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By Ian Duncan, The Baltimore Sun | June 29, 2014
A federal appeals court ruling could add to the number of inmates with legal grounds to seek reduced sentences because of a shifting interpretation of sentencing guidelines and what constitutes a violent crime. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals invalidated last week a 31/2-year sentence for Jose Herbert Henriquez, an El Salvadoran who pleaded guilty to illegally re-entering the United States. The lengthy sentence was based in part on a previous burglary conviction. "A Maryland conviction of first-degree burglary cannot constitute a crime of violence," Judge James A. Wynn Jr. wrote for the majority, remanding the case to a lower court for Henriquez to be resentenced.
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NEWS
August 17, 2014
The most popular rifle in America is the AR-15, which looks like M-16 but does not operate like one. Maryland's legislature banned the look in spite of fact that the function never matched ( "Federal judge upholds assault rifle ban," Aug. 12). Science and records say assault rifles are seldom involved in crime. Research and common sense says good guys with guns save lives. While cops are usually good guys, their failure rate is high. Maryland put almost 60 bad cops in jail over the last two years.
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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.
NEWS
By Thomas Maronick Jr | August 6, 2014
A decision last week by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, upholding federal regulations requiring that meat labels state where the animal was born, raised and slaughtered, is a win for consumers, public health and American meat producers. It means that mystery meat from third-world sweat shops will be far less de rigueur for the discerning public, along with the substantial health risks associated with food from questionable sources. As detailed in a number of books - particularly Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle" (1906)
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.
NEWS
Dan Rodricks | April 26, 2014
In the two years since the Maryland Court of Appeals ruled that pit bulls were inherently dangerous dogs, I developed a hobby: Pit Bull Google. It's a very edifying activity. Anyone with access to the Internet can do it. You click on Google News to get the search engine's most recent results. You enter the words "pit bull," and "attack" or "police. " (If you only enter "pit bull" you get the latest concert reviews for the rapper known as Pitbull.) Without fail, the search turns up a news story about a vicious dog attack somewhere in the U.S. within the last four to 48 hours.
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.
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 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 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
By Jenny Black | July 2, 2014
On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a troubling ruling in favor of two corporations that argued that they should not have to provide insurance coverage for their employees' birth control because of the business owners' personal religious beliefs. Effectively, employers now have the power to deny women the new birth-control benefits of the Affordable Care Act - allowing bosses to force their personal beliefs on employees and placing women in a dire position. The Hobby Lobby decision comes just days after another blow to women's health.
NEWS
By Ian Duncan, The Baltimore Sun | June 29, 2014
A federal appeals court ruling could add to the number of inmates with legal grounds to seek reduced sentences because of a shifting interpretation of sentencing guidelines and what constitutes a violent crime. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals invalidated last week a 31/2-year sentence for Jose Herbert Henriquez, an El Salvadoran who pleaded guilty to illegally re-entering the United States. The lengthy sentence was based in part on a previous burglary conviction. "A Maryland conviction of first-degree burglary cannot constitute a crime of violence," Judge James A. Wynn Jr. wrote for the majority, remanding the case to a lower court for Henriquez to be resentenced.
BUSINESS
By Natalie Sherman, The Baltimore Sun | June 26, 2014
A lawsuit that accuses Creig Northrop Team, Long & Foster and several mortgage firms — including Long & Foster's Prosperity Mortgage Co. — of perpetrating mortgage fraud to ease home buying and selling could go before a jury, after the Maryland Court of Special Appeals reversed a lower court decision that found the statute of limitations had expired in the case. Creig Northrop Team sold more homes than any other real estate group in the state last year and was one of the top five in the country, according to a ranking by RealTrend.
NEWS
By Ian Duncan, The Baltimore Sun | June 21, 2014
A little-noticed and highly technical Supreme Court decision is opening the way for dozens of federal inmates from Maryland to seek reduced sentences — even though trial judges found they had violent criminal pasts. For some, the high court decision has already meant that sentences of 15 years and more have been cut substantially. One inmate, for example, saw his sentence reduced from 15 years to about six years; he was released in February. The legal challenges are the latest turn in an ongoing debate over the fairness of long federal prison sentences — a weapon frequently used in Baltimore to combat crime.
NEWS
By Paul Marx | May 15, 2014
Among my fellow liberals this is not a popular view: Brown v. Board, the historic Supreme Court decision of May 1954, has had negative consequences as well as positive. The unanimous decision of the court was intended to ensure that black students would have equal access to public schools and a far better education than they were getting. It was obvious that separate was far from equal. White schools had better teachers, better facilities and better-performing students. If black children were able to sit side by side with white students, it was thought, the black children would learn more.
NEWS
By Nayana Davis, The Baltimore Sun | May 8, 2014
Carroll County commissioners said Thursday they will resume giving each commissioner a turn opening meetings with a prayer of his or her choice - including those that name Jesus Christ - after a ruling this week from the Supreme Court. The court ruled in a 5-4 decision Monday that Christian prayers before government meetings in the town of Greece, N.Y., did not violate the constitutional separation of church and state. The Carroll County commissioners, defendants in a separate lawsuit, had watched that case closely.
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
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
Dan Rodricks | May 6, 2014
Let me present a hypothetical situation that gets to the heart of the Supreme Court's unfortunate decision on prayer at local government meetings. I'll make the setting Carroll County because that's where elected officials eagerly invoke Jesus Christ at meetings of the Board of County Commissioners. Let's say you own a piece of property in some increasingly suburbanized section of the county. You want it rezoned so you can build a convenience store and gas station. You have to convince the commissioners that the area has changed enough to warrant rezoning.
NEWS
May 5, 2014
The Supreme Court's decision to allow explicitly Christian prayer at the start of local government meetings will have the unfortunate effect of alienating those with minority religious beliefs or no religious faith at all. The 5-4 decision turned largely on the long-standing American tradition of prayer before legislative meetings and on the notion that the practice is not inherently coercive. But Justice Elena Kagan is right in her dissent when she argues that the majority's ruling violates the Constitution's promise that "when each person performs the duties or seeks the benefits of citizenship, she does so not as an adherent to one or another religion, but simply as an American.
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