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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
By Ian Duncan, The Baltimore Sun | April 17, 2014
Lawyers argued for almost two hours Thursday whether the skinny, hollow-cheeked young man from Ellicott City sitting in court was a dangerous al-Qaida plotter or a kid with undiagnosed psychological problems who was led astray by a cabal of bumbling terrorist wannabes. The hard-fought sentencing hearing at U.S. District Court in Philadelphia was the final act in the case of Mohammad Hassan Khalid, 20, who was charged with terror offenses while still a teenager. Khalid's lawyers wanted him released immediately, while federal prosecutors sought to send him to prison for eight years.
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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
By Ian Duncan, The Baltimore Sun | April 8, 2014
It's almost a year since federal authorities announced that Tavon White and the Black Guerrilla Family gang had corrupted the Baltimore City Detention Center from the inside out, and this week's New Yorker magazine has an expansive look at the case. Staff writer Jeffrey Toobin casts a close eye over the sexual dynamics in the jail, pointing to misogynistic ideas espoused by the BGF's founder in the 1960s, and repeated up by former Maryland gang leader Eric Brown. George Jackson, who founded the BGF in a California prison, was steeped in many of the left wing ideas popular in the 1960s, but he roundly rejected calls for women's rights and espoused polygamy as a way to care for women who would otherwise go unmarried, according to Toobin.
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.
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 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.
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
By Justin Fenton, The Baltimore Sun | March 27, 2014
In 2006, Baltimore prosecutors agreed to a plea that would send David Thornton to prison for eight years for a pair of murders. The assistant state's attorney assigned the case said that while it was a light sentence, "maybe he can't kill anyone … while he is in prison. " Eight years later and out of prison, police are accusing Thornton of killing again. Thornton, now 40, was arrested March 20 and charged with first-degree murder in the stabbing death of 17-year-old Jowan Henry, who was killed March 8 in the 2600 block of Mura St. in East Baltimore.
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.
NEWS
By Ian Duncan, The Baltimore Sun | April 8, 2014
A Pasadena man pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to tipping off a major cocaine dealer that his phone was being monitored after learning about the tap from a local court official. Last June, Joshua Ferguson, 34, found out from a friend who worked at the Anne Arundel County Circuit Court that authorities were conducting a wiretap investigation, and the next day called one of the targets of the investigation to warn him. The court employee, Sarah Harris, 23, had learned about the investigation when a Drug Enforcement Administration task force officer came in to file applications for other electronic surveillance in the case.
NEWS
By Jessica Anderson, The Baltimore Sun | April 2, 2014
After serving nearly 40 years in prison for a fatal shooting, Walter Lomax was released in 2006 amid questions about his trial. On Wednesday, he celebrated another milestone in his case, as prosecutors formally dropped the charges against him. Lomax, now 67, was sent to prison after being found guilty in the 1968 death of Robert L. Brewer, a night manager of a Brooklyn food market. A judge commuted his sentence eight years ago, citing problems with the evidence that led to his conviction.
NEWS
By Justin Fenton, The Baltimore Sun | March 27, 2014
In 2006, Baltimore prosecutors agreed to a plea that would send David Thornton to prison for eight years for a pair of murders. The assistant state's attorney assigned the case said that while it was a light sentence, "maybe he can't kill anyone … while he is in prison. " Eight years later and out of prison, police are accusing Thornton of killing again. Thornton, now 40, was arrested March 20 and charged with first-degree murder in the stabbing death of 17-year-old Jowan Henry, who was killed March 8 in the 2600 block of Mura St. in East Baltimore.
NEWS
By Colin Campbell, The Baltimore Sun | March 25, 2014
A 58-year-old Yemeni man living in Baltimore was sentenced Tuesday to two years in prison for wire fraud in a $1.5 million illegal food stamp scheme, federal prosecutors announced. Ahmed Ayedh Al-Jabrati was convicted of trading cash for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits at his two convenience stores, Second Obama Express and D&M Deli and Grocery, in the 900 block of Harlem Ave. The SNAP program allows eligible people to use an electronic benefit transfer card similar to a debit card for approved food items from participating retailers.
NEWS
By Ian Duncan, The Baltimore Sun | March 22, 2014
After Gregg Thomas pleaded guilty in 2004 to killing a teenager, a Baltimore judge ordered him to serve 15 years in prison. He was out in less than 10, and by last week he had been charged in the shooting ambush of off-duty Baltimore Police Sgt. Keith Mcneill. The shooting, which left Mcneill in critical condition, put the spotlight on a poorly understood feature of corrections policy that reduces most Maryland sentences. Thomas was able to leave prison early because he had received credit for good behavior and had completed work and education programs that helped him shave off more than a third of his sentence.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | March 21, 2014
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Anthony G. Brown will propose a plan Friday to cut the number of released inmates who return to prison for new offenses with a variety of programs to ease the transition back to the community, By releasing his 10-point plan, the lieutenant governor joins Democratic rivals Douglas F. Gansler and Heather R. Mizeur in offering voters a strategy for fighting crime. Brown said his plan would build on the successes achieved under his political partner, Gov. Martin O'Malley.
NEWS
By Nick Madigan | nick.madigan@baltsun.com | December 16, 2009
A Baltimore County Circuit Court judge sentenced a 41-year-old man to life in prison Tuesday for the first-degree murder of a Rosedale woman whom he struck with a pickup truck. Jose Manuel Claros, who was convicted in October, did not admit to the crime at his sentencing. Instead, he blamed his victim and all but called her a liar. Gloria Elsy Torres-Restrepo, 39, died Jan. 5 after Claros struck her with her own pickup truck after she had expressed her intent to end their business and personal relationship, take back the truck from him and evict him from a house she owned in Rosedale.
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
By Matthew Hay Brown, The Baltimore Sun | March 10, 2014
Christian Rojas has a plan. The Iraq War veteran wants to get his paralegal certificate. Then, he figures, he'll go into business for himself, helping people write their wills and file motions in court. He dreams of earning a law degree eventually and practicing law. First, though, he has to get out of prison. Rojas, 33, is at Eastern Correctional Institution in Westover in Somerset County, where he is serving seven years for holding up a couple of fast-food restaurants in Severn in 2011.
NEWS
By Frederick N. Rasmussen, The Baltimore Sun | March 7, 2014
Richard A. Hartman, former president and CEO of the Automobile Club of Maryland who fought at the Battle of the Bulge, died Feb. 28 of complications from cancer and renal failure at Gilchrist Hospice Care in Towson. The former longtime Cedarcroft resident was 91. "Dick was the most ethical person I have ever known. He did everything that was right, and he demanded that out of the people who worked with him. He was truly a wonderful person," said William U. "Bill" Bass, who succeeded Mr. Hartman as president of the Automobile Club of Maryland when he retired in 1987.
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