April 19, 2013

Revised Maryland Gun Control Bill Ready for Governor’s Signature

Maryland’s gun laws are about to become among the strictest in the U.S. As reported by Fox News, the new gun control bill received final passage in the Maryland Senate after slight changes to the bill were approved on Wednesday by the House of Delegates. The Senate vote was 28 in favor, 19 opposed. The measure is now on its way to the desk of Governor Martin O’Malley who proposed the new legislation.

The new bill restricts firearms access for the mentally ill, bans 45 types of assault rifles, and limits gun magazine capacity to ten. Those who purchase handguns will be required to submit fingerprints to the state police, making Maryland the first state in almost 20 years to pass such a requirement. Fingerprints are required in only five other states: New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Hawaii.

Governor O’Malley said the bill’s success demonstrated that the majority of Maryland’s citizens support reducing gun violence through advancing legislation that will save lives.

Continue reading "Revised Maryland Gun Control Bill Ready for Governor’s Signature" »

April 17, 2013

Gun Control Receives Final Approval in Maryland House of Delegates

As reported by somd.com, a slightly changed version of Governor Martin O’Malley’s gun control bill was approved by Maryland delegates on Wednesday, April 3rd, after two long days of debate on the House floor.

All of the most significant provisions of the version passed by the Senate were kept intact. Those include the following:

  • Limit the mentally ill’s access to firearms
  • Ban assault rifles
  • Lower magazines’ ammunition capacity from 20 to ten
  • Require fingerprinting of individuals who purchase handguns
  • Require at least eight hours of safety training for those who purchase handguns
Conservative Democrats and Republicans made several attempts to amend the bill. Efforts were made to narrow the definition of assault rifle, get rid of the mandate for fingerprinting those who buy handguns, and to delay the date the bill would take effect.

Continue reading "Gun Control Receives Final Approval in Maryland House of Delegates" »

December 9, 2010

Baltimore Listed as 11th Most Dangerous City in U.S.

An annual report on city crime statistics ranks Baltimore, Maryland as number 11 on the list of the most dangerous cities in the United States, according to WBALTV.

The report was published by CQ Press, an independent publisher and was released on Sunday, November 21. Each city’s murder, aggravated assault, rape, burglary, robbery, and motor vehicle theft rates were taken into account when determining how dangerous a city was for the year 2009. Last year, Baltimore was ranked number 12. Overall, St. Louis, Missouri was named the most dangerous city in the nation, surpassing Camden, New Jersey. The national average of violent crime is 429.4 per 100,000 residents, while St. Louis reported 2,070.1 violent crimes per 100,000 residents in 2009. Rounding out the top five most dangerous cities in the U.S. were Detroit, Michigan; Flint, Michigan; and Oakland, California. For the second year in a row, Colonie, New York was named the safest city with over 75,000 residents in America.

For the report, crime data and population numbers were collected by the FBI. However, some criminologists question whether the methodology is fair and say the statistics and rankings should be questioned.

Continue reading "Baltimore Listed as 11th Most Dangerous City in U.S." »

November 9, 2010

Alpert Schreyer, LLC Established as New Maryland Personal Injury and Criminal Defense Law Firm

According to a recent press release, attorneys Andrew D. Alpert and Michael Schreyer have merged their Maryland law practices to form Alpert Schreyer, LLC. Offices will be located throughout the Maryland area, including locations in Bowie, California, and Waldorf.

Long-time Maryland residents, Alpert and Schreyer have provided legal representation to residents in the D.C. and Maryland areas for several decades. The two attorneys formed the new trial law firm in order to provide clients with legal assistance in both criminal defense and personal injury lawsuits. The founding partners have extensive experience and skill at trial, as do their associates Joseph P. Hart, H. James West, and Jennifer F. Hare.

The Maryland law firm will handle personal injury cases that involve ATV, bicycle, boat, car, motorcycle, pedestrian, SUV, train, truck, and 15-passenger van accidents; catastrophic, brain, burn, and spinal cord injuries; nursing home abuse and neglect; and wrongful death.

Continue reading "Alpert Schreyer, LLC Established as New Maryland Personal Injury and Criminal Defense Law Firm" »

April 7, 2010

Montgomery County DUI and DWI Defense Attorneys

As one of the most affluent counties in the United States, Montgomery County is located in Maryland, southwest of Baltimore and just north of Washington, D.C. As a major part of both the Washington Metropolitan Area and the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area, it is no surprise that Montgomery County has approximately 950,680 inhabitants as of July 2008. The county seat and largest municipality of Montgomery County is Rockville and most of the county’s residents live in unincorporated locales. As a result of being such a heavily populated and well-traveled region, visitors and inhabitants passing through Montgomery County may experience their share of DUI (driving under the influence) and DWI (driving while impaired) arrests.

In order to be charged with DWI in Maryland, a person must have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.07. To be arrested for the more serious charge of DUI in Maryland, a motorist must have a BAC of 0.08. Even so, being charged with DUI or DWI does not mean that an individual will be convicted. Although being accused of driving while impaired or under the influence is often a confusing and overwhelming experience, accused individuals have important legal rights that should be defended. With an aggressive and skilled Montgomery County DWI defense lawyer on your side, you can trust that a strong defense can be made on your behalf.

Continue reading "Montgomery County DUI and DWI Defense Attorneys" »

April 5, 2010

La Plata DUI and DWI Defense Attorneys

Stretching 6.9 square miles in size, La Plata, Maryland is the county seat of Charles County and houses a population of approximately 8,879 residents as of July 2008 estimates. Many La Plata residents commute to other areas, such as Washington, D.C. and Waldorf, for work. However, as of late, the city of La Plata has undergone a transformation into a business center, thanks largely in part to the recent development of office buildings and other area-wide construction.

Consequently, with the advent of new business comes an increase in traffic and local law enforcement patrols of La Plata city roads and highways. Couple that with the fact that La Plata has experienced population growth of more than 35% since the year 2000, and you are left with a large number of people who are potential victims of false arrest for driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while intoxicated (DWI). When facing DUI charges, a good course of action is to retain the services of an experienced La Plata DUI defense attorney that will examine the circumstances under which an individual was arrested, and mount a strong defense on behalf of that individual.

Continue reading "La Plata DUI and DWI Defense Attorneys" »

March 31, 2010

Howard County DUI and DWI Defense Attorneys

Located right between Baltimore and Washington, D.C., Howard County, Maryland is one of the most affluent counties in the nation, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. With a population of approximately 269,457 residents as of 2005 estimates, Howard County is 252 square miles in size, and holds the distinction of being the only county in the state of Maryland that is entirely enclosed by land. Its county seat is Ellicott City, and Howard County, due to its close proximity to Baltimore, is considered a part of the Baltimore Metropolitan area.

Areas such as Howard County are often brimming with motorists, and as such, arrests for driving under the influence (DUI) are not uncommon. However, just because an individual has been accused of DUI in Howard County, it does not mean that the individual is actually guilty of such an accusation. Numerous factors come into play in any Maryland DUI case, and all factors need to be carefully examined in order to ascertain the most accurate picture of the events that transpired during the alleged instance of DUI.

Continue reading "Howard County DUI and DWI Defense Attorneys" »

March 29, 2010

Charles County DUI and DWI Defense Attorneys

Part of the Washington Metropolitan Area, Charles County is located in southern Maryland and houses a population of 140,444 residents according to 2007 estimates. While Charles County has a total land area of 643 square miles, 182 square miles is water and 461 square miles is land. In addition, Charles County has a population density of 303 residents per square mile (also as of 2007 estimates). The county seat of Charles County, La Plata, is home to the College of Southern Maryland.

Being a major part of the Washington Metropolitan Area, Charles County is no stranger to vehicular traffic entering into and leaving county limits. Consequently, accusations of driving under the influence (DUI) are common, and many residents and visitors may find themselves facing charges that they are not in fact guilty of. A good course of action for a motorist facing a Charles County DUI charge is to retain the services of a skilled defense attorney that has the experience and know-how to aggressively combat such charges, protecting the rights of the motorist in the process.

Continue reading "Charles County DUI and DWI Defense Attorneys" »

March 24, 2010

Calvert County DUI and DWI Defense Attorneys

Located in Southern Maryland, Calvert County houses a population of about 86,000 (as of 2004 estimates) and has the city of Prince Frederick as its county seat. As one of the several counties that make up the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area, Calvert County has a land area of 215 square miles, and a total area of 345 square miles. Originally known for its farmland, Calvert County is now known as an exurb, meaning that residents commute into larger metropolitan areas for work opportunities. With so many residents commuting into and out of Calvert County, it is no wonder that instances of DUI and DWI affect so many motorists on the road.

Maryland saw more than 24,000 arrests made for DUI in 2007. However, not all motorists accused of driving under the influence are guilty. The circumstances surrounding a DUI charge in Calvert County need to be carefully examined in order to determine as accurately as possible what in fact happened. A good course of action for an individual facing such charges is to retain the services of an experienced Calvert County DUI defense attorney who will mount a strong defense.

Continue reading "Calvert County DUI and DWI Defense Attorneys" »

March 23, 2010

Family of Deceased Bicyclist Files $5 Million Lawsuit

According to a Baltimore Sun article, on August 4, 2009, a 67-year-old man was traveling south by bicycle along Baltimore’s Maryland Avenue when he became entangled in the rear wheels of a truck. The man was run over and killed as the vehicle turned right on Lafayette Avenue in the Charles North neighborhood. The driver of the fully loaded fuel tanker failed to stop, although investigators do not believe the driver was aware of the accident. The cyclist died at the scene.

The civil suit, filed March 3, 2010 on behalf of the victim’s family, alleges negligence on the part of the driver and his employer, a local demolition, excavation and equipment rental company. The wrongful-death lawsuit seeks compensatory damages of $5 million.

The victim’s attorney claims that the driver is to blame due to surveillance video that shows the driver failing to signal as he makes the right turn. He also contends that the driver failed to make sure the area was clear and free of cyclists and pedestrians before turning right.

Continue reading "Family of Deceased Bicyclist Files $5 Million Lawsuit" »

March 22, 2010

Bethesda DUI and DWI Defense Attorneys

According to Forbes magazine, Bethesda, Maryland ranks first as the most educated small town in the nation. An unincorporated area with no official boundaries, Bethesda has a population of about 59,000 as of July 2007 estimates, and measures only 13.2 square miles in size. Located just Northwest of Washington D.C., Bethesda is no stranger to many people traversing its roads and highways each year.

In 2007, there were a total of 24,230 DUI arrests made in Maryland. With such an influx of travelers coming and going, accusations of driving while under the influence are bound to affect Bethesda motorists. In the event that a motorist is accused of DUI in Bethesda, it is usually in the motorist’s best interest to retain the services of an experienced defense attorney who will examine every detail surrounding the motorist’s arrest, ensuring that a strong defense is mounted on their behalf.

Continue reading "Bethesda DUI and DWI Defense Attorneys" »

March 18, 2010

Maryland Passes Harsher Laws Regarding Sex Offenders

On Friday, March 12, 2010, Maryland legislators moved to toughen laws regarding sex offenders. According to an article on the Baltimore Sun, harsher terms will include truth-in-sentencing provisions for violent and repeat offenders, longer supervision after prison and an expansion of the state’s public registry. The House Judiciary Committee, a government organization that deals with crime legislation, approved seven out of the 75 bills introduced in order to address sex offenses.

"This will have a serious impact on sex offenders in the state," said House Judiciary Chairman, Joseph F. Vallario Jr.

Most adult and juvenile violent and repeat sex offenders, including first- or second-degree rape or other similar sex offenses will be required to have lifetime supervision in addition to having to register as a sex offender in Maryland and being added to Maryland’s existing sex offender registry. Some feel that lifetime supervision is a misnomer as offenders can seek an end to the supervision after five years if trained supervisors and a judge agree to it. The degree of supervision has not been allocated and will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Continue reading "Maryland Passes Harsher Laws Regarding Sex Offenders" »

March 16, 2010

Woman Accused of Smuggling Drugs into Maryland Prison

According to a recent story, a 23-year-old woman from Glen Burnie was arrested for allegedly smuggling drugs into Roxbury Correctional Institution in Hagerstown, Maryland while visiting an incarcerated inmate. The report states that after receiving an anonymous tip, Police used drug sniffing dogs to catch the woman who turned over four latex balloons containing marijuana and heroin to authorities.

The suspect reportedly had two young children with her, both of whom were immediately handed over to social services following the incident. The young woman has six drug charges against her and as a consequence, faces a maximum of 36 years in prison and $68,000 in fines.

Under Maryland law, possession or use of any amount of marijuana is punishable by jail time and hefty fines. Heroin, a Schedule I narcotic, merits some of the most severe punishments in the criminal justice system.

Continue reading "Woman Accused of Smuggling Drugs into Maryland Prison" »

March 9, 2010

Two Men Arrested for Police Evasion, Drugs and Outstanding Warrant

Police in Cambridge, Maryland arrested two men on February 10, 2010 after they attempted to elude police during a traffic stop. According to news reports, when officers attempted to stop a vehicle for driving against a state of emergency order issued due to severe weather, the driver failed to pull over and attempted to elude the officers. Fortunately for police, when the driver turned from Washington Street onto St. Clair Avenue, his car became stuck in the snow. Three individuals then jumped from the vehicle and proceeded to flee on foot. The officers were able to catch and arrest both the driver and the front seat passenger.

The arresting officers found 22.3 grams of marijuana on the floor of the front passenger’s seat. The driver, a 22-year-old from Rhodesdale, was driving on a suspended driver’s license. In addition, the front seat passenger, a 25-year-old from Cambridge, was wanted on an outstanding warrant for 13 counts of animal cruelty. Both face multiple charges, and are being held at Dorchester County Detention Center.

Continue reading "Two Men Arrested for Police Evasion, Drugs and Outstanding Warrant" »

March 2, 2010

New Bill Proposes DUI Plates for Repeat Offenders

Based on an article from wboc.com, a proposed bill would require residents of Maryland who are convicted of three or more DUIs to have a special yellow license plate that reads “DUI.” The Prince George’s County lawmaker backing the bill feels that drivers should be aware of repeat Maryland DUI offenders on the road.

The bill would also mandate the plates for five years following the third DUI conviction. Maryland officials indicated that there are 2,029 drivers in the state who would be required to have the plates should the bill pass. Officials from AAA mid-Atlantic told members of the House Judiciary Committee that other states have recently been adopting similar measures.

Similar bills have been proposed in the past, but have failed to win approval. Many still feel that this bill could have embarrassing and excessive repercussions for those convicted of multiple DUIs. The new bill could also make it difficult for those with the DUI license plate to find employment and could lead to unnecessary social alienation.

Continue reading "New Bill Proposes DUI Plates for Repeat Offenders" »

February 25, 2010

Prosecutors Bid to Increase Penalties for PCP Drug Possession

Washington D.C. prosecutors are weighing support for the city’s bid to increase PCP drug possession charges to felony charges under the pretext that violent psychosis caused by the drug warrants the increase of punishment. Based on a recent article, defense lawyers argue that possession of the drug without intent to sell should not garner long-term prison sentences.
Phencyclidine, a chemical substance commonly known as PCP, has been blamed for causing numerous violent rampages in Washington D.C. According to the District’s Pretrial Service Agency, nine percent of adults arrested in the District last year tested positive for the drug. The drug is known to cause paranoid thoughts, feelings of abnormal power, invulnerability and strength as well as panic and a sense of impending death.

Should the bid succeed, liquid PCP drug possession offenders will be punished with up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine on top of having a felony charge on their records. Defense attorneys rally that harsher penalties will result in more incarcerations, something many local governments are against.

Continue reading "Prosecutors Bid to Increase Penalties for PCP Drug Possession" »

February 23, 2010

Maryland Train Track Incident Kills 2 Workers

A recent examiner.com article reported that two veteran workers on the Washington area’s transit system were killed in Rockville, MD on January 26, 2010 after being crushed by a maintenance truck. Apparently, the automatic train technicians, ages 49 and 68, were installing new train control safety equipment in the track bed when a high rail truck struck them. The track was supposed to have been closed for the evening. However, the special vehicle that hit the two men is capable of operating on the track even when electricity is off, thus explaining its presence during the maintenance work.

With this latest fatal Metro incident, the public is reminded of how deadly a work environment Metro has been for U.S. transit rail workers over the past five years. A National Transportation Safety Board investigator said that the rail truck in this incident was in reverse, which is not uncommon. The Chairman of the Metro board of directors stated that this tragic accident was the direct result of human error.

Continue reading "Maryland Train Track Incident Kills 2 Workers" »

February 19, 2010

Maryland Prisons May Have to Notify Federal Authorities of Possible Immigrants

Maryland lawmakers are addressing a bill that, if approved, will require prisons in Maryland to inform federal authorities of an inmate’s questionable status in terms of being in the country illegally. According to a recent Baltimore Sun article, the bill could potentially save the state of Maryland millions of dollars. Reportedly, the bill may make it easier to detect and deport illegal immigrants instead of spending money on their incarceration, parole, and probation. However, the bill does not specify how prison officials will obtain information regarding immigration status. This uncertainty may impose discrimination upon inmates and increase tension within prisons.

Senator James E. DeGrange Sr. stated that the bill is a response to a law that went into effect in October 2009, making it mandatory for prison officials to issue identification cards to all inmates when released. Based on the article, many lawmakers are worried that illegal immigrants who are released from prison with these cards may use them to get various forms of identification. Lawmakers voted to restrict driver’s licenses from being given to people without documentation showing that they are in the U.S. legally. Before this, Maryland was one of only four states without any laws prohibiting such action.

Continue reading "Maryland Prisons May Have to Notify Federal Authorities of Possible Immigrants" »

February 10, 2010

Maryland's Increase in Monitoring Violent and Sex Offenders

In examining possible reasons for why crime has showed a decrease in Maryland, a baltimoresun.com article reflects how the Division of Parole and Probation has paid more attention to known violent and sexual offenders. In this regard, “paying more attention” refers to assigning all sex offenders to specially trained agents, placing those offenders under required and strict probationary terms, and then monitoring them via GPS. In fact, every sex offender is placed on GPS monitoring for 90 days, during which time he or she is subject to harsh curfews and restricted movements.

Violent offenders are placed in the Violence Prevention Initiative and, along with sex offenders, are closely marked for violations. Based on the article, as of January 2010 and since the Parole and Probation has been implementing GPS monitoring of sex offenders beginning in February 2009, 231 sex offenders and 1,300 total offenders have been placed on GPS monitoring.

Continue reading "Maryland's Increase in Monitoring Violent and Sex Offenders" »

January 21, 2010

Forensic Expert Indicates a Lack of DNA Evidence in Homicide Trial

Testimony from a forensic DNA expert was heard during the trial of a 39-year-old man charged with the murder of a 27-year-old Salisbury man. Two other suspects were previously indicted by a grand jury for the killing after paramedics found the victim unconscious with his ankles and wrists duct taped inside the home of one of the accused. According to prosecutors, drugs and money were the motive behind the killing. A fourth individual who was allegedly involved, was found dead earlier this year from an apparent suicide.

During the December trial, the defense’s forensic DNA expert testified that there was no DNA evidence linking the defendant to the evidence submitted by police for testing. Maryland State Police submitted 21 pieces of evidence; however, swab samples taken from the items, and not the items themselves, were used for testing purposes.

Continue reading "Forensic Expert Indicates a Lack of DNA Evidence in Homicide Trial" »

January 19, 2010

New Application Alerts Drivers to DUI Checkpoints

Drivers with a GPS or Smartphone can now receive instant warnings when approaching DUI checkpoints and speed traps as well as red light and speed cameras. Police fear that this will aid offenders in escaping arrest. Phantom Alert is the company that produces the application which began as a method to help drivers avoid tickets for a small fee.

The checkpoint notification shows up on devices as a martini glass followed by a police car. In Washington D.C, common DUI checkpoints are around popular nightspots. Employees at Phantom Alert are instructed to search police press releases and news reports for new locations. There is also an option for users to report their own findings, which can be helpful to other users since in areas like Montgomery County, Maryland, police sometimes announce checkpoints without specific locations.

Continue reading "New Application Alerts Drivers to DUI Checkpoints" »

January 12, 2010

Report Shows that Police Taser Use Does Not Follow Standards

Two years ago a man died after a police officer shot him twice with a taser outside of his home in Frederick. Although a grand jury ruled that the officer was justified in his actions, Maryland’s Attorney General was prompted to begin a comprehensive review of police use of tasers. The breakthrough findings were recently released.

The report indicated that police officers have an over-reliance on the weapon, despite the fact that they are told in training to treat tasers as if they were guns or other deadly weapons. The report also showed that not all officers should use tasers and that the weapon should not be used against unarmed people fleeing or destroying evidence as the device can cause death or serious injury in certain circumstances.

Continue reading "Report Shows that Police Taser Use Does Not Follow Standards" »

January 7, 2010

Maryland Pushes for Stricter Gun Laws

The state of Maryland has recently been marked with an increase in gun violence, homicides and police involved shootings, especially in Baltimore City. One solution that many are vying for is stricter gun laws and sentencing for gun offenders as well as no credit for good behavior to shorten prison time. The governor supports harsher legislation for gun violence and better prosecution to put offenders in jail for longer periods of time. However, tougher gun laws have failed in the past few years and leaders are planning to push for stricter legislation in the next year.

The second amendment of the constitution gives Americans the right to bear arms. However protection laws can be confusing to legal gun owners. Many people who face firearm charges in Maryland have criminal records; however, there are also many individuals charged who are legal owners of firearms who did not know they were breaking the law. Many prosecutors and leaders in Maryland agree with stricter gun legislation and will continue to push for reform. This means that even small violations can hold a mandatory minimum jail sentence.

Continue reading "Maryland Pushes for Stricter Gun Laws" »

December 3, 2009

Ocean City Traffic Stop Nets Fugitive

Ocean City police have arrested a 24-year-old Washington D.C. man who was wanted on charges in two Maryland Counties including first-degree assault and armed robbery. According to a mdcoastdispatch.com report, the suspect was taken into police custody after his identity was discovered during a routine traffic stop.

According to the article, when the suspect, Christopher McCray, was pulled over in a traffic stop by the Ocean City Police, he allegedly gave the officers a false name and birth date. However, the officers were later able to determine that the man had two existing warrants for his arrest including failure to appear for a court date in St. Mary's County and for first-degree assault and armed robbery in Prince George's County. In addition, the man now faces charges in Ocean City for driving a vehicle without rear registration illumination, driving without a license, giving a false and fictitious name to police, and other traffic offenses.

Continue reading "Ocean City Traffic Stop Nets Fugitive" »

November 24, 2009

Maryland Library Theft Ring: 12 Charged with Stealing Books Worth $87K

A recent wjz.com report discussed the arrest of twelve people for being alleged participants in a library theft ring in Maryland. According to the article, police discovered the suspects by tracking overdue books, uncollected fines and missing hardbacks worth thousands of dollars on the Internet. It appears to Police that all twelve suspects played a role in the alleged library theft ring. The twelve suspects allegedly checked out expensive library books, failed to return them, and then sold them online or to used book stores. The value of the 822 stolen library books amounted to more than $87,000.

Police stated that the library book thefts began in November 2008 and went undetected for so long due to each library system allowing up to 75 books to be checked out simultaneously. In addition, prosecutors believe that the ring began checking out books in Prince George’s County Library and then made its way to Harford, Baltimore, Baltimore City, and Carroll counties.

Continue reading "Maryland Library Theft Ring: 12 Charged with Stealing Books Worth $87K" »

November 20, 2009

Insufficient Evidence Leads to Dismissal of Prostitution Charges

According to a baltimoresun.com article, prostitution charges have been dropped against a man from Patterson Park, Maryland due to insufficient evidence. Apparently, two women accused of being prostitutes refused to testify against the defendant. Since no other witnesses were available, and due to additional information and evidence not being strong enough to stand on its own without witness testimony, the charges were dropped. In relation to this case, the Assistant State’s Attorney stated, “The evidence was insufficient to proceed with the charges.”

In the beginning, the man’s case was introduced to the public as one that was full of insurmountable evidence. Such claims can make the public quickly forget that all people are innocent until proven guilty. This particular situation serves as a reminder that just because a person is arrested for a particular crime, it does not mean that they committed any illegal action.

Continue reading "Insufficient Evidence Leads to Dismissal of Prostitution Charges" »

November 18, 2009

NBA Player Faces Maryland Concealed Weapons Charges

After being arrested for speeding on a motorcycle and carrying multiple weapons, an NBA player was indicted recently on additional weapons and traffic charges related to his September arrest. According to an nba.com story, the athlete was riding a motorcycle along the Capital Beltway in Prince George’s County at 10 p.m. while carrying two loaded handguns and a loaded shotgun. A recent addition to the list of concealed weapons being carried by the man included an 8 ½-inch Bowie knife.

The article explains that it is illegal in the State of Maryland to carry concealed weapons and to transport loaded handguns. The misdemeanor charges that this man now faces include:

  • Two counts of carrying a dangerous weapon

  • Two counts of carrying a handgun

  • Two counts of transporting a handgun

  • One count reckless driving

  • One count negligent driving

Each of the weapon counts carries a penalty of up to three years in prison if the athlete is convicted. When the initial charges were filed, the man was facing only two counts of carrying a handgun and with driving in excess of reasonable and prudent speed.

Continue reading "NBA Player Faces Maryland Concealed Weapons Charges" »

November 3, 2009

Alexandria Ex-Chief of Police Faces Collateral Consequences of a DUI Arrest

In July 2009, a police chief was caught driving drunk in an unmarked city car after being in a fender-bender in Arlington County, according to a Washington Post article. Speaking publically now for the first time regarding his DUI arrest, the former police chief’s story reveals just how serious and all-encompassing DUI consequences can be.

According to the article, the arrested man was with the Alexandria department for about 20 years and served as chief for the last three. One of the most detrimental consequences of his DUI arrest was having to step down from a job that he loved. He also continues to experience the distress and embarrassment of being a man with a criminal record. But that is not all. Recently, when the former Alexandria police chief was on the phone attempting to get a new life insurance policy, he was told, “There’s nothing I can do for you.”

Continue reading "Alexandria Ex-Chief of Police Faces Collateral Consequences of a DUI Arrest" »

October 27, 2009

National Pagans Motorcycle Club President is One of 55 Arrested

A man from Myersville, Maryland, considered to be the President of the National Pagans Motorcycle Club, has been accused of leading the supposedly wide-spread outlaw biker gang in extortion, robbery, kidnapping, plotting to commit murder, weapons violations, and drug dealing, according to the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia. Based on a baltimoresun.com report, more than 50 members and associates of the alleged gang are accused of conspiracy to kill and extort rival bikers in order to establish themselves as the top gang of bikers in the area. Those accused are reported to be in West Virginia, Kentucky, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Florida.

According to the article, within the 44-count, 83-page indictment document against those arrested, it is stated: “The PMC and its existing support clubs unlawfully threatened and intimidated people who wanted to start a motorcycle club in the PMC territory.” The article also mentioned that federal prosecutors are in search of holding the alleged leaders, including the Maryland man, and 20 others, without bail.

Continue reading "National Pagans Motorcycle Club President is One of 55 Arrested" »

October 22, 2009

Study Shows that Risk of Being Shot and Killed Increases for those Carrying Guns

According to an article from newscientist.com, a group of researchers at the University of Pennsylvania conducted a study that has citizens across the U.S. contemplating the risk of carrying a loaded weapon. Apparently, in examining 677 shootings over a period of two and a half years to see if victims were carrying a gun at the time, the study found that individuals who carry guns are 4.5 times as likely to be shot and 4.2 times as likely to be killed compared to an unarmed individual. The research also showed that the chances of a victim being shot were even higher in incidents where he or she had an opportunity to defend themselves with a gun.

Based on the article, this study is considered by its operators to be just the beginning in answering whether possessing a gun is an act that creates protection or welcomes threat. Even though one of the study’s researches said that the results may represent how carrying a gun gives a person a false sense of immortality or empowerment, this study’s intention does not appear to be intended to infringe upon the right to bear arms under the Second Amendment.

Continue reading "Study Shows that Risk of Being Shot and Killed Increases for those Carrying Guns" »

October 15, 2009

Supreme Court Addresses Possible Time Limit to Miranda Rights

The Baltimore Sun reports in an article that the Supreme Court has begun discussion in the Maryland v. Shatzer case. The case relates to a child sexual abuse investigation from 2003, in which a man was questioned about molesting a young relative. He asked for an attorney, but he was not provided one, so the case was dropped. Later in 2006, the investigation began again and the man was again questioned. Even though he confessed to lewd acts with the boy in 2006 and was convicted, an appeals court decided that his confession was inadmissible due to the prior request for an attorney made in 2003.

At the heart of the case is the lack of distinction as to how long the request for an attorney should last when a suspect is being interrogated. Statements made by an accused person may be deemed inadmissible if they are made after requesting an attorney to be present and such statements are made when an attorney is not present. Therefore, as it stands currently, a break in custody, even if that break lasts for years, does not erase a request for an attorney.

Continue reading "Supreme Court Addresses Possible Time Limit to Miranda Rights" »

October 14, 2009

Baltimore Rabbi Accused of Additional Sex Offenses

A wjz.com article reports that five more women are claiming that a well-known rabbi in Baltimore sexually assaulted them or said inappropriate things to them, or committed both acts in some incidents. The 85-year-old rabbi was convicted in April of this year for molesting a woman in a Reisterstown funeral home. He was sentenced to a suspended one-year prison term.

Apparently, it was reported by The Sun that three of the women alleging inappropriate behavior contacted the newspaper and two of the other claims were submitted by other sources. It is interesting that these other five women waited until the rabbi was convicted of a separate sex crime before coming forward with their own allegations.

Continue reading "Baltimore Rabbi Accused of Additional Sex Offenses" »

October 7, 2009

A List of New Laws in Maryland: DWI Consequences Influenced

As the month of October begins at full-speed, Maryland residents must become aware of new laws that have been introduced in the State. These new regulations are being enforced to help prevent crime and injury, especially when it comes to being behind the wheel. According to a times-news.com report, one of the new laws will affect those arrested for DWI. The new law states that within a span of five years, if a person hits their second DWI arrest, he or she will face an obligatory license suspension for one year.

According to the article, another new law that has taken affect in Maryland is an official ban against texting while driving. If you are convicted of texting while driving, you may face a steep fine of $400 in addition to having one point added to your driving record. Considering that the law will make exceptions for emergencies, cases involving texting and driving may present some complications given that one person’s definition of an emergency may differ from another’s.

Continue reading "A List of New Laws in Maryland: DWI Consequences Influenced" »

September 24, 2009

MD Lawmakers Discuss Juvenile Treatment Facility Reform

A topic of much discussion lately in the state of Maryland relates to problems regulating violent and abusive behavior against employees at the Department of Juvenile Service’s highest-security treatment facility. The Baltimore Sun reported in an article on June 22, 2009 that Maryland Lawmakers plan to have hearings this fall regarding the facility and what improvements need to be made.

Juvenile reform is much needed as multiple reports revealed that the facility is not well prepared to handle its young offenders. In fact, an escape in May that came after a violent assault on employees at the Victor Cullen Center was even cited. A report organized by Maryland’s independent juvenile services monitor concluded that, as the state’s only locked treatment facility for teenage boys convicted of crimes, the center is not rehabilitating some of its most threatening juveniles, therefore not serving its purpose.

Continue reading "MD Lawmakers Discuss Juvenile Treatment Facility Reform" »

September 17, 2009

Worcester County May Ban the Hallucinogen Salvia

It may surprise many Maryland residents that a hallucinogen is in fact legal both in our state and throughout the rest of the U.S. However a statewide ban on the hallucinogen, salvia, is waiting to be passed by the Maryland General Assembly. This ban may not come soon enough for Worcester County. According to a recent report, the County Commissioners introduced a bill to ban salvia in all of Worcester County. Decision on the bill will be made during a public hearing during which it will be decided whether or not emergency legislation should pass. If the bill is passed on September 1, 2009, it will go into effect right away.

The recent efforts to ban salvia are not the first Maryland has seen. A Mid-Shore Maryland State Senator last year sponsored a bill to criminalize salvia that turned out to be unsuccessful at getting the herb on the list of Schedule I drugs, those which are illegal to both possess and sell. The Senator referred to salvia as “one of the most powerful natural grown hallucinogens known to mankind…as powerful as psilocybin mushrooms.”

Continue reading "Worcester County May Ban the Hallucinogen Salvia" »

August 20, 2009

Could the Death Penalty Be Reinstated in Maryland?

A recent article in the Baltimore Sun claims that Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley’s administration may be reluctantly considering the resumption of executions in the state after the governor’s efforts earlier this year failed to convince Maryland’s General Assembly to make capital punishment illegal. Earlier, O’Malley postponed proposed revisions to Maryland’s lethal injection protocols while he attempted to build support for repealing death penalty legislation in Maryland. Since December 2006, Maryland has had a de facto moratorium on capital punishment but some state lawmakers have been working to have it reinstated.

People on both sides of Maryland’s death penalty issue are watching developments very closely. Cindy Boersma, the legislative director for the American Civil Liberties Union which opposes the death penalty, said, "This is the first step toward restarting the machinery of death in Maryland, which is unfortunate. But to the extent this is moving forward, it's moving forward the way it should—with the opportunity for public review and comment."

Continue reading "Could the Death Penalty Be Reinstated in Maryland?" »

July 30, 2009

New Law Will Make Maryland Parks Alcohol-Free This Fall

Cracking open a cold beer or relaxing with any other alcoholic beverage will be an illegal activity in Maryland state parks beginning this fall. This article which appeared recently on the website HometownAnnapolis.com claims that anyone violating this new Maryland law will face fines beginning on November 1, 2009. According to Maryland Park Service officials, the only place that alcoholic beverages will be allowed will be designated picnic shelters and only when someone has obtained a $35 permit from the park’s manager. If park officials catch someone with an alcoholic beverage anywhere beyond designated areas, they could receive a $55 fine.

Under current Maryland law, visitors to state parks can drink alcohol in motor homes, picnic shelters, campgrounds, and cabins without a permit. Under the new law, motor homes and full-service cabins will be exempt from enforcement of the alcohol ban. This new law represents an expansion of an alcohol ban that has been in place for many years which prohibited people from drinking alcohol on park beaches and grassy areas.

Continue reading "New Law Will Make Maryland Parks Alcohol-Free This Fall" »

July 28, 2009

Maryland Traffic Policies Earn Place on “Worst of” List for Exploiting Drivers

The National Motorists Association salutes the beginning of the summer driving season with its annual list of the states with the best and worst motor vehicle laws for summer travelers. The news is not good for Maryland, which earned a number three spot on the worst list. Only New Jersey and Ohio have more driving laws and vehicle-related enforcement policies that are more slanted toward filling state coffers.

Some of the behaviors that give Maryland a bad name with summer travelers include policies that have been highly touted by public officials as part of their on-going (and some would argue politically motivated) fight against drunk driving.

Roadside sobriety checkpoints are a common sight during Memorial Day weekend, the Fourth of July and Labor Day weekend. Public officials roll out plans for these sobriety roadblocks with great fanfare. From the officials’ point of view, a sobriety checkpoint represents the easiest way to prove to taxpayers that something is being done about drunk driving in Maryland.

Continue reading "Maryland Traffic Policies Earn Place on “Worst of” List for Exploiting Drivers" »

July 23, 2009

Eastern Shore Homicide: Sailor Held without Bond

This Washington Post article reports that a man is being held without bond in connection with an alleged murder that occurred in June 2009. Law enforcement officials have charged a 28-year-old man with first-degree murder for allegedly stabbing his wife, a 26-year-old, to death and making up a story about her having been killed in a carjacking. Police say that the woman’s body was found beside a rural Kent County road on Friday, June 5, 2009, and the Kent County medical examiner ruled that her death was a homicide.

The accused husband is a member of the United States Navy assigned to the Patuxent River Naval Air Station when the alleged homicide took place. He told police that he and his wife were on their way back home from Brooklyn, N.Y., when they were carjacked on the New Jersey Turnpike. Law enforcement officials charged him with causing his wife’s death when they found inconsistencies in his account of the carjacking. Maryland State Police found the couple’s car in the District of Columbia and recovered evidence that implicated the accused in the killing of his wife.

Continue reading "Eastern Shore Homicide: Sailor Held without Bond" »

July 14, 2009

Maryland DUI Accident Tragically Kills Teen

A 16-year-old boy was struck and killed by a sport utility vehicle recently while he attempted to cross Route 50 in West Ocean City. An official from the Maryland State Police said that the teen was struck and killed just west of the Harry W. Kelley Memorial Bridge sometime during the evening on May 16, 2009. The article about the Maryland DUI was recently published in the Baltimore Sun and reports that the teen was with a group of friends when he ran across the westbound lanes of Route 50 and made it to the median when he was hit by a Jeep Wrangler.

He was taken to Atlantic General Hospital where he died from his injuries. Law enforcement officials investigating the Maryland DUI accident say that the Jeep’s driver was a 29-year-old man from Massapequa Park, N.Y. He has been charged with driving under the influence and driving while impaired. The teen has been identified and is from Ocean Pines. The principal of Stephen Decatur High School told investigators that the teen was a sophomore at the school.

Continue reading "Maryland DUI Accident Tragically Kills Teen" »

June 2, 2009

Montgomery County DUI Arrest Invalid after Security Tape Viewing

A Gazette.net story reports that an officer’s DUI arrest has been found invalid after an in-court review of a videotape which clearly disputed the facts of the arrest. According to the story, on May 3, 2008, Officer Dina Hoffman arrested George Zaliev on a charge of DUI in Maryland, claiming that she had found the man sleeping behind the wheel of his car.

When the case went to court, the arresting officer repeatedly testified that Zaliev was definitely in the front seat of the vehicle at the time of the arrest. However, during the DUI trial, the criminal defense attorney played a video made by a store security camera which clearly showed Zaliev sleeping in the backseat of the car.

Officer Hoffman now faces a perjury investigation in connection with her statements, and the charges against Zaliev have been dropped.

Continue reading "Montgomery County DUI Arrest Invalid after Security Tape Viewing" »

April 27, 2009

Zero Tolerance Drug Policies and the Next Generation

In a recent article from the Washington Post, columnist Marc Fisher discussed the confusion and anger that parents are expressing over Zero Tolerance drug policies at Maryland schools. The latest debate surrounds the plight of a Fairfax County junior who committed suicide when faced with possible expulsion over a violation of the school system’s zero tolerance drug policy.

Zero tolerance movements have gained popularity in various sectors of everyday life over the last two decades. The popularity of these tough movements seems to stem from how easy they are for politicians to sell to the public. School districts in particular love zero tolerance policies because they allow the administration to point to the one-size fits all rules and declare that “they are doing something about the problem.”

Continue reading "Zero Tolerance Drug Policies and the Next Generation" »

April 23, 2009

Natasha Richardson’s Tragic Death Emphasizes the Significance of Estate Plans and Wills

According to a report, Natasha Richardson, 45, was laid to rest at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Lithgow, New York on March 22, 2009. Ms. Richardson’s unexpected death resulted from a fall during a beginner skiing lesson. After suffering an epidural hematoma- an accumulation of blood between the brain and skull- the Tony Award-winning actress was taken off life support, a painful decision made by her family. Ms. Richardson was married to actor Liam Neeson and she leaves two children, Micheal, 13, and Daniel, 12.

Given that Natasha Richardson’s family barely had any time to prepare for her death, the emotional pain and loss of such a close family member makes it almost impossible to even think about a will or estate plan; as it is for families throughout the U.S. enduring the abrupt death of a loved one. Not enough of us arrange preparations for our children and our spouse should something catastrophic happen. It is in everyone’s best interest to have an updated estate plan and will to prevent the possibility of lengthy and unnerving legal battles between family members.

Continue reading "Natasha Richardson’s Tragic Death Emphasizes the Significance of Estate Plans and Wills" »

April 7, 2009

Death Penalty Debate Set for Maryland Senate

On Tuesday, March 3, 2009, the Maryland Senate voted to open a full debate into the issue of capital punishment in the state, reports the Baltimore Sun in an article.

Under pressure from capital punishment opponent Governor Martin O’Malley, the senate first voted to turn down a measure presented by the Judicial Proceedings Committee to retain the right to administer capital punishment in certain cases. After defeating the measure by a narrow margin, the senate tallied votes to open a debate on the death penalty. The future of the debate hinged on a single vote, with a final of 24 in favor of the debates and 23 opposing.

The United States Supreme Court removed the death penalty from Maryland’s slate of punishments in 1972 in the wake of Furman v. Georgia. Six years later, the Maryland legislature passed new laws permitting capital punishment that met the Supreme Court’s definitions of fairness.

Continue reading "Death Penalty Debate Set for Maryland Senate" »

March 10, 2009

“Rethinking Drinking” is a Resourceful New Website

An article in USA Today reported the launching of a new website by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) called “Rethinking Drinking.” The site aims at helping those who enjoy drinking alcoholic beverages on a regular basis to determine what kind of drinker they are and whether they are at risk for developing a drinking problem.

The article interviewed a group of women hanging out at a bar after work. Natalie Penoyar, 25, said, “The older you get, the more you think about your actions and your mortality.”

Her attitude is one that the director of the Division of Treatment and Recovery Research at the NIAAA, Mark Willenbring, agrees on.

Continue reading "“Rethinking Drinking” is a Resourceful New Website " »

March 3, 2009

Maryland Fatal Auto Accidents Involving Teen Drivers Decreasing

The Baltimore Examiner reports that the number of teen auto accidents in Maryland is declining.

Citing data from the State Highway Administration, the Examiner notes that from 2003 to 2007 the total number of fatal car crashes caused by drivers between the ages of 16-20 has decreased by 41. This decrease is a 66 percent decline in the total number of fatal crashes in which a teen driver was at fault.

The good news carries over to injury crashes caused by teenagers. State traffic statistics for the four-year period show a decline in injury accidents of over 50 percent. State officials point to the state’s driver’s license program, which allows young drivers to gradually get more experience behind the wheel. This results in more confident drivers able to handle the sometimes rapidly changing conditions behind the wheel.

Continue reading "Maryland Fatal Auto Accidents Involving Teen Drivers Decreasing" »

February 19, 2009

Maryland Fatal Auto Accidents Involving Teen Drivers Decreasing

The Baltimore Examiner reports that the number of auto accidents in Maryland caused by teen drivers is declining.

Citing data from the State Highway Administration, the Examiner notes that from 2003 to 2007 the total number of fatal car crashes caused by drivers between the ages of 16-20 has decreased by 41. This decrease is a 66 percent decline in the total number of fatal crashes in which a teen driver was at fault.

The good news carries over to injury crashes caused by teenagers. State traffic statistics for the four-year period show a decline in injury accidents of over 50 percent. State officials point to the state’s driver’s license program, which allows young drivers to gradually get more experience behind the wheel. This results in more confident drivers able to handle the sometimes rapidly changing conditions behind the wheel.

Continue reading "Maryland Fatal Auto Accidents Involving Teen Drivers Decreasing" »

February 12, 2009

Maryland DNA Testing Expanded

As of the beginning of the New Year, mandatory DNA collection will be expanded in Maryland criminal cases, according to an Associated Press story released on wtop.com. Until January 1, 2009, Maryland officials routinely collected DNA samples from convicted felons. The new law dispenses with the conviction requirement and expands the types of crimes that will be subject to DNA collection. Now, Maryland officials will be able to obtain DNA samples from those merely facing violent crime charges or being charged with attempting to commit a violent crime.

The expanded Maryland DNA policy is legally troubling for many reasons. Both the ACLU and the NAACP strongly oppose the new regulations. These organizations highlighted their concerns in a letter to Terri Wilkin, DNA Relations Coordinator with the State Police. In their joint letter, the ACLU and NAACP underline concerns that the new laws will violate Fourth Amendment rights and could be used to discriminate against minorities. Also at issue is the potential for police officers to collect DNA samples at arrest before charging a person with a Maryland violent crime.

Continue reading "Maryland DNA Testing Expanded" »

February 10, 2009

Teen Weapon Charges

It is an unfortunate reality of today’s world that teenagers are more often involved in weapons charges. From the Washington Post, we see the story of 17-year-old Patrick S. Yevsukov, who pleaded guilty on January 9, 2009, to charges stemming from the discovery last summer of firearms and explosives at the home of a friend, Collin McKenzie-Gude of Bethesda.

Given the highly-charged political climate calling for increased criminal penalties, teenagers in weapons cases are often charged as adults. In Yevsukov’s case, he was charged as a juvenile and eventually pleaded guilty to two counts of manufacture or possession of an explosive device, along with unauthorized access to a computer and theft.

McKenzie-Gude’s case is still pending. An earlier Post story details the efforts of the defense attorney for McKenzie-Gude, who asked that he be charged as a juvenile since the events associated with the crime took place while he was seventeen.

Continue reading "Teen Weapon Charges" »

February 5, 2009

From Reckless Driving to Forging Public Records

A recent story from the Washington Post illustrates the need for persons charged with crimes to get good legal counsel and work within the system.

On January 11, 2009, the Post reported that Nathan Devine, a Manassas Park resident charged with reckless driving, decided to change his court date so he could raise money for fines. Unfortunately, instead of working within the legal system with the help of his attorney, Devine chose a more direct method.

He called up Maria Merlos, a friend who worked in the Prince William County District Court offices, and asked her to change the court date for him. When the ruse was discovered, Merlos and Devine were each charged with forging public records, and Merlos was also charged with conspiracy to forge public records. All of these offenses are felonies and are far more serious crimes than reckless driving.

Continue reading "From Reckless Driving to Forging Public Records" »

February 3, 2009

Maryland Police Program of Surveillance is More Like Spying

A story in the January 4th issue of the Washington Post reveals the unlikely targets of police surveillance—civil rights groups and peace advocates.

In 2005, the Maryland State Police began a program of surveillance as a “threat assessment of protests,” which the police anticipated at the executions of two convicted criminals. According to the Post article, the Maryland State Police initially treated the surveillance as a “low-risk training exercise.” However, the original purpose of the investigation grew blurred as more organizations were targeted by surveillance efforts.

By the time the surveillance activities were curtailed in 2007, the roster of organizations of interest to the Maryland Police included well-known activist groups such as Amnesty International and the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Local protest groups—such as the Maryland Campaign to End the Death Penalty and anti-war groups at universities and colleges—were also investigated by the police.

Continue reading "Maryland Police Program of Surveillance is More Like Spying" »

January 7, 2009

Andrew D. Alpert Named to Maryland Super Lawyers® 2009

The publishers of Law & Politics and Baltimore Magazine have named Maryland attorney Andrew D. Alpert among Maryland’s Super Lawyers® for 2009, an honor recognizing only five percent of lawyers in a given state or region.

A partner in the law firm of Meng & Alpert, LLC located in the Washington DC suburb of Upper Marlboro, Maryland, Alpert concentrates his practice in the areas of DUI/DWI, Criminal Defense and Personal Injury. He was selected as a Maryland Super Lawyer® through a rigorous, multi-phased selection process that included a statewide search, peer recognition and nomination, credentials review and professional achievement. Final selection was based on a points system and peer evaluation by practice area.

Continue reading "Andrew D. Alpert Named to Maryland Super Lawyers® 2009 " »

November 24, 2008

Companies Ordered to Stop Charging Unlawfully High Finance Charges on MAIF Policies

In an interesting story about the seemingly ever rising cost of auto insurance in the state of Maryland, the Baltimoresun.com reports that Maryland Insurance Commissioner Ralph S. Tyler has ordered nine premium finance companies to stop charging unlawfully high finance charges to drivers who are insured by the Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund (MAIF). The order follows a yearlong investigation by regulators into the activities of the finance companies, which have been criticized by state lawmakers seeking to lower costs for consumers.

The Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund was created by the Maryland State Legislature for the purpose of providing automobile liability insurance for those residents of the State of Maryland who are unable to obtain it elsewhere in the private insurance market.

Continue reading "Companies Ordered to Stop Charging Unlawfully High Finance Charges on MAIF Policies " »