provision of the law. City officials decried the ruling, which comes as Baltimore is grappling with a flareup of gun violence that has left dozens wounded and 23 dead in the past three weeks.
NEWS
By Tricia Bishop, The Baltimore Sun | October 9, 2013
Presidents of the state's historically black colleges and universities said Tuesday that a federal court ruling ordering remedies for persistent segregative policies in Maryland higher education could result in new opportunities and resources for their campuses. "That could mean anything, it could mean Morgan could have a school of public health, it could mean Morgan could have a statewide center of nanotechnology," said Morgan State University President David Wilson, adding that he was still reviewing the opinion to determine its short- and long-term implications.
NEWS
By Tricia Bishop, The Baltimore Sun | April 13, 2012
The Maryland General Assembly passed bills this month that effectively reverse a Court of Appeals ruling that would have required public defenders for indigent defendants at thousands of initial bail hearings held before court commissioners each year. The legislation instead requires lawyers for poor people at reviews of those hearings, which occur less frequently and take place in front of a judge — sometimes days later. That means some of those arrested and denied bail or unable to afford it could spend a weekend or longer in jail awaiting representation.
NEWS
March 9, 2012
Three cheers for U.S. District Judge Benson E. Legg's ruling that Maryland's law denying ordinary citizens the right to carry arms in public is unconstitutional ("Md. gun-carry law overturned," March 6). The right to self-defense is the preeminent civil right. If a person is barred by the state from protecting his person when outside his home, all his other rights are potentially meaningless: They are of no benefit to a person who is raped or murdered because she or he was denied the means of self-defense.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | April 3, 2014
After two years of wrangling, the General Assembly gave its final approval Thursday to legislation that overrules a state high court ruling that pit bulls are inherently dangerous and must be held to a stricter liability standard for bites than other breeds. By an overwhelming margin, the House sent a Senate-passed bill to Gov. Martin O'Malley that eliminates the distinction between breeds created by the Court of Appeals in 2012 in the case of a child who was nearly killed by a pit bull.
NEWS
By Erin Cox and The Baltimore Sun | April 2, 2014
Maryland's heated primary race for governor could get another twist if Wednesday's Supreme Court decision also strikes down the state's cap on how much residents can donate to state political campaigns. Minutes after the Supreme Court struck down aggregate contribution limits in federal races, Jared DeMarinis' phone at the Maryland Board of Elections began ringing off the hook. “Everyone wants to know: What does this mean?” said DeMarinis, director of campaign finance and candidacy.
NEWS
March 24, 2014
The owners of the arts and crafts chain Hobby Lobby have a right to their religious beliefs. So do their 28,000 employees. And the citizens of the United States also have a right to a government that protects their health and welfare. Yet these interests don't necessarily align, and it's now up to the U.S. Supreme Court to sort out which rights take precedence. The justices are scheduled to hear arguments in two cases Tuesday (one involving Hobby Lobby, the other a Pennsylvania-based kitchen cabinet maker)
NEWS
By Carrie Wells, The Baltimore Sun | March 19, 2014
After a federal judge found that Maryland's historically black colleges face unfair and unconstitutional competition from the state's predominantly white universities, the parties headed into negotiations this month to work it out. But even with the far-reaching court decision, some worried the rights of black institutions wouldn't be protected and tried to put the judge's ruling on the books as state law. "I'm normally not a Doubting Thomas,"...
NEWS
Tim Wheeler | March 12, 2014
With a little over three weeks left in the General Assembly session this year, legislative leaders are scrambling to come up with a response to a potentially costly Court of Appeals ruling requiring legal representation for all criminal defendants during bail hearings. Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller said Wednesday that he and House Speaker Michael E. Busch had agreed to work together to try to avoid a legislative impasse on the issue. The state now provides attorneys only at hearings before judges.
NEWS
By Justin George, The Baltimore Sun | March 11, 2014
The Court of Appeals has extended the deadline by which the state must make sure criminal defendants have lawyers by their side during bail hearings before District Court commissioners. Currently, the state provides attorneys only at hearings before judges. But the Court of Appeals ruled in September that they must be provided earlier in the process, at the initial hearings before the commissioners. State officials say that would cost $30 million a year — money they say they don't have.
NEWS
March 27, 2012
The tragic slaying of Trayvon Martin in Florida has shown the folly of that state's "stand your ground" self defense law - and similar laws enacted or proposed in a number of other states - which your editorial writer correctly characterizes as providing a "license to kill. " However, The Sun neglects to point out that Maryland will move inevitably in the same direction if the recent federal court ruling voiding our sensible handgun permit law is upheld on appeal. Unquestionably, George Zimmerman could not have been granted a permit by the Maryland State Police and would not be permitted legally to carry a weapon on our streets.
NEWS
By William Thompson and William Thompson,Staff Writer | January 26, 1994
Worcester County's commissioners decided yesterday to appeal a federal court ruling striking down the county's at-large voting system on racial grounds.No black person has ever been elected to the Eastern Shore county's five-member Board of County Commissioners. Civil rights lawyers hoped that record would change with U.S. District Judge Joseph H. Young's ruling Jan. 7 that the county's at-large election system violated the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in diluting the strength of minority voters.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | March 7, 2014
A House committee voted to approve a bill that would upend a court ruling that pit bulls are inherently more dangerous than other dogs, indicating that a long impasse with the Senate has been broken. By a lopsided vote, the Judiciary Committee agreed to the amendments added to the bill in the Senate and sent the measure to the House floor. The bill would end the different treatment of pit bulls but make it easier for victims of bites by other breeds of dog to collect damages than under current law. The measure is a compromise between the Senate, which wanted to adopt a strict liability standard, and the House, which wanted to give dog owners more of a chance to mount a defense.
NEWS
Tim Wheeler | March 3, 2014
Lawmakers in Annapolis moved Monday night to take another look at Maryland's arcane ground-rent system only days after the state's highest court invalidated a key element of sweeping reforms enacted seven years ago. Emergency ground-rent bills were introduced in both House and Senate to, as one sponsor put it, "resurrect" some of the provisions of the law declared unconstitutional Wednesday by the Court of Appeals.  Since Colonial times, many...
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