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Traffic Court

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NEWS
March 3, 2010
W ith a minimal imposition on the public, Maryland police departments could collectively save millions of dollars in overtime - and make streets safer - by keeping officers on patrol instead of wasting their time at phantom traffic court hearings. Why is there any hesitation whatsoever among lawmakers to do this? Here is all that's required: When drivers receive a traffic citation for a relatively minor violation (such as speeding or any other infraction for which the penalty does not include jail time)
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FEATURES
By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | January 30, 2011
Gov. Martin O'Malley's proposal to raise revenue by imposing surcharges on traffic fines is likely to go nowhere — just as it did when former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. floated a similar idea. As reported in this newspaper by my colleague Annie Linskey, O'Malley's proposal could add $1,500 to the cost of a drunken driving conviction or to other violations that add up to 6 points. As much as the added penalties would be a plus for highway safety, history shows the idea will run into implacable opposition from the public and the General Assembly.
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FEATURES
By Michael Dresser Getting there | March 29, 2010
I f you ever get a traffic ticket in Baltimore County and decide to go to trial, with a little luck you'll wind up in Judge Dorothy J. Wilson's courtroom in Catonsville. You might not like the result, but at least you'll get a demonstration of how to be an effective traffic court judge. Every once in a while, I find a reason to observe the workings of the state's District Courts, which handle most of the traffic cases in Maryland. I do this because I see this level of the judiciary as an essential line of defense against traffic mayhem.
NEWS
Jacques Kelly | September 10, 2010
As a child, I learned political science Baltimore style. What mattered was who could fix a traffic ticket and who could get an alley paved. Figures like George Fallon and Eddie Garmatz were not men with names on downtown federal office buildings. They were neighbors, occasionally relatives of classmates. They were part of the Baltimore landscape. You did not run into them at City Hall or in Annapolis. You said hello at the neighborhood A&P. Cozy? You bet. I never knew just how many of the people I really knew until I came upon a 1947 map published in The Sun. It was by Richard Q. "Moco" Yardley, the wonderful cartoonist whose humor brought elected officials and their cronies into proper Baltimore perspective.
NEWS
By Dan Rodricks Loyola College intern Lisa Wiseman contributed to this column | December 3, 1990
Cop: You were going 70 miles an hour.Chico: Ah, you make a mistake, officer. We haven't been out an hour. We stole dis car 15 minutes ago.Cop: Do you guys know that you were driving on the wrong side of the street, that you crashed through a fence, knocked down a lamppost, smashed a wagon and damaged the car in front of you?Groucho: See here, officer. I paid three dollars for my driver's license. Doesn't that entitle me to any privileges?Cop: Pipe down and take this ticket.Chico: Hey, officer, how about giving me a ticket?
NEWS
By MICHAEL DRESSER | May 5, 2008
Christopher Winslow of Baltimore is an ardent opponent of speed cameras who thinks I "really do follow the party line - the Nazi Party that is." He found my suggestion two weeks ago that citizens monitor the performance of their traffic courts to be downright sinister. Speed cameras, and now spies and informants on traffic court judges? I know your objective is to save lives and make Maryland's roads a safer place, but at what cost? It strikes me that in the Declaration of Independence and the sentence `Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,' you seem to have only focused on the life part.
NEWS
By Lisa Goldberg and Lisa Goldberg,SUN STAFF | December 24, 2000
Ellicott City resident D. Edwards was late. The telecommunications company employee, who works a tech support night shift, tried to make it to Howard County District Court by 10 a.m. - her appointed time in traffic court - but Wednesday morning's icy streets slowed her. She figured that arriving 20 minutes late wouldn't make much of a difference - the last time she was in traffic court, she sat for more than two hours. Not here. Not today. By 10:15 a.m., Judge Neil Edward Axel had disposed of the 10 a.m. docket - thanks to a lot of no-shows - and Edwards was standing at the clerk's counter, asking for a new court date for her traffic cases.
NEWS
By Stephanie Hanes and Stephanie Hanes,SUN STAFF | June 7, 2003
A law professor and former Baltimore attorney says he wants to help a White Marsh teen-ager appeal his traffic court fine, which a judge increased from $30 to $250 after learning that the teen swore as he drove away from the ticketing officer. Matthew Bennett, who once litigated police misconduct cases in Baltimore and now teaches U.S. constitutional law in Europe, said Towson District Judge Robert E. Cahill Jr. violated 18-year-old Ryan Blacker's free-speech rights when he raised the fine on his "failure to display license on demand" ticket.
NEWS
By From the archives of the Historical Society of Carroll County | October 15, 1995
75 years agoThe activities of plainclothes patrolmen in rounding up owners of untitled automobiles is causing considerable uneasiness among those who have neglected to comply with the title law, and some of those who have obtained titles are disturbed by the unhappy experiences of others who have confused body and chassis numbers with engine numbers in making out their applications. P.W. Wiedenmeyer, of Baltimore, who was fined $500 in the traffic court Thursday on a charge of giving false information, claims that he is a victim of such confusion and has appealed his case to a higher court.
NEWS
BY A SUN STAFF WRITER | March 22, 2003
Baltimore police arrested and charged a man yesterday who was wanted in connection with a homicide in September in Northwest Baltimore, a police spokeswoman said. William Lindsay Beverley, 35, of the 300 block of S. Fremont Ave. faces first-degree murder and first- and second-degree assault charges in the death of Walter Emory Bedford, 50, of the 500 block of Linwood Ave., said Officer Nicole Monroe. Bedford's body was found Sept. 5 in a house in the 1700 block of Union Ave., Monroe said.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | May 4, 2010
With parents of children killed in sexual and gang attacks looking on, Gov. Martin O'Malley signed more than a half-dozen bills Tuesday increasing penalties for offenders and offering new protections for victims of such crimes. The bills were among more than 200 signed into law by the governor four weeks after the General Assembly completed its annual session, including measures intended to improve the performance of public schools, extend new job protections to correctional officers and streamline the operations of traffic courts.
NEWS
By Baltimore Sun staff | April 12, 2010
Traffic court changes Updated 1:32 p.m.: The Senate just gave final approval to a House bill that would shift the burden to the driver who receives a ticket to request a trial in traffic court. The bill, which passed unanimously, was a top priority for thye state's police chiefs because they believe it will save them millions of dollars in overtime paid to officers who go to traffic court for the trials of defendants who don't show up. Once implemented, the bill will change the all-too-familiar routine for those who receive traffic tickets so that they don't receive and automatic court date.
FEATURES
By Michael Dresser Getting there | March 29, 2010
I f you ever get a traffic ticket in Baltimore County and decide to go to trial, with a little luck you'll wind up in Judge Dorothy J. Wilson's courtroom in Catonsville. You might not like the result, but at least you'll get a demonstration of how to be an effective traffic court judge. Every once in a while, I find a reason to observe the workings of the state's District Courts, which handle most of the traffic cases in Maryland. I do this because I see this level of the judiciary as an essential line of defense against traffic mayhem.
NEWS
By Dan Rodricks | March 4, 2010
Well, God be praised and all that, there's at long last a proposal in the Maryland General Assembly to save time, money and aggravation by having cops only appear for traffic cases in which defendants intend to do the same. No more no-shows for speeding tickets. If you don't pay your fine by mail because you want your day in court, you'll have to ask for one. It's a beautiful thing, and I hope it passes. I have seen a modest version of hell: cops showing up for trial, the presumption being that the motorists they had ticketed intended to appear and contest their speeding tickets.
NEWS
March 3, 2010
W ith a minimal imposition on the public, Maryland police departments could collectively save millions of dollars in overtime - and make streets safer - by keeping officers on patrol instead of wasting their time at phantom traffic court hearings. Why is there any hesitation whatsoever among lawmakers to do this? Here is all that's required: When drivers receive a traffic citation for a relatively minor violation (such as speeding or any other infraction for which the penalty does not include jail time)
NEWS
By Mike Schaefer | November 15, 2009
Each day, the District Court at 700 E. Patapsco St. has a roomful of parking ticket culprits who feel they are not guilty, or cannot afford the fines and penalties, or are gambling on the officer not showing up (so they win by default). About a dozen enforcement officers spend one to two hours to see that justice is done. The judge (with a $127,252 salary) is supported by two clerks and two bailiffs (the latter costing $35,000 a year each). Some judges are in good moods, some not; this is generally the least-desired of judicial assignments.
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