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NEWS
March 27, 2012
John Merzbacher was sentenced to four life sentences for the horrific rape of a young girl ("Supreme Court decisions renew interest in petition fighting convicted child rapist's release," March 22). The recent Supreme Court ruling does not offer an automatic end to his sentence because of insufficient legal counsel about a plea agreement. State and local officials must consider the seriousness of his crimes and keep him in prison. Beyond the rapes of which he was found guilty, there are many untold stories about the vast extent of his abuse of young people.
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NEWS
August 25, 2014
Let me see if I understand this: Marquel Gaffney, 15, murdered Albert Smith, 56, in 2007, was charged as an adult, but pleaded guilty of second-degree murder and was sentenced in juvenile court ( "Baltimore man, 21, charged in second murder in five years," Aug. 5). In 2012, he was convicted of drug crimes and last year he was charged with unauthorized removal of property. In March of this year he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to four years in prison with all but six months suspended.
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NEWS
March 21, 2013
The letter "Obama should pardon Pollard" (March 18) could not be more wrong when it urges President Barack Obama to pardon the heinous traitor Jonathan Pollard, who is serving a life sentence for causing more harm to U.S. intelligence than any spy had in decades. The writer also has her priorities backward when she says that President Obama needs to "...mend some political fences with Israel and to promote warmer relations with Israeli leaders. " The U.S. gives Israel $3 billion and more every year in military aid, our latest military technology and diplomatic cover at the U.N. for its atrocities against the Palestinians.
NEWS
By Xiaohui Wu | August 3, 2014
As a foreigner in the United States, one question I've often been asked by newly-met friends has been "What do you find special about America?" I always have a good answer for that question: "Education. " American children have colorful lives while their Chinese peers are locked up in studies. Surprisingly, many of my American friends are not as optimistic about the American system. In fact, they've told me it's the U.S. education system that's problematic and perhaps should learn from the Chinese system.
NEWS
By Greg Garland and Chris Guy and Greg Garland and Chris Guy,Sun reporters | December 12, 2006
Richard Spicknall II, who seven years ago shot and killed his two small children while they were strapped in their car seats, was found dead in the showers at a Jessup prison over the weekend, authorities said yesterday. The state medical examiner ruled the death a "homicide by general asphyxia." Spicknall, 34, was discovered with a rag or towel stuffed in his mouth, according to prison system sources. A prison spokesman called his death "a mystery" and said it is under investigation. As a convicted child killer, Spicknall feared for his life in prison and was housed in protective custody at the Jessup Correctional Institution, away from the general inmate population, said Michael A Mastracci, a Catonsville attorney who knew the inmate and corresponded with him. In letters to Mastracci during his years in prison, Spicknall expressed remorse for taking the children's lives.
NEWS
By Peter Hermann | March 12, 2012
Two city drug dealers have been sentenced to prison in separate cases, including one who police said dealt cocaine in a small neighborhood in Northeast Baltimore called the 4X4, according to federal prosecutors. In that case, the Maryland U.S. Attorney's Office said that 30-year-old Tony Robinson, known by "Peterman" and "Pete," was part of a drug group from June 2009 through August 2010 in the area between Edison Highway and Belair Road. Prosecutors said that Robinson pleaded guilty in the case in which he sold 280 grams of cocaine and 5 kilograms of powder cocaine.
SPORTS
By Childs Walker, The Baltimore Sun | October 26, 2013
For years after he took his last hit, Sammy Stewart dreamed the same dream. He'd climb a set of stairs under a dogwood tree, and at the top, a man would hand him some rocks of crack cocaine. Stewart would take them home and place them by his bedside as he prepared his tinfoil for smoking, a ritual he'd performed thousands of times. Just as he was ready to fire up, the prison loudspeaker would interject, blaring, "Chow time! Chow time!" He'd wake and spend the whole day angry.
NEWS
April 2, 2010
A federal judge in Baltimore has dismissed a lawsuit filed by eight state prison workers who claimed a strip search for drugs violated their constitutional rights. The plaintiffs' lawyer said he expects to appeal the opinion entered Thursday by U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz. The employees were searched after a drug-sniffing machine falsely signaled they were carrying drugs at the medium-security Maryland Correctional Training Center near Hagerstown in August 2008. The court found that there is no clearly established law regarding the level of suspicion raised by such alerts.
NEWS
Dan Rodricks | November 30, 2011
- Nearly 40 years have come and gone since Calvin Ash, a hospital kitchen worker, committed his one and only crime: At the age of 21, he shot to death his estranged wife's boyfriend. A Baltimore judge found him guilty and sentenced him to life in prison in 1972. Under the conditions of his sentence, Mr. Ash would one distant day be eligible for parole. Thirty-two years later, in 2004, the Maryland Parole Commission considered and approved Mr. Ash for release. But there was a catch: In Maryland, the governor can reject the commission's recommendations and, unfortunately for Mr. Ash, his case did not reach the governor's desk until after Martin O'Malley had been elected, in 2006.
BUSINESS
By Arthur Hirsch, The Baltimore Sun | January 20, 2014
Anthony Mayes was nearing age 50 when he got the first suit he ever owned, a dark gray Armani, and it seemed life, at last, would be better. He'd just been released from his latest time behind bars, making it about 22 years of his life total, for an array of charges including drugs and armed robbery. He said he's determined to make his most recent six-month stint his last, and sees the clothes - suit, shirt, tie, dress shoes - as part of that effort. "They make me feel important, like I can succeed," said Mayes, 49, who believes he's been given "an opportunity to redeem myself.
NEWS
By Jessica Anderson, The Baltimore Sun | August 1, 2014
A man who, with his fiance, stole $130,000 from a Dundalk bank where she had previously worked as a teller, was sentenced in federal court Friday, authorities said. U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett sentenced Darrius Roszario D. Washington, age 20, of Baltimore, to more than 10 years in prison followed by five years of supervised release. His accomplice, Janaya B. Person-Robinson, 20, pleaded guilty will be sentenced on October 22. She had worked at the branch, was familiar with the bank's operating procedures and knew the employees, authorities say. The couple waited in the M&T Bank branch bank's parking lot on October 1, as employees were arriving to work when Washington stopped a bank employee walking from her car, authorities said.
NEWS
By Hal Riedl | July 20, 2014
Back when Robert Ehrlich was governor of Maryland, I was interviewing men newly committed to state prison and suspected of gang affiliations. After years in denial, Maryland was just beginning to realize that gangs were very active behind the walls. Among them was a "new" incarnation of BGF (Black Guerrilla Family) that had taken its name from, but was not otherwise beholden to, the BGF that dated from the 1960s. I got to know Lt. Santiago Morales, an astute gang investigator at Baltimore City Detention Center, and we shared information.
NEWS
July 17, 2014
Your editorial, "Breaking a vicious cycle" (July 14) hits the nail on the head. With U.S. youth incarceration rates the highest in the world - greater than the rates of the other 10 most developed countries combined - something is tragically wrong. It is disturbing that once incarcerated as a youth, even for less serious offenses, these individuals have an increased likelihood of returning to prison and a decreased chance of securing gainful employment later in life. As you point out, the Youth PROMISE Act offers a more effective approach to juvenile crime.
NEWS
By Emad Hassan | July 15, 2014
I have been locked up at Guantanamo Bay for 12 years, held without charge or trial. I've done nothing wrong; in 2009, I was unanimously cleared for release by six different branches of the U.S. government, including the FBI and the CIA. Yet here I am, still detained. I write this 106 years after the birth of Thurgood Marshall, a Baltimore-born civil rights lawyer and later a Supreme Court justice who helped end segregation in America. Marshall understood and respected the humanity and innate equality of all people.
NEWS
July 11, 2014
For far too many young people who get caught up in the criminal justice system, an arrest or conviction for even a minor, non-violent offense can become a one-way ticket to a shrunken future that slams the door on opportunities for the rest of their lives. Being arrested as a teen increases a person's chances of being arrested again as an adult, and teenagers sentenced to jail are more likely to be incarcerated later in life as well. Add to that the nation's harsh drug laws and stiff mandatory minimum sentencing policies and it's no wonder America locks up more of its citizens than any other country in the world.
NEWS
By Ian Duncan, The Baltimore Sun | June 21, 2014
A little-noticed and highly technical Supreme Court decision is opening the way for dozens of federal inmates from Maryland to seek reduced sentences — even though trial judges found they had violent criminal pasts. For some, the high court decision has already meant that sentences of 15 years and more have been cut substantially. One inmate, for example, saw his sentence reduced from 15 years to about six years; he was released in February. The legal challenges are the latest turn in an ongoing debate over the fairness of long federal prison sentences — a weapon frequently used in Baltimore to combat crime.
NEWS
April 16, 2010
Two men and a woman have been convicted of being part of a violent drug gang that was run out of a Western Maryland prison. A federal jury convicted 23-year-old Tavon Mouzone and 24-year-old Anthony Fleming of racketeering conspiracy on Thursday. Their co-defendant, 25-year-old Michelle Hebron, pleaded guilty to the same charge on the second day of their trial. Among the acts Hebron admitted to was the 2007 shooting death of David Moore in Hagerstown. Prosecutors described Hebron as a high-ranking female member of the Tree Top Piru Bloods gang.
NEWS
July 10, 2005
WHAT VICE can't be practiced in Maryland's prisons? That's the question you'd have to ask yourself after reading Sun reporter Greg Garland's account of contraband seized from the state's nine largest prisons. Drugs (heroin, crack and marijuana), tobacco (loose and rolled), alcohol (store-bought and prison-brewed), pornography (DVDs and tapes), condoms and cell phones represent most of the stash seized over a recent 10-month stretch. That doesn't include the shanks and knives inmates craft on their own. The extent of the goods recovered might suggest that prison officials are on top of the smuggling, but their inability to efficiently quantify the results of surprise cell searches and prison sweeps complicates their efforts.
NEWS
June 4, 2014
At last, some outrage from Congress over this imperial president's unilateral actions ( "Ruppersberger: Bergdahl decision sets 'dangerous precedent,'" June 2). Imagine releasing five of the worst criminals from Guantanamo. These are terrorists whose whole purpose is to kill Americans! Now, we find out that U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl might have actually been a deserter. This man does not deserve to be president of the United States. We have "1984," "Animal Farm" and "The Manchurian Candidate" rolled into one in this administration.
NEWS
By Justin Fenton and Richard Gorelick, The Baltimore Sun | May 30, 2014
Baltimore's notorious "dine and dasher," accused of repeatedly faking seizures to get out of paying restaurant tabs, got a hefty bill on Friday from a city judge: five years in prison. Andrew Palmer, 47, has been eating and drinking for free around town for years. He became known by police and paramedics for feigning medical emergencies when his checks were due, and restaurant owners began posting his picture on their walls. Police have locked him up and he has been convicted dozens of times, but the maximum penalty for the charge of theft under $100 carries a maximum penalty of a few weeks in jail, which he repeatedly received and served.
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