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By Jules Witcover | December 30, 2011
Newt Gingrich, the self-proclaimed "smartest guy in the room," may have outsmarted himself in his latest assault on the American judiciary, just as his newly acquired front-running status for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination is shining a brighter spotlight than ever on him. The former House speaker's call for the removal of federal judges he considers too far out of the public mainstream, even to the point of forcibly hauling them before Congress...
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NEWS
By Sidney Rocke | May 5, 2014
The recent passage of Maryland's Marijuana Decriminalization Bill was an act of rebellion. Not against society's norms, but against one man: House Judiciary Chairman Joseph Vallario. The bill easily passed the Senate and had overwhelming support from the Democratic Party. Yet Delegate Vallario, a Prince George's Democrat, essentially killed it by amending the bill to merely set up a task force to study the issue for the next two years. The original bill was resurrected and passed with minor amendments after a rebellion from a coalition ranging from the Black Caucus to conservative Libertarians, outraged at the sheer wastefulness of criminal prosecution for minor marijuana violations.
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NEWS
By Jules Witcover | December 27, 2011
Newt Gingrich, the self-proclaimed "smartest guy in the room," may have outsmarted himself in his latest assault on the American judiciary, just as his front-running status for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination is shining a brighter spotlight than ever on him. The former House speaker's call for the removal of federal judges he considers too far out of the public mainstream, even to the point of forcibly hauling them before Congress to...
NEWS
By Jessica Anderson, The Baltimore Sun | April 5, 2014
Though felons are prohibited from voting in Maryland, 15 of them cast ballots in the 2010 gubernatorial election, according to a recently released audit. The finding in an Office of Legislative Audits' report criticized the State Board of Elections, saying the agency "did not have an effective process to ensure that individuals serving a sentence for a felony conviction were removed from the voter registration database, as required by law. " Each month, the board receives a list from the judiciary of all convictions and must manually sort out misdemeanors, which don't exclude people from going to the polls.
NEWS
By ANDREW BARD SCHMOOKLER | September 10, 1991
Silver Spring. -- It is time -- indeed it is well past time -- for the Democrats to stop being such wimps about allowing this country's judiciary to enter a dark age.The conservatives have handed them a tool with which the Democrats can assert their power as the dominant party in the Senate. That tool is the conservatives' ostensible commitment to ''strict construction'' of the Constitution.Where in the Constitution does it say that the judiciary is to be the creature of the Executive, made in his image?
NEWS
By LOS ANGELES TIMES | January 1, 1999
WASHINGTON -- Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, in his year-end report on the judiciary, faulted Congress yesterday for turning local offenses into federal crimes, a trend that he said has overburdened the U.S. courts.Last year, the number of new crime cases in the federal judiciary rose by 15 percent, he said, the largest increase in nearly three decades. The rise was propelled mostly by drug and immigration cases, he added.Whether controlled by Democrats or Republicans, Congress has regularly created new federal crimes over the past two decades.
NEWS
By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE | March 19, 2006
WASHINGTON -- A year after the killings of the husband and mother of a Chicago federal judge and a shooting rampage in an Atlanta courthouse that left three people dead, the safety of judges and court employees remains a serious concern for the judiciary. Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales said last week that three-quarters of the more than 2,000 federal judges had sought government-paid home security systems. The Judicial Conference of the United States, which sets policy for the federal courts, met last week for the first time under Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and approved security measures.
NEWS
By Julie Bykowicz and Julie Bykowicz,Sun reporter | July 26, 2007
Court employees across the state hand-wrote warrant, bail and case data all day yesterday - an unwelcome blast from the past thanks to damaged Verizon cables in Annapolis that shut down the Maryland judiciary's computer system. The cables affecting the court system were to be repaired yesterday evening, but cables providing phone service to about 6,300 businesses and homes in Annapolis and Parole might not be repaired until this weekend, a Verizon spokeswoman said. Affected businesses and offices along Jennifer Road included the county jail and the county school system.
NEWS
March 15, 1997
CREDIT BALTIMORE City Circuit Judge John Carroll Byrnes vTC with recognizing the importance of public confidence in the judicial system. Faced with a tough decision -- the sentencing of Stephen Pagotto, a Baltimore City police officer convicted of involuntary manslaughter during a traffic stop -- he knew his ruling would be controversial. So he has gone to great lengths -- including two appearances on radio talk shows -- to explain why he ordered a three-year prison term.That is unconventional behavior for a judge and, in the opinion of many court watchers, it is also risky business.
NEWS
By Jan Crawford Greenburg and Jill Zuckman and Jan Crawford Greenburg and Jill Zuckman,CHICAGO TRIBUNE | July 13, 2005
WASHINGTON - Top Senate Democrats and Republicans told President Bush yesterday that he should consider tapping someone outside the judiciary to fill Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's seat on the Supreme Court, suggesting a U.S. senator or other nominee outside the "judicial monastery" could bring much-needed perspective to the court. In a breakfast meeting at the White House with Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr., four Senate leaders said they thoroughly discussed the idea of looking beyond the courts for a nominee.
NEWS
By Ian Duncan, The Baltimore Sun | January 18, 2014
Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera found herself in an interesting position last week as she testified before lawmakers about how Maryland's courts will meet a constitutional mandate that defendants get a lawyer when their bail is first set. As a member of the state's highest court, Barbera wrote a forceful dissent to a decision that could dramatically change the way the state treats defendants before trial. But as the state's top judge, Barbera also faces the administrative task of carrying out that ruling.
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
August 20, 2013
Del. Joseph F. Vallario Jr., the Prince George's County Democrat who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, is the frequent target of accusations that his public role and private interests conflict. That criticism usually boils down to a disagreement with his views on legislation and anger at his willingness to use his power to bottle up bills he doesn't like. But a complaint filed against him with the legislature's ethics committee is different; it centers on discussions about a piece of legislation that became law (in fact, one he voted for)
NEWS
By Cal Thomas | August 17, 2013
When I studied the U.S. Constitution in school, I learned that for a bill to become law it first had to be introduced in either the House or the Senate. Today, a cynic might say for a bill to become law a member of Congress must first be introduced to a lobbyist. Much of government's dysfunction, cost and overreach can be traced to the abandonment of the constitutional boundaries the Founders put in place for the purpose of controlling the lust for power. In his new book, "The Liberty Amendments: Restoring the American Republic," Mark R. Levin asserts the U.S. government isn't performing up to standards established by the Founders because, like a flooding river, politicians have breached their constitutional limits.
EXPLORE
AEGIS STAFF REPORT | April 15, 2013
On Thursday, April 18, lawyers and judges from Maryland's courts will share their expertise and personal experiences to help area students learn about law and society. Students attending the Civics and Law Academy will meet face-to-face with judges and other legal professionals to discuss a variety of topics, including juvenile rights, criminal law, free speech and the law in the technology age. The April 18 session will be held at North Harford High School in Pylesville, and will include more than 100 students from North Harford, Joppatowne, Bel Air, Edgewood, Aberdeen, Fallston and Havre de Grace high schools.
NEWS
By Tricia Bishop | June 12, 2012
The John R. Hargrove Sr. building of Baltimore's district court closed shortly after 9 a.m. Tuesday because of a nearby water main break that left the facility without water. It's unclear when the building,  on the 700 block of E. Patapsco Ave.,  will reopen and resume hearing cases. Bail reviews were transferred to the Borgerding district court location at 5800 Wabash Ave, and other cases were postponed, said judiciary spokeswoman Terri Bolling. The water main break occurred on the 3600 block of Brooklyn Ave., Bolling said.
NEWS
March 11, 1997
COURTS ENSHRINE unchanging legal principles, but systems of justice must also be resilient. Changing times bring new challenges. Good systems of justice -- those that serve citizens well -- know when to adapt.Maryland's courts are facing daunting challenges, ranging from dramatic increases in caseloads to outdated and inadequate facilities. The Commission on the Future of Maryland's Courts has looked at a wide range of issues and made recommendations on problems big and small. Some will be politically tough -- like reorganizing the circuit court system.
NEWS
By GAIL GIBSON and GAIL GIBSON,SUN REPORTER | July 23, 2006
When House Republicans tried last week to block federal courts from hearing challenges to the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance, U.S. Rep. Todd Akin didn't sugarcoat the latest effort to limit the judiciary: We do this, the Missouri Republican said, "because we don't trust them." In the simmering feud between Congress and the courts, such "jurisdiction stripping" measures have emerged as a weapon of choice for Republicans. For the most part, the proposals - including the move to allow only state courts to hear Pledge of Allegiance challenges - stand little chance of becoming law, legal scholars and analysts say. But they lay bare ugly tensions between the legislative and judicial branches and could prove to be a potent issue in this year's midterm elections.
NEWS
By Tricia Bishop, The Baltimore Sun | March 22, 2012
The federal government is considering closing dozens of rural court sites across the country, including one that serves Maryland's Eastern Shore — a move that would force people to drive up to 110 miles to the nearest courthouse to have their cases heard. "It would be a grave inconvenience to litigants to have them come to a federal court in either Baltimore or Greenbelt. It makes no sense," said Deborah K. Chasanow, chief judge of Maryland's U.S. District Courts. The potential closures, 60 of them spread throughout 29 states, are being considered as a cost-cutting measure within the federal judiciary.
EXPLORE
March 13, 2012
The independent Judicial Compensation Commission recently reported its findings to the Maryland General Assembly - presented to the Senate and House of Delegates in the form of joint resolutions - regarding judge's salaries Our state's judges have not received a raise since 2006, and our Circuit Court Judges' pay, when ranked among that of their national peers and adjusted for cost of living, pathetically ranks 43rd in the nation. Just as we take understandable pride in the first-in-the-nation ranking of our state's educational system, we should be suitably embarrassed by that of our judicial compensation - embarrassed not simply by the aforementioned statistic itself, but also by what it says about our state's under-appreciation of what our judges do on a daily basis.  In order to attract new, qualified candidates to the bench, and to retain the judges currently serving, competitive judicial compensation is necessary and appropriate.
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