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NEWS
January 19, 2014
Judge Alfred Nance's recent order requiring the assistance of legal counsel to defendants at pre-trial hearings hopefully will serve as a wake-up call for Maryland's criminal justice system ( "Court order could push state to send lawyers to bail hearings," Jan. 15). Plaintiffs' attorney Michael Schatzhow called it correctly when he asserts that the courts, local and state funding entities and the entire legal community need to look ahead at what's around the corner. The issue of re-expanding rights to representation has been bubbling up for the past year or two in Maryland.
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NEWS
By Scott Dance and The Baltimore Sun | September 17, 2014
A law professor who is teaching Maryland's public defenders to better serve their poor clients amid "crushing" caseloads is among the winners of this year's MacArthur Foundation "genius" grants. As founder of the Atlanta-based organization Gideon's Promise, Jonathan Rapping works to train public defenders and help reform what he considers civil rights abuses in the criminal justice system. He arrived in Baltimore in May for a year-long stint at the Maryland Office of the Public Defender, his first attempt at changing a statewide system.
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NEWS
By Peter Hermann, The Baltimore Sun | January 2, 2012
As the number of killings in Baltimore dipped last year to its lowest level in decades, one trend remained constant: Those accused of killing and their victims had been in and out of the criminal justice system. More than 90 percent of the 71 people arrested on murder charges and 80 percent of the 196 people who were slain last year had criminal records, according to Baltimore police statistics released Monday. More than half the suspects had previous gun arrests, and four in 10 were on parole or probation.
NEWS
July 30, 2014
Here's what bothers me about the Ray Rice punishment: Don't we already have a criminal-justice system? I agree entirely with Mike Preston (" NFL misses its chance to send a message, July 25) that "Men shouldn't be allowed to physically abuse women and then get a slap on the wrist. Ever. " Amen, brother. But let's suppose that Mike Preston (or I, when I was working for the Baltimore Sun) committed an act of domestic violence. Once the courts have acted - arguably, in Mr. Rice's case too leniently - may an employer take a second whack at us?
NEWS
May 7, 2012
I applaud Sen. Ben Cardin's efforts to end racial profiling: Nothing is more divisive than to bring an "us against them" mentality into law enforcement ("Candidates make final push before Tuesday," April 2). What could be more demoralizing and dehumanizing than being judged by the color of your skin or the clothes you wear? Racial profiling, by definition, is incompatible with the guarantee of equal protection under the law contained in the 14th Amendment of the Constitution. Yet, many of the same people who claim to be strict constructionists with regard to the Constitution are in favor of denigrating one of its most basic tenets.
NEWS
By LOS ANGELES TIMES | October 13, 1995
WASHINGTON -- Attorney General Janet Reno said yesterday that in the aftermath of the O. J. Simpson verdict she will recommit herself to make the criminal justice system "as fair as I can and make it appear to be fair."While saying that "one jury verdict should not reflect on a whole system," Ms. Reno remarked on the debate raging across the nation about the fairness of the verdict and the factors underlying it.Her comments are the closest the nation's chief law enforcement officer has come to directly commenting on the Simpson trial, which captured the attention of the nation, but, she insisted repeatedly in recent weeks, not hers.
NEWS
October 22, 1999
It is far too early to celebrate a turnaround in Baltimore City's troubled criminal-justice system.Substantial progress has been made toward eliminating the most pressing emergencies. But while the Circuit Court and the Central Booking and Intake Center are no longer in crisis, the system as a whole still does not function smoothly or effectively. Far too often, a sense of urgency and shared mission are lacking.Stephen E. Harris, who heads the state public defender's office, underscored this reality in a recent complaint to Keith E. Mathews, administrative judge of the city District Court.
NEWS
June 18, 2012
It is well documented that African-American and Hispanic men are arrested, convicted and jailed at far higher rates than whites, and that once they enter the prison system they usually serve longer terms as well. That's why the NAACP and the Maryland ACLU among others were right to ask the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights last week to take another look at the systematic racial disparities in the state's criminal justice system. According to the Maryland Division of Corrections, 72 percent of the inmates in Maryland prisons are black, even though blacks make up only 29.4 percent of the population.
NEWS
BY A SUN STAFF WRITER | March 8, 2003
A team of three Sun journalists has won a National Journalism Award for public service reporting in 2002. Jim Haner, John B. O'Donnell and Kimberly A.C. Wilson won first place for "Justice Undone," a three-part investigative series published in the fall that revealed serious flaws in Baltimore's criminal justice system. Another staff member, Ann LoLordo, was a finalist for editorial writing in the contest, sponsored by the Scripps Howard Foundation. After examining 1,449 homicides that occurred between 1997 and 2001, the reporters discovered that only 32 percent ended in murder convictions.
NEWS
September 7, 2001
AT LEAST three lawyers intend to challenge State's Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy's re-election bid next year. And it won't likely stop there. In the coming months, a number of other opponents are likely to appear. This is good for Baltimore City's troubled criminal justice system. Part of the reason the prosecutor's office has developed so many problems is that incumbents have not faced serious challenges in the past two decades. Worse yet, two of the most recent state's attorneys rose to their posts without initial scrutiny by voters.
NEWS
May 4, 2014
As job training practitioners and advocates for effective policies and practices for people returning from prison, we are pleased with the Baltimore City Council's decision to "Ban the Box. " ( "Council passes 'Ban the Box' legislation," April 28). The legislation expands current law by requiring private businesses with 10 or more employees to eliminate questions about previous arrests or convictions from initial job applications. The Greater Baltimore Grassroots Criminal Justice Network applauds Councilman Nick Mosby's leadership and the accompanying support of the City Council.
NEWS
January 19, 2014
Judge Alfred Nance's recent order requiring the assistance of legal counsel to defendants at pre-trial hearings hopefully will serve as a wake-up call for Maryland's criminal justice system ( "Court order could push state to send lawyers to bail hearings," Jan. 15). Plaintiffs' attorney Michael Schatzhow called it correctly when he asserts that the courts, local and state funding entities and the entire legal community need to look ahead at what's around the corner. The issue of re-expanding rights to representation has been bubbling up for the past year or two in Maryland.
NEWS
Dan Rodricks | December 16, 2013
A careful reader pointed out a flaw in my column of Thursday. I noted that, before leaving for his nine-day trip to Brazil, Gov. Martin O'Malley had said problems with Maryland's mind-numbingly bad health insurance exchange would be fixed by mid-December. I said mid-December was Dec. 15 at noon. In fact, the halfway point of the month was Dec. 16 at noon. My math was off by a full 24 hours, so I may have been a little unfair to the governor. Turns out, it didn't matter. O'Malley announced on Saturday, Dec. 14, two days ahead of his deadline, that the state's online exchange was "now functional for most citizens.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | November 15, 2013
Low-risk criminal defendants would no longer have to raise money for bail before trial under a sweeping overhaul of Maryland's centuries-old pretrial release system being considered by a panel set up by the General Assembly. In recommendations released this week, task force members said the state should scrap the system under which poor defendants often remain in jail while more affluent suspects can post bond and get out. The members urged that Maryland replace the system, which is derived from English common law, with one that detains defendants only if they are found to be a flight risk or danger to the community.
NEWS
By Matt Kaiser | August 25, 2013
Attorney General Eric Holder announced recently that the United States' practice of locking up so many of its citizens has to stop. News outlets almost uniformly reported that Mr. Holder was drastically limiting the application of mandatory minimum sentences. But when you look at the details of what Mr. Holder's plan is, it's not going to do much of anything to change the alarming rate at which we throw people in federal prison. As the attorney general said, we have 5 percent of the world's population but 25 percent of the world's prisoners.
NEWS