Court Report

Musings on a local drug kingpin

gavel2Maryland’s Criminal Law Article includes among the laws criminalizing possession and sale of illegal drugs a “drug kingpin” statute.  The  law defines a “drug kingpin” as an “organizer, supervisor, financier or manager who acts as a co-conspirator in a conspiracy to manufacture, distribute, dispense, transport in, or bring into the State a Controlled Dangerous Substance.” 


Don't try to cut a deal with police

gavel2It is not unusual when watching police dramas to see a suspect in the interview room talking about cutting a plea deal. In the real world, plea negotiations can only happen when a defendant is communicating with the prosecutor, which in Maryland would typically be an Assistant State’s Attorney. This was made clear by a recent opinion from Maryland’s Court of Special Appeals called Ottus Savoy v. State.


Out of state tickets still count

gavel2Many people who hold a Maryland driver’s license may think that if they get a speeding ticket while driving in another state, they can just pay the fine and not worry about the violation affecting their Maryland driver’s license. Just how wrong that is was discussed by Maryland’s highest Court in an opinion this week in a case called Motor Vehicle Administration v. Salop.


The right to confront DNA expert

gavel2Under the 6th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and Article 21 of the Maryland Declaration of Rights, a person charged with a crime has the right to confront the witnesses against him. In this day and age where scientific evidence is often sought to be used in criminal cases, making sure the defendant’s rights under the confrontation clause are protected can be tricky for the Court. This is illustrated by an opinion last month from Maryland’s intermediate appellate Court called Norton v. State.


Sex offenders and The Constitution

gavel2Maryland law since 1995 has provided that persons convicted of certain sex offenses must register with at State Sex Offender Registry. The federal Sex Offender Registration & Notification Act led to changes in Maryland’s statutes in 2009 and 2010, to adopt a uniform tiered approach to the requirements of registration.


Pondering help for the indigent

gavel2There is plenty of negative publicity about lawyers, not to mention the jokes that are frequent in entertainment circles. Those of us who represent clients and realize the important services that lawyers provide often rue the fact the positive news about lawyers rarely makes its way into the media.