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By Joan Jacobson | February 3, 1992
Baltimore's juvenile court system is so inept that arrest warrants go unserved, violence breaks out in courtrooms and teen-agers leave the courthouse without a hearing because no one can figure out why they came.Furthermore, a city bar association committee concludes in a new report that "much of the dramatic street crimes, killings and drug trafficking in Baltimore City are a direct result of the failures of the juvenile justice system and the low priority placed upon it by our state and local officials and citizens."
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NEWS
By Catherine Rentz, The Baltimore Sun | September 2, 2014
Marc B. Noren, a family law attorney and former manager for the Civil Division of the Clerk's Office of the Baltimore City Circuit Court, died of respiratory failure on Aug. 25, at his home in Pikesville. He was 59 and had suffered for several years from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. Mr. Noren was a fixture in the Baltimore City court system and family law circles, having begun his career at the age of 19 at the Baltimore City clerk's office. By age 22, he was a leader in one of the civil courts.
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NEWS
November 1, 2000
IN THE LAST half-century, no one matched the contributions of Robert C. Murphy to Maryland's system of dispensing justice. Judge Murphy, who died Monday at 74, was the father of Maryland's modern judiciary. Key to his success was a love of people. He always returned phone calls, even to irate citizens. The Baltimore native proved popular with politicians, in part because he relished the give-and-take of the legislative process and buttonholing lawmakers. But his real strength came from his direct, honest approach and his likability.
NEWS
By John Fritze, The Baltimore Sun | July 19, 2014
Before they get a decision in their immigration cases - before they even have a hearing - the tens of thousands of children entering the country illegally will face an increasingly daunting challenge at the heart of a massive backlog in U.S. immigration court: The young immigrants must first find an attorney. Legal groups and immigration experts say the number of lawyers available to represent undocumented children in Maryland and elsewhere is already woefully inadequate to meet the demand - even though many of the most recent border crossers haven't yet begun to enter the court system.
NEWS
By Caitlin Francke and Caitlin Francke,SUN STAFF | November 6, 1999
In a sign of continued political pressure on the city courts, state lawmakers have decided to hand over only half of the $17.8 million promised to Baltimore's beleaguered justice system if reforms were made.The leaders of the Senate and House budget committees are sending a letter to Maryland's Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals Robert M. Bell explaining that $8.9 million will be freed up for the justice agencies. The rest will be withheld until a status report on the reform plans is presented to legislators in January.
NEWS
By Martina E. Vandenberg and Nicholas O. Stephanopoulos | November 15, 2009
W ill a recent lawsuit result in Congress' biggest upheaval in almost 100 years? Probably not, but that's the hope of the parties who brought the case. They think that the House of Representatives is unconstitutional in its current form and that the only solution is to drastically increase its size. This effort, while quixotic, is not thoroughly misguided. The House should, in fact be larger - but a lawsuit is the wrong way to reach that goal. The plaintiffs, citizens of Delaware, Mississippi, Montana, South Dakota, and Utah, argue that the House's 435 seats are not fairly distributed among the states.
NEWS
By Lisa Goldberg and Lisa Goldberg,SUN STAFF | March 8, 2002
The scenario was fairly typical: A young woman, her car missing, approaches a District Court commissioner to file criminal charges. As a video crew recorded every movement on a recent morning, the actors, both court employees, followed the process from the application to the information to the swearing to the truth. Similar scenes would play out in various offices in Prince George's County's Upper Marlboro court building throughout the day as videographers moved from commissioner to cashier to clerk to courtroom, filming scenes that will later be condensed into a five-minute explanatory video.
NEWS
By Robert Little and Robert Little,SUN REPORTER | June 24, 2007
Hundreds of tugboat captains, charter fishermen and other professional mariners face charges of negligence or misconduct every year under the U.S. Coast Guard's administrative court system, a forum established to be fair and impartial, like any other court. The stakes are high for mariners. Even a temporary suspension can often end a career. But a Sun investigation - based on evidence in federal court records, computer data files, internal memos and the sworn testimony of a former agency judge - suggests that the system isn't merely tough on mariners but is stacked against them.
TOPIC
By MIKE ADAMS | March 19, 2000
HIS credentials are impressive. First, he went from Harvard Law School to Piper & Marbury. Then he worked his way up through the judicial ranks from District Court to Baltimore Circuit Court to the Court of Special Appeals. Then, in 1996, he became the state's top judicial officer when he was named Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals of Maryland after sitting on the state's highest court for about five years. Meet Robert M. Bell, a civil rights pioneer who in 1960, when he was just 16 years old, struck a blow at segregation by walking into a Baltimore restaurant and asking to be served.
NEWS
July 6, 2011
No justice was served for little Caylee Anthony ("Casey Anthony not guilty," July 6). First of all the judge should have realized he's had a jury in hold for 33 days. It was a holiday weekend, the court system could've arranged for them to go somewhere for a family outing with some kind of security for them so facts would not be talked about. Had the court system done that, maybe this jury, tired of being kept in seclusion all that time, might have come back, looked over all the facts more clearly and come back with a different conclusion.
NEWS
By Ian Duncan, The Baltimore Sun | July 1, 2014
In the aftermath of an eight-year court battle, a major change in the way Maryland's justice system operates finally boiled down Tuesday to one simple question. "Would you like to have a court-appointed attorney?" court Commissioner Jennifer Colton asked a heavily tattooed man sitting in her Towson office. Colton is a foot soldier in Maryland's sprawling judicial system, tasked with deciding whether arrested people should be released, required to post bail or held until they see a judge.
NEWS
March 28, 2014
If you're going to form an opinion on a subject such as public defenders and bail reform, you should have knowledge of that subject and a clear understanding of all of the facts. Obviously, The Sun's editorial supporting Senate Bill 973 ( "Getting out of jail free," March 27) demonstrates you are not well informed. You are partially right in saying, "The bill would prevent court commissioners from making decisions... negating the need for public defenders…. " If you read the actual bill or listen to the testimony given in both the House and Senate committee hearings, you would realize 70 percent of the commissioners would be terminated.
NEWS
By Ian Duncan, The Baltimore Sun | March 28, 2014
Concerned by missteps that have left some Baltimore arrestees waiting in jail for weeks before seeing a judge, the public defender's office is pushing a plan to reduce the role prosecutors play in bringing suspects to court. Dozens of defendants have faced lengthy delays in high-profile cases initiated by the office of Baltimore City State's Attorney Gregg L. Bernstein, and lawmakers are calling for reforms as officials debate how to improve the process without weakening prosecutors' ability to crack down on violent gangs.
NEWS
By Ian Duncan, The Baltimore Sun | March 15, 2014
Shykill Brewer was arrested on a misdemeanor gun charge days before Christmas. He should have been able to post bail in plenty of time to celebrate with his infant son and the rest of his family, but instead spent six weeks in jail. Under court rules, defendants should have a chance to post bail or ask a judge for release within 24 hours, or as soon as courts are open. It took 43 days for Brewer. A judge finally set his bail at $100,000, and Brewer's family soon secured his release.
NEWS
By Ian Duncan, The Baltimore Sun | September 28, 2013
The Maryland judiciary has formed a special task force to examine the implications of a Court of Appeals ruling that people charged with crimes should have access to public defenders at all bail hearings. The panel will be led by Baltimore District Judge John R. Hargrove, Jr., the judiciary said Friday. The state's justice system is reckoning with several aspects of the decision, including the potential that Maryland's busy public defenders will have to attend as many as 180,000 additional proceedings each year.
NEWS
By Ian Duncan, The Baltimore Sun | August 6, 2013
For years Ellicott City traffic ticket attorney David H. Weinstein happily relied on a clever system to drum up business. When he had a client heading to court, he'd use a public terminal to pull up the names of every other defendant who would be in court at the same time and mail them postcards offering his services. But a rule change designed to guard against the use of court records for identity theft has led officials to shut off access to the terminals. Officials are directing Weinstein and other members of the public to the case search website, where personal information is more tightly controlled.
NEWS
By Allison Klein and Allison Klein,SUN STAFF | October 24, 2003
City and state officials announced today a $1.1 million federal grant that will help nonviolent offenders in the Baltimore Circuit Court system have timely access to drug treatment. The program will put addicts into treatment within 35 days of arrest, rather than keep them in jail or put them back on the street to wait for a court date. The addicts must accept a plea agreement and want help for their substance abuse. "We have means to help you and means to put you away," said state Sen. Nathaniel J. McFadden, one of several officials who made the announcement.
NEWS
By Lisa Goldberg and Lisa Goldberg,SUN STAFF | March 8, 2002
The scenario was fairly typical: A young woman, her car missing, approaches a District Court commissioner to file criminal charges. As a video crew recorded every movement on a recent morning, the actors, both court employees, followed the process from the application to the information to the swearing to the truth. Similar scenes would play out in various offices in Prince George's County's Upper Marlboro court building throughout the day as videographers moved from commissioner to cashier to clerk to courtroom, filming scenes that will be condensed into a five-minute explanatory video.
NEWS
By Andrea F. Siegel and Erin Cox, The Baltimore Sun | July 3, 2013
The disagreement between Mary Ellen Barbera and Glenn T. Harrell Jr. made it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, but that didn't stop them from meeting for lunch in Washington after oral arguments in the case. Barbera and Harrell, both judges on Maryland's highest court, were on opposite sides of a hard-fought case over the collection of DNA from suspects arrested for violent crimes. Harrell wrote the majority opinion striking down the practice; Barbera criticized his reasoning in a dissent.
NEWS
June 28, 2013
The commentary by James R. Maxeiner ("The fixable flaws of U.S. civil justice," June 24), insofar as it applies to Maryland, displays a lamentable lack of familiarity with the operation of our court system. The contention that a lawsuit where the damages are $100,000 is "too small" to be handled by the courts is simply inaccurate. And to contend that the fees for such a recovery would consume 75 percent of such amount is at odds with prevailing standards. The proposal that parties meet with judges at the outset of litigation is unrealistic for many reasons, not the least of which the time devoted to such an effort by busy judges would be greatly disproportionate to any perceived benefit.
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