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By Nicole Fuller, The Baltimore Sun | December 9, 2011
Anne Arundel County Councilman Jamie Benoit is challenging a legal opinion issued by the county attorney on the political future of fellow Councilman Daryl D. Jones, who has been sentenced to federal prison beginning next month. In a five-page letter to the county's Office of Law, Benoit, a Democrat, questioned a Dec. 1 memo from County Attorney Jonathan A. Hodgson. Hodgson had stated that the council can replace Jones when he begins serving his prison term Jan. 23 because he will be living outside his district during his prison stint.
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NEWS
By Scott Calvert and Luke Broadwater, The Baltimore Sun | July 26, 2013
When Baltimore Finance Director Harry E. Black revealed Wednesday that the city could not legally recoup more than $1.5 million in erroneous tax breaks from commercial property owners, he promised to provide the legal analysis on which he based the decision. He then blocked the release of a 12-page opinion by city lawyers laying out the rationale . The opinion could explain why the city does not think it can rebill property owners to recover excessive tax discounts granted for historic rehabs, even as it has charged many homeowners back taxes for a different kind of discount rife with problems - the homestead tax credit.
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NEWS
By Scott Calvert and Luke Broadwater, The Baltimore Sun | July 26, 2013
When Baltimore Finance Director Harry E. Black revealed Wednesday that the city could not legally recoup more than $1.5 million in erroneous tax breaks from commercial property owners, he promised to provide the legal analysis on which he based the decision. He then blocked the release of a 12-page opinion by city lawyers laying out the rationale . The opinion could explain why the city does not think it can rebill property owners to recover excessive tax discounts granted for historic rehabs, even as it has charged many homeowners back taxes for a different kind of discount rife with problems - the homestead tax credit.
NEWS
By Erin Cox, The Baltimore Sun | January 29, 2013
Gov. Martin O'Malley's licensing proposal that calls for a $100 fee, fingerprinting and safety training before someone can buy a handgun does not violate the U.S. Constitution, according to a legal opinion released Tuesday by Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler. The opinion came at the request of state Sen. Brian E. Frosh, a Montgomery County Democrat who chairs the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee. Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller has questioned whether the licensing provision goes too far. “Law-abiding gun owners have nothing to fear,” Gansler said in a statement, adding that “the qualifications do not allow for confiscation of guns nor could they.” The opinion, written by Dan Friedman, counsel to the General Assembly, rests on a 2008 Supreme Court decision and says the state has the authority to limit the right to possess a handgun.
NEWS
By Lynn Anderson and Lynn Anderson,SUN STAFF | April 3, 2002
The Anne Arundel County Council might have to change the way it reviews requests for zoning changes because of a legal opinion instructing members not to include development covenants between landowners and neighbors in their deliberations. The opinion, in a memorandum from the county law office, was received by the council Monday afternoon, hours before members met and voted on a comprehensive zoning map for the Broadneck area. Despite the opinion, the council rezoned a Broadneck property used as a parking lot for school buses from residential to industrial after listening to public testimony that focused on development covenants that John Lonergan, owner of Chesapeake Charter Inc., worked out with the Whispering Winds neighborhood.
NEWS
By Laura Vozzella and Laura Vozzella,SUN STAFF | January 31, 2001
The state attorney general's office is trying to determine if a new Maryland law forced the Columbia Association to change the way it assesses property, or if the change was unnecessary and illegal. The office is formulating a legal opinion on the matter at the request of Del. Shane Pendergrass, a Democrat who lives in Columbia. The Columbia Council voted Dec. 21 to assess property at 100 percent of valuation rather than 50 percent, saying the change was needed to comply with the Truth in Taxation law. The change does not affect the amount Columbia residents will be charged on their next assessment bills because the council also voted to cut the lien rate in half.
NEWS
By David Nitkin and Michael Dresser and David Nitkin and Michael Dresser,SUN STAFF | May 21, 2003
Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. cannot single-handedly cut millions from the university system and other agencies, according to a legal opinion released yesterday that creates an obstacle to the administration's unpopular plan for deep and immediate spending reductions to balance the state budget. State law requires the governor to gain approval from at least one of his colleagues on the three-member Board of Public Works to trim $60 million from the University System of Maryland, according to a four-page decision from the attorney general's office.
NEWS
By Richard B. Schmitt and Richard B. Schmitt,LOS ANGELES TIMES | July 12, 2007
WASHINGTON -- In a broadly worded legal opinion, the Justice Department has concluded that President Bush's former top lawyer, and possibly other senior White House officials, can ignore subpoenas from Congress to testify about the firings of U.S. attorneys. The three-page opinion raises questions about whether the Justice Department would prosecute senior administration officials if Congress voted to hold them in contempt for not cooperating with the investigation into the firing last year of eight top prosecutors.
NEWS
By Annie Linskey and Annie Linskey,annie.linskey@baltsun.com | March 14, 2009
A City Council bill that seeks to slow foreclosures in Baltimore violates the state and federal constitutions, according to an opinion issued yesterday by the city's law department. The legislation, introduced by Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke and Councilman Bill Henry, would extend the time between foreclosure and eviction from 14 days to 365 days. The lawmakers believe that the bill would provide a strong incentive for lenders to negotiate with owners rather than foreclose. But the unfavorable legal opinion could halt momentum on the bill because, Mayor Sheila Dixon's spokesman said, it would prevent her from signing it. "Our legal department has found that this legislation is not in accordance with state and federal law," said Scott Peterson, Dixon's spokesman.
NEWS
By Erin Cox, The Baltimore Sun | January 29, 2013
Gov. Martin O'Malley's licensing proposal that calls for a $100 fee, fingerprinting and safety training before someone can buy a handgun does not violate the U.S. Constitution, according to a legal opinion released Tuesday by Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler. The opinion came at the request of state Sen. Brian E. Frosh, a Montgomery County Democrat who chairs the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee. Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller has questioned whether the licensing provision goes too far. “Law-abiding gun owners have nothing to fear,” Gansler said in a statement, adding that “the qualifications do not allow for confiscation of guns nor could they.” The opinion, written by Dan Friedman, counsel to the General Assembly, rests on a 2008 Supreme Court decision and says the state has the authority to limit the right to possess a handgun.
NEWS
By Nicole Fuller, The Baltimore Sun | December 17, 2011
In a move that would clear the way for the Anne Arundel County Council to replace prison-bound Councilman Daryl D. Jones, a colleague plans to introduce legislation Monday that, if approved by a majority, would declare the Democratic lawmaker's seat vacant. Councilman Jamie Benoit, a Crownsville Democrat and a friend of Jones', announced his plans in an email to his council colleagues earlier this week. In an emailed statement early Saturday morning, Benoit said Jones' status on the council has "greatly distracted" from "the very important business of governing and policymaking.
NEWS
By Nicole Fuller, The Baltimore Sun | December 9, 2011
Anne Arundel County Councilman Jamie Benoit is challenging a legal opinion issued by the county attorney on the political future of fellow Councilman Daryl D. Jones, who has been sentenced to federal prison beginning next month. In a five-page letter to the county's Office of Law, Benoit, a Democrat, questioned a Dec. 1 memo from County Attorney Jonathan A. Hodgson. Hodgson had stated that the council can replace Jones when he begins serving his prison term Jan. 23 because he will be living outside his district during his prison stint.
EXPLORE
August 16, 2011
I only wish the media had come down the hall to the Board of Appeals hearing the same night they attended the Planning Board session on the Clarksville road project (" Board: Clarksville road project needs study News, Aug. 11). If they had, reporters would have seen the Board of Appeals's version of that old Abbott and Costello comedy routine, "Who's on First. " After seven nights of hearings on development in Turf Valley, the Board of Appeals needs to resolve their rules of procedure in order to be responsible to all parties and not waste taxpayer time and money.
NEWS
By Childs Walker | childs.walker@baltsun.com | January 23, 2010
A professor at the University of Maryland, College Park is facing conflict-of- interest questions after he used university letterhead to deliver a legal opinion in his role as a consultant to a labor union. Fred Feinstein, an adjunct professor at the School of Public Policy, wrote a letter saying that California health care employees could jeopardize their contract benefits if they left Service Employees International for a competing union. Feinstein received $240,000 in consulting fees from SEIU in 2007 and 2008, which he did not mention in the Jan. 12 letter that was distributed as a flier in the continuing union battle.
NEWS
By Annie Linskey and Annie Linskey,annie.linskey@baltsun.com | March 14, 2009
A City Council bill that seeks to slow foreclosures in Baltimore violates the state and federal constitutions, according to an opinion issued yesterday by the city's law department. The legislation, introduced by Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke and Councilman Bill Henry, would extend the time between foreclosure and eviction from 14 days to 365 days. The lawmakers believe that the bill would provide a strong incentive for lenders to negotiate with owners rather than foreclose. But the unfavorable legal opinion could halt momentum on the bill because, Mayor Sheila Dixon's spokesman said, it would prevent her from signing it. "Our legal department has found that this legislation is not in accordance with state and federal law," said Scott Peterson, Dixon's spokesman.
NEWS
By New York Times News Service | April 3, 2008
WASHINGTON -- A newly disclosed Justice Department legal memo, written in March 2003 and authorizing the military's use of extremely harsh interrogation techniques, offers what could be a revealing clue in an unsolved mystery: What responsibility did top Pentagon and administration officials have for abuses committed by American troops at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and in Afghanistan, at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and elsewhere? Some legal experts and advocates said yesterday that the memo, written the month that the United States invaded Iraq, adds to evidence that the abuse of prisoners in military custody may have involved signals from higher officials and not just irresponsible actions by low-level personnel.
NEWS
By Nicole Fuller, The Baltimore Sun | December 17, 2011
In a move that would clear the way for the Anne Arundel County Council to replace prison-bound Councilman Daryl D. Jones, a colleague plans to introduce legislation Monday that, if approved by a majority, would declare the Democratic lawmaker's seat vacant. Councilman Jamie Benoit, a Crownsville Democrat and a friend of Jones', announced his plans in an email to his council colleagues earlier this week. In an emailed statement early Saturday morning, Benoit said Jones' status on the council has "greatly distracted" from "the very important business of governing and policymaking.
NEWS
By Laura Vozzella and Laura Vozzella,SUN STAFF | July 14, 2000
Hoping to mend relations with local villages, the Columbia Council is trying to shed light on an employee benefits issue so secret that one councilman compared it with Kennedy assassination files. The council voted unanimously last night to seek a legal opinion on whether it can disclose why village employees were suddenly stricken from the rolls of Columbia Association workers in February 1999. They were told at the time that the reason they could no longer be considered association employees was sensitive but would be disclosed to them.
NEWS
By Phillip McGowan and Phillip McGowan,Sun reporter | February 7, 2008
A national real-estate developer that hopes to build a sprawling office park at Fort Meade would be required to at least pay property taxes, according to an opinion from the state attorney general's office. The 19-page opinion appears to offer the legal underpinning for state legislation that would permit the state and Anne Arundel County to negotiate with Texas-based Trammell Crow Co., which wants to build a $700 million office project on Fort Meade property for up to 10,000 workers arriving as part of a major defense expansion.
NEWS
By Richard B. Schmitt and Richard B. Schmitt,LOS ANGELES TIMES | July 12, 2007
WASHINGTON -- In a broadly worded legal opinion, the Justice Department has concluded that President Bush's former top lawyer, and possibly other senior White House officials, can ignore subpoenas from Congress to testify about the firings of U.S. attorneys. The three-page opinion raises questions about whether the Justice Department would prosecute senior administration officials if Congress voted to hold them in contempt for not cooperating with the investigation into the firing last year of eight top prosecutors.
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