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NEWS
January 2, 2014
Last Friday, I appeared on the Marc Steiner show to discuss marijuana policy.  Also on the panel were state Sens. Jamie Raskin Bobby Zirkin (Democrats from Montgomery and Baltimore counties, respectively). You can listen to a podcast of the show by clicking here . Needless to say, I was the only person in the discussion, including the host, who did not favor the full legalization of marijuana.  As you listen, here are a couple of tidbits that I added to the discussion in addition to my December op-ed in the Baltimore Sun and my piece on this blog discussing the harms of marijuana use.  First, I shared the results of a recent University of Michigan survey which found that 60 percent of high school seniors believe that marijuana use is harmless.
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FEATURES
By Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun | December 13, 2013
A lawsuit challenging the use of pollution "trading" to clean up the Chesapeake Bay was thrown out Friday, removing another legal hurdle to a federally imposed plan to restore the ailing estuary's water quality. Judge Rudolph Contreras in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia granted a motion by the Environmental Protection Agency to dismiss the lawsuit brought against it by two environmental groups. The groups, Food & Water Watch and Friends of the Earth, had sued the EPA in October 2012, contending that a market-based cleanup program that is part of the agency's "pollution diet" for the bay violates the federal Clean Water Act and would undermine - rather than help - efforts to restore the Chesapeake.
NEWS
By Arthur Hirsch, The Baltimore Sun | November 13, 2013
Howard County is asking a federal court to throw out a former Fire Department battalion chief's lawsuit, arguing that the Facebook posts that triggered his dismissal were not constitutionally protected because they were "at best, personal opinion or pique and, at worst, insubordinate. " The response, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court, follows a suit brought last month by Kevin P. Buker. The county argues that posts on Buker's personal Facebook page early this year did not involve "a matter of public concern" - a key element in cases involving the First Amendment rights of public employees.
NEWS
By Arthur Hirsch, The Baltimore Sun | November 1, 2013
A former Howard County fire officer is suing in federal court to get his job back, alleging that the county violated his rights by firing him for personal Facebook discussions about gun control, free speech and "liberal" politics. Former Battalion Chief Kevin P. Buker, who worked for the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services from 1997 until he was let go in March, contends that the county violated his First Amendment rights by prohibiting speech on public issues that did not interfere with his job performance.
NEWS
By Pamela Wood, The Baltimore Sun | October 31, 2013
A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought by a Naval Academy midshipmen who sought the removal of the academy's superintendent in a sexual assault case involving her classmates. U.S. District Judge Ellen Hollander granted the Navy's motion to dismiss the case last week. The female midshipman who brought the lawsuit did not object. The midshipman had argued that the superintendent, Vice Adm. Michael Miller, was biased and shouldn't be allowed to decide whether to prosecute three midshipmen, all former football players, who were accused of sexual assault at an off-campus party in April 2012.
NEWS
October 31, 2013
The case of a Jarrettsville woman, who was a behavioral specialist with Harford County Public Schools and who was accused of bestiality, has been dismissed after the Harford County State's Attorney's Office decided not to prosecute her. Stephanie Mikles, 46, had been charged with "unnatural or perverted practice" from a 2008 investigation in which she was investigated for alleged child pornography and sexual abuse of a minor. On Oct. 21, the Harford County State's Attorney's office declined to prosecute the case, according to online records.
NEWS
By Pamela Wood, The Baltimore Sun | October 18, 2013
The U.S. Navy has asked a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit that seeks removal of the Naval Academy superintendent from a high-profile sexual assault case. The alleged sexual assault victim has agreed not to oppose the motion to dismiss, according to court documents filed Thursday. U.S. District Judge Ellen Hollander has already ruled that she doesn't have jurisdiction over the military's justice system in regard to the lawsuit. She made that ruling earlier this month after the alleged victim sought an injunction to have Superintendent Vice Adm. Michael Miller removed while the suit was pending.
NEWS
September 19, 2013
Disasters don't make big headlines when they are averted, but last week's decision by a U.S. district court judge in Pennsylvania upholding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Chesapeake Bay cleanup plan was a big victory for environmentalists. But more important was what didn't happen: Had the judge ruled otherwise, the future of the nation's largest estuary - and Maryland's most precious natural resource - would have been bleak. The American Farm Bureau had brought suit against the EPA's Chesapeake Bay plan, which sets a total maximum daily load, or TMDL, of pollutants flowing in from the watershed's six states and the District of Columbia.
NEWS
Dan Rodricks | September 7, 2013
Of the many words from the Maryland Court of Special Appeals in the matter of Meredith Cross v. Baltimore City Police Department, I like these best: "Costs to be paid by appellant. " That's double-good news for city taxpayers: We're on the hook for neither the back salary of a police officer who married a convicted murderer nor for the costs of bringing an audacious appeal of her firing to court. What we have here is formal affirmation that a woman has a right to marry anyone she wishes, including a gangster, but not a right to be a Baltimore cop. That was pretty much the court's conclusion Tuesday in the Cross case, echoing Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. from late-19th-century Massachusetts.
NEWS
By Pamela Wood, The Baltimore Sun | August 11, 2013
State lawmakers are considering changing personnel laws for county health officers, following the messy and public firing of Anne Arundel's health officer earlier this year. "We need to move forward," Del. Joseline Pena-Melnyk told attendees of a meeting in Annapolis Wednesday of a group called the Caucus of African-American Leaders. Pena-Melnyk, a Democrat who represents Prince George's and Anne Arundel, said she'll seek to form a work group in the House of Delegates to review how health officers are hired and fired.
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