Posted On: June 28, 2012

Supreme Court Backs Reduced Sentences for Individuals Facing Crack Cocaine Offenses

According to The Boston Herald, the Supreme Court ruled that the “Fair Sentencing Act,” which relaxed mandatory prison sentences for crack cocaine offenses, will now cover people who were charged but not yet sentenced when this act became law in 2010. The Herald reports that the act passed with bipartisan support to eliminate a distinct disparity between the required sentences for sellers of powder cocaine, who tend to be white, and persons who sell crack cocaine, who are “disproportionately black.”

Maryland Cocaine SentencingUltimately, this new ruling means that people who committed crack cocaine crimes before more lenient penalties took effect and had received their prison sentence afterward should benefit from the new rules. Congress did not specify whether the change would be retroactive, but Justice Breyer, who wrote the majority opinion for the high court, stated that not making it retroactive would “preserve a disproportionate status quo” and would create a “new disparate sentencing cliff.”

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Posted On: June 26, 2012

What is a “Wet Reckless” Charge in Maryland?

A person charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in Maryland may face serious penalties, including jail time, steep fines, and license suspension. However, a defendant may be able to have their Maryland DUI charge reduced to a case of reckless driving, which may mean less severe penalties. A conviction of reckless driving involving alcohol, also known as a “wet reckless” conviction, may come as a result of a plea bargain in which a person’s drunk driving charge is reduced. In the state of Maryland, there is no statutory provision on whether a wet reckless plea bargain will be accepted, but an attorney may be able to arrange such a plea bargain for the defendant.

Wet reckless is defined as the ground in which a person gets relief from serious punishment by pleading that his or her blood alcohol level was just crossing the legal limit and no accident or damage was caused due to the drunk driving. In addition, the person facing conviction has not been involved in any criminal case in the past. Though a lesser drunk driving charge can mean a person may not incur penalties as severe as a standard DUI charge, insurance companies may attempt to treat a wet reckless charge the same as driving under the influence.

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Posted On: June 20, 2012

Cannibalism Suspect in Maryland Faces Criminal Charges for Earlier Attack

A 21-year-old college student already facing criminal charges for an attack in May has now been charged with more serious offenses for the horrific assault and cannibalistic murder of a 37-year-old male. The 21-year-old suspect attacked another student at Baltimore’s Morgan State University in May, hitting him with a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire and chains as he walked into the attacker’s apartment. Friends of the victim who followed the blood trail from the door to the backroom said they found the attacker standing over him with a knife, according to a news report. The suspect faces assault and reckless endangerment charges for the university dorm attack.

Days after the May attack, the victim learned that his attacker had allegedly used the same knife to kill and “carve” a 37-year-old man before eating his heart and brain. The murder victim, a Ghana native, had been staying at the family home of the attacker for six weeks when he disappeared on May 25. A Baltimore grand jury has indicted the suspect on numerous charges stemming from the Morgan State University attack including first and second degree attempted murder, first and second degree assault, and a MD weapons offense. He also faces murder and assault charges in the killing of the Ghana native.

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Posted On: June 18, 2012

FBI Report Reveals Violent Crime Rates in U.S. are Approaching Historic Lows

US Crime RateNew data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) show that violent crime rates in the U.S. are reaching historic lows, according to an report. Though the findings of the report, released in the federal organization’s Preliminary Annual Uniform Crime Report, represent a seemingly small decline in crime overall, criminologists say the decline is part of a larger downward trend and is the result of changes that have contributed to a more peaceful society. Despite the weakened economy, the crime rates are at the lowest levels since World War II and have dropped for the fifth straight year in 2011.

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Posted On: June 15, 2012

MD Man Faces Felony Charges after Crashing Vehicle into D.C. Office Building

A 32-year-old Maryland resident now faces three felony charges after he crashed his Jeep into a downtown Washington D.C. office building, according to a report from The Washington Post. According to Maryland Court documents the SUV was stolen from a woman who filed a restraining order against the 32-year old on June 8th, the day of the incident. Reports indicate that around 7:30 p.m., the Jeep drove through a full length plate glass window and came to a stop against a column in the lobby of the downtown Washington Square building. Authorities believe the driver intentionally crashed into the building which is located less than a mile from the White House.

DC Office Building Car CrashAuthorities report that the front seat of the Jeep was apparently soaked in a fluid which they believe was gasoline, and the driver pulled out a lighter and began trying to spark it. The lighter was taken away from the driver, who suffered only minor injuries in the crash. The incident spurred fears of a possible terrorist attack, and the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force was called to the scene of the accident; however, the D.C. police chief indicated in a statement that they believed the driver’s motive was not related to terrorism. The man was taken to the hospital for evaluation and later released into police custody.

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Posted On: June 13, 2012

Strong Odor in Elkridge Hotel Leads to Arrest of 5 Men on Drug Charges

Authorities were alerted anonymously of a strong odor in a room at a Holiday Inn Express in Elkridge which led to multiple arrests, according to The Washington Post. Local police received the tip around 10:40 p.m. on June 4 and, upon arriving at the hotel on Marshalee Drive, immediately detected a “strong, unusual odor” near the door of a room on the fourth floor. The officers were let into the room after knocking and spotted chemicals, according to a statement. Three men were immediately taken into custody, a fourth was arrested later when he showed up at the room, and the fifth was arrested in the hotel parking lot.

The official statement indicates that investigators believe the men were making methamphetamine for their own use, and the group was ultimately charged with drug manufacturing. Police say the men were traveling through the area for work and decided to make the drug because they were unable to find any nearby. Two of the men were from Oklahoma and the remaining three men were from North Carolina, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

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Posted On: June 6, 2012

27-Year-Old Man Arrested for Stabbing in Westminster

A 27-year-old resident of Finksburg was arrested for stabbing a man in the middle of a Westminster street, according to a report by The Baltimore Sun. Police first responded to the 200 block of E. Main Street around 5 p.m. on May 28 after receiving reports of a fight between five or six people, only to find a 37-year-old male stabbed in his left side in front of a pizza restaurant. After conducting an official investigation, police learned that a fight had broken out between the girlfriends of the alleged stabber and the victim, and the men had stepped in to try and break it up before it escalated.

The stabbing victim was transported to Maryland Shock Trauma for treatment and later released. The 27-year-old, who resides in the 1600 block of Deer Park Road in Finksburg, has been charged with concealing a dangerous weapon, possession of a dangerous weapon with intent to injure someone, and first-degree assault. At press time, a police spokesman stated he was unsure whether the arrested man had been processed or received bail at the Carroll County Detention Center.

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Posted On: June 4, 2012

Two Women in MD Accused of Stealing, Reselling $20,000 Worth of Cosmetics and Perfume

Two young women, who local authorities are labeling as “professional shoplifters,” have been accused of stealing and attempting to resell thousands of dollars worth of women’s merchandise, according to a news report in The Washington Post. Police report that the pair, ages 19 and 24-years-old, have walked into department stores across the region and stolen expensive, high-end makeup, lotions, and perfumes to later resell on the street, sometimes out of the trunk of their cars. The two “cosmetically-inclined thieves” are allegedly part of an organized shoplifting ring.

A JCPenney loss-prevention employee at the chain’s location in the Woodmore Towne Center in Glenarden recognized the women as suspects in previous shoplifting incidents and alerted authorities. Police seized almost $20,000 in makeup, perfume, and other beauty products. The women were carrying a third of the merchandise in large canvas shopping bags and the rest of the stolen goods were in their car. Both of the women were charged with theft over $1,000 and theft scheme.

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