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“Disappointed”

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Federation confronts school system over sex abuse cases

MCCF MCPSMontgomery County Public Schools officials are up in arms following a contentious meeting of the Montgomery County Civic Federation last month, during which audience members angrily confronted Superintendent Jack Smith over MCPS’ handling of lawsuits related to child sex abuse in County schools.

“I am extremely disappointed that Dr. Smith was treated disrespectfully by audience participants, who were misguided about the approved agenda for the meeting,” MCPS Chief of Staff Henry Johnson wrote in a letter to MCCF president Jim Zepp. “In fairness to the superintendent, the MCCF leadership should have interceded and accepted responsibility for not informing the superintendent of the alternative agenda.”

According to Johnson, Smith’s attendance at the Jan. 8 meeting – which had an announced topic of “What’s in the MCPS Fiscal Year 2019 Operating Budget?” – was secured in August of last year after Smith was invited to discuss the MCPS budget around the time it would be considered by the County Council.

While Smith did deliver remarks on the budget, as planned, he was later accosted by audience members demanding he comment on a resolution the Federation passed late last year relating to child abuse and neglect and concerns of how much money the District was spending on legal settlements.

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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.

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