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By Jamie Smith Hopkins, The Baltimore Sun | July 18, 2012
A federal judge approved Wednesday a potentially multi-million-dollar bonus package for 10 RG Steel executives after the Baltimore County steelmaker modified the proposal in response to objections. The amount seems unchanged from the original proposal, which the U.S. Trustee Program calculated could be up to $20.3 million. But RG Steel altered the proposal to make some of the payments contingent on sales of its facilities to buyers who intend to operate them. Both creditors and the U.S. Trustee Program, which oversees bankruptcy cases, objected to the company's original plan.
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NEWS
By Ian Duncan, The Baltimore Sun | August 12, 2014
A federal judge on Tuesday upheld Maryland's new ban on assault rifles and magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds, handing at least a temporary victory to state officials who say the measures could ward off mass shootings. A collection of gun owners, stores and industry groups had sued the state, saying the bans violated their Second Amendment right to bear arms. Judge Catherine C. Blake disagreed, writing flatly: "I find the law constitutional. " Blake's decision adds to a growing list of legal victories for states that have tightened their gun laws in recent years, even after the Supreme Court decided in 2008 that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms.
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NEWS
By Andrea F. Siegel, The Baltimore Sun | September 22, 2010
U.S. District Judge Alexander Williams Jr. is scheduled to speak Sunday morning at Asbury United Methodist Church in Annapolis. Judge Williams, who presides over cases in the federal court in Greenbelt, has been on the federal bench since 1994. "There is a need for our youth to see role models like Judge Williams," said Carl O. Snowden, director of the Office for Civil Rights for the Office of the Maryland Attorney General. Snowden said Williams will speak as part of the service, which is open to the public, at 11 a.m. Among his degrees, Williams received his undergraduate and law degrees from Howard University, as well a master's degree from the School of Divinity there.
NEWS
By Chris Kaltenbach, The Baltimore Sun | July 1, 2014
James Rogers Miller Jr., a former state delegate from Montgomery County who spent 15 years as a federal district judge in Baltimore, died of congestive heart failure June 25 at HeartFields Assisted Living at Easton. He was 83. "Judge Miller was an outstanding and brilliant jurist," said U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander, who clerked for Judge Miller in the 1970s. "He tirelessly and skillfully pursued the just resolution of every case. He had an unwavering commitment to the rule of law and an uncompromising integrity.
NEWS
By Peter Hermann | March 6, 2012
Opponents of Maryland's strict gun laws have long complained that obtaining a permit to carry a handgun has been nearly impossible. Among the many rules, the state requires that applicants show a "good and substantial reason" to carry around a handgun. A federal judge has agreed with the opponents. U.S. District Judge Benson E. Legg called the "good and substantial reason" clause unconstitutionally broad -- an arbitrary regulation designed to minimize the number of guns on the street, but one that doesn't necessarily keep everyone safe.
NEWS
By Steve Kilar, The Baltimore Sun | July 14, 2012
A federal judge on Friday stopped Baltimore's housing agency from terminating an agreement with a private developer that wants to revitalize 14 acres of West Baltimore. U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett issued a preliminary injunction that prevents Baltimore Housing from ending its relationship with La Cite Development LLC, a New York-based developer that contracted with the city in 2006 to build residences and commercial space in run-down blocks of the Poppleton neighborhood.
NEWS
By Ian Duncan, The Baltimore Sun | October 19, 2012
A lawsuit alleging that Maryland's historically black colleges and universities continue to suffer from policies that promote racial segregation is now in the hands of a federal judge, six years after it was first filed. U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake interrupted attorneys for both sides during the four hours of closing arguments Friday with questions and comments that gave hints at the issues she will weigh as she sorts through the six weeks of testimony and hundreds of pages of documents.
NEWS
By Ian Duncan, The Baltimore Sun | October 25, 2013
A federal judge said Friday he would consider lighter-than-normal sentences for members of a major suburban marijuana smuggling organization - the latest fallout of the drug's legalization in several U.S. states. U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar noted that federal authorities announced this summer they would not pursue criminal cases against dispensaries and others legally handling marijuana in states where the drug has been legalized. Bredar, who called the hearing to discuss the issue, said it might be more appropriate to compare the defendants in the Maryland marijuana case to smugglers of improperly taxed cigarettes rather than treat them as hardened drug traffickers.
NEWS
By Steve Kilar, The Baltimore Sun | September 6, 2011
A Maryland federal judge ruled Tuesday that some Baltimore public employees' pensions were harmed by the city's elimination last year of payments tied to market returns. U.S. District Court Judge Marvin J. Garbis decided that police and firefighters who were either receiving benefits or eligible to retire were "substantially impaired" by the city's decision to eliminate a gain-sharing mechanism for retirees. Garbis also allowed the plaintiffs who are already receiving pension benefits to proceed as a class.
NEWS
By Chris Kaltenbach, The Baltimore Sun | July 1, 2014
James Rogers Miller Jr., a former state delegate from Montgomery County who spent 15 years as a federal district judge in Baltimore, died of congestive heart failure June 25 at HeartFields Assisted Living at Easton. He was 83. "Judge Miller was an outstanding and brilliant jurist," said U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander, who clerked for Judge Miller in the 1970s. "He tirelessly and skillfully pursued the just resolution of every case. He had an unwavering commitment to the rule of law and an uncompromising integrity.
BUSINESS
By Jamie Smith Hopkins, The Baltimore Sun | June 3, 2014
A U.S. Court of Appeals panel has upheld a decision that Maryland strayed into federal-only territory when it tried to jump start construction of a power plant with subsidies. The Maryland Public Service Commission, concerned about reliability problems if more power plants aren't built, struck a deal for ratepayers to subsidize a natural gas-fired facility in Waldorf any time the wholesale price for its electricity fell below a certain level. The plant was slated to open next year.
NEWS
By Matthew Hay Brown, The Baltimore Sun | May 25, 2014
- Fred Edwords remembers the first time he saw the giant cross rising over this small town in Prince George's County. The Peace Cross, as it's known locally, commemorates the county's World War I dead. A plaque at the base of the 40-foot structure lists 39 names, and includes a quote from President Woodrow Wilson. There's no figure of Jesus, or religious imagery or text of any kind. But to Edwords, who lives in nearby Greenbelt, it looked unmistakably like the Christian crosses of his Protestant youth, standing on a government-owned median strip at the intersection of Maryland Route 450 and Alternate U.S. 1. "I thought, 'Well, that's odd. What's that doing there?
NEWS
By Ian Duncan, The Baltimore Sun | May 15, 2014
Carroll County Commissioner Robin B. Frazier will not face punishment for contempt of court after she uttered a prayer to Jesus at a recent meeting, a federal judge ruled Thursday. In March, U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles Jr. issued a temporary ban on any prayers that mentioned Jesus or any other specifically Christian figures. After Frazier's prayer and another offered by a resident during a public comment period, the plaintiffs in the case - people who say the invocations alienate them - filed contempt charges.
NEWS
By Ian Duncan, The Baltimore Sun | May 15, 2014
With the swearing-in last week of U.S. District Judge George J. Hazel, more than half the federal district judges sitting in Maryland now are appointees of President Barack Obama, marking a generational shift that reflects the state's evolving legal culture. Hazel, 39, who was sworn in Tuesday, has been told he's the youngest district judge now sitting. He could be on the bench until 2040. "I feel extremely fortunate and privileged to have received this opportunity at any age," he said in an interview.
NEWS
By Ian Duncan, The Baltimore Sun | May 5, 2014
A federal appeals judge in California last week took aim at the ATF's use of fictitious drug robbery schemes to secure lengthy prison sentences for would-be rip off crews, strongly criticizing the practice in a written opinion. The cases are simple: an informant or undercover agent poses as a disgruntled courier and invites a group of people to rob his employers of a half million dollars or so worth of cocaine. But Judge  Stephen Reinhardt wrote that such tactics raise important issues about wealth inequality in the United States and who law enforcement decides to pursue.
NEWS
By Ian Duncan, The Baltimore Sun | May 1, 2014
The U.S. Senate confirmed the appointment Thursday of a senior Baltimore prosecutor and a lawyer at the Homeland Security Department as new federal judges to sit on the Maryland bench. George J. Hazel, who was the top deputy in the Baltimore State's Attorney's Office, was confirmed nomination unanimously. "I have been tremendously appreciative and proud of the opportunity to serve the citizens of Baltimore City for the past three and a half years," Hazel said in a statement, "and I look forward to continuing to serve the public in this important position.
NEWS
By The Washington Post | January 12, 2011
Federal authorities say a Maryland inmate has been charged with threatening President Barack Obama and a federal judge in letters. Forty-year-old Willie Ray Bryant was indicted Monday in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt. According to the two-page indictment, Bryant mailed a letter on Oct. 12 with a threat to Obama. The indictment says he also mailed a letter in September to U.S. District Judge William Quarles that included a threat to mail an explosive device to the judge. Authorities say Bryant is serving a 40-year sentence for a string of robberies on the Eastern Shore.
NEWS
By Justin Fenton, The Baltimore Sun | March 8, 2013
A federal judge has ordered Baltimore police to halt a "veritable witch hunt" into the personal life of a man who alleges that his camera was seized as he filmed an arrest. In a ruling unsealed Friday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan Gauvey said the department must pay $1,000 for a "not so subtle attempt to intimidate the plaintiff" in a civil suit against the department. She took issue with tactics employed against Christopher Sharp, who sued the department two years ago, alleging that officers deleted images from his phone after he recorded a female friend being beaten by officers at the 2010 Preakness Stakes.
NEWS
By Leonard Pitts Jr and By Leonard Pitts Jr | January 16, 2014
Perhaps you've heard of the Fourth Amendment. That's the one that guarantees freedom from unfettered government snooping, the one that says government needs probable cause and a warrant before it can search or seize your things. That guarantee would seem to be ironclad, but we've been learning lately that it's not. Indeed, maybe we've reached the point where the Fourth ought to be marked with an asterisk and followed by disclaimers in the manner of the announcer who spends 30 seconds extolling the miracle drug and the next 30 speed-reading its dire side effects: To wit: "Fourth Amendment not available to black and Hispanic men walking in New York, who may be stopped and frisked for no discernible reason.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Mary Carole McCauley, The Baltimore Sun | January 15, 2014
A federal court judge signed an order Tuesday clearing the way for a stolen landscape painted by Pierre-Auguste Renoir to be speedily returned to the Baltimore Museum of Art , 62 years after the painting was stolen. U.S. District Court Leonie M. Brinkema ordered the unsigned 1879 painting on a linen napkin, "Paysage Bords de Seine" to "be released into the custody" of the museum. Arrangements for handing over the artwork still are being firmed up, according to spokeswomen for both the FBI and the museum.
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