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By Pamela Wood, The Baltimore Sun | May 15, 2014
A Glen Burnie man accused of endangering his neighbors by building bombs in his home pleaded guilty to a federal firearms charge Thursday. Todd Wheeler Jr. could receive up to 10 years in prison when he's sentenced in September. After his federal conviction, Anne Arundel County prosecutors are expected to drop more than 20 state charges that Wheeler built and owned explosive devices. The federal firearms charge stemmed from a pistol, flare launcher, signal launcher and homemade devices that investigators found in Wheeler's home in the Harundale neighborhood.
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NEWS
By Arthur Hirsch, The Baltimore Sun | May 1, 2014
A mother charged with leaving her 4-year-old daughter in a car for eight hours while she gambled at Maryland Live casino on New Year's Eve pleaded guilty Thursday and has been sentenced to five days in jail, and was ordered to stay away from gambling centers for three years, lawyers in the case said. Alicia D. Brown, 25, of Baltimore County, pleaded guilty to reckless endangerment, one of the original four misdemeanor charges in Circuit Court before Judge Paul A. Hackner, who sentenced her to three years, suspending all but five days with the sentence to start immediately at the county detention center.
NEWS
April 29, 2014
The continued existence of Maryland's death row a year after the General Assembly abolished capital punishment was brought into question by two events this month, one obvious and one less so. The first is the death, apparently of natural causes, of one of the five inmates put in limbo after the death penalty repeal, John Booth-el. As a result, advocates are renewing their questions about whether it would be appropriate for Maryland to go forward with executions now that the legislature has found the death penalty inappropriate.
NEWS
By Pamela Wood, The Baltimore Sun | April 28, 2014
A Dundalk woman has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for her role in a January 2013 shooting and stabbing death in Glen Burnie. Erica Tywanda Banks, 28, entered an Alford plea to first-degree murder in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court on Monday after prosecutors described a 911 tape indicating the victim told an operator before dying: "Erica Banks, she set me up. " An Alford plea means Banks does not admit guilt but acknowledges prosecutors have...
NEWS
By Leonard Pitts Jr and By Leonard Pitts Jr | April 27, 2014
It swallowed people up. That's what it really did, if you want to know the truth. It swallowed them up whole, swallowed them up by the millions. In the process, it hollowed out communities, broke families, stranded hope. Politicians brayed that they were being "tough on crime" -- as if anyone is really in favor of crime -- as they imposed ever longer and more inflexible sentences for nonviolent drug offenses. But the "War on Drugs" didn't hurt drugs at all: Usage rose by 2,800 percent -- that's not a typo -- in the 40 years after it began in 1971.
NEWS
April 24, 2014
There are about 7,000 people serving federal prison sentences for crimes related to crack cocaine who would not still be there if they had, instead, possessed or sold powder cocaine. That's the non-sensical and costly result of Congress' panic over the crack epidemic of the 1980s and 1990s - and one that has profoundly unjust consequences since blacks were more likely to use crack and whites more likely to use powder cocaine. In 2010, Congress acted to reduce that disparity in mandatory minimum sentences, but that did no good for all the people already in prison.
NEWS
By Ian Duncan, The Baltimore Sun | April 24, 2014
Six months after the seemingly random murder of a 12-year-old boy in East Baltimore, police had not been able to solve the case, and, a prosecutor said in court Tuesday, the investigation had "gone cold. " But then in December 2011, a defendant in a drug case told prosecutors he knew something about the killing. Antwan Mosley told them that the boy, Sean Johnson, was gunned down as members of the Black Guerrilla Family gang lashed out in revenge for an attack on of one of their own. "That was a key break in a tragic homicide," Assistant State's Attorney Kelly Madigan said.
NEWS
By Ian Duncan and Timothy M. Phelps, The Baltimore Sun | April 23, 2014
The U.S Justice Department invited thousands of federal convicts on Wednesday to request their release from prison, a measure that could have an outsized effect in Baltimore, where U.S. prosecutors have worked closely with local authorities. The Obama administration's plan is intended in part to lessen harsh sentences handed down under laws enacted amid fears about crack in the mid-1980s but rolled back since then. Judges have reduced many prison terms as drug distribution laws changed, but their powers have been limited by mandatory minimum sentencing rules.
NEWS
By Ian Duncan, The Baltimore Sun | April 22, 2014
A corrections officer at the Baltimore City Detention Center received a 30-month prison term Tuesday for her role in a wide-ranging drug smuggling plot hatched by members of the Black Guerrilla Family gang. Katrina Laprade, 32, pleaded guilty to a racketeering conspiracy charge in November and was sentenced the day before the anniversary of the initial indictment in the case being unsealed. Federal investigators found that inmates and the corrections officers worked together to smuggle drugs and cell phones into the downtown Baltimore jail.
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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