Articles Posted in Criminal Law

The subject of DNA testing has been increasingly prevalent in Maryland courtrooms. In the past few months, a Maryland case (Maryland v. King) was argued in the Supreme Court on whether an arrested person’s DNA could be legally taken. No matter one’s view on its collection, DNA sometimes plays a large role in determining who did or did not do something. However, they recently decided that Brown v. Maryland shows an example of how allegedly exonerating DNA results that might not even matter.

Brown features a particularly violent assault and rape of a young woman. She was abducted, beaten, handcuffed, and tortured– among other things, that the court understated as being “not pretty.” I think the word “unimaginable” works.

Anyway, Brown was found guilty and convicted to eighty-five years in prison. Now he attempted to utilize a new Maryland statute that granted a new trial if post-conviction DNA was (1) favorable to the petitioner and there was (2) a substantial possibility…that the petitioner would not have been convicted if the results were known at trial.

Visiting and retired Judge Dennis Sweeney found Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold guilty of misconduct in office for using his security detail for political activity.

This was an easy call, I think. From my seat in the back row, the evidence seemed obvious. What I found disgusting from the perspective of a personal injury lawyer was the defense argument that Leopold was suffering from debilitating back pain and needed more help from his security detail and staff. Utter nonsense and really a slap to truly injured people everywhere. The people of Anne Arundel County deserve better.

Glad they got him. You can find the Post’s article here.


The Maryland Court of Appeals ruled today that significant portions of a law authorizing police to collect DNA samples at the time of arrest for suspects of violent crimes are unconstitutional.

The court found that if you are only arrested – as opposed to charged and processed – and there is no warrant, you should be free from “unreasonable” searches. Accordingly, the court tossed a significant portion of the Maryland DNA Collection Act which authorizes law enforcement to collect DNA samples from suspects who have been arrested.

Judges Barbera and Wilner dissented from the majority opinion. I would have, too. I just don’t think DNA is an unreasonable search, I really don’t.

Anne Arundel County’s police chief may be arrested if he does not play ball with the Anne Arundel County Council over his refusal to testify as part of an inquiry into corruption charges against County Executive John R. Leopold, a lawyer for the county said today.

Police Chief Col. James E. Teare Sr.’s attorney is telling his client not to testify because it could cause the disclosure of information relevant to Leopold’s criminal indictment.

Well, right? That would be the point.

U.S. District Court Judge Benson Everett Legg has ruled that Maryland’s handgun permit law is unconstitutional, finding that Maryland law cannot require people to show a “good and substantial reason” to carry a handgun because such a law infringes on their Second Amendment right. The foundation for the attack on the law is familiar to constitutional law experts: it isn’t sufficiently tailored to the state’s public safety interests.

The plaintiff in this case bought a gun for a reason everyone can understand, no matter where you stand on this gun control: an intruder in his own home assaulted him. The intruder got out of jail in 2005, which was the basis for the renewal of his permit to carry a gun. In 2009, the plaintiff’s application was denied because there was no clear and present danger to him (those are Jack Ryan’s words, the state said that plaintiff failed to provide sufficient evidence “to support apprehended fear”).

Just what we need in Maryland: something more to argue about.

A Maryland state senator who says he has read a report by the Maryland General Assembly’s Joint Ethics Committee says the panel is recommending that Sen. Ulysses Currie be censured for failing to disclose more than $245,000 in payments from a grocery store chain.

Two thoughts. First, Mr./Ms. Leaking Senator, why exactly are you leaking this? Oh, the reporter who got the information will love you? Ah. My second thought is that if you will grab $245,000 you really should not be taking in the first place, a censure is not exactly breaking your heart. But if the voters reelect Sen. Currie, they deserve her.

I look at Maryland appellate opinions every week, looking for new Maryland personal injury cases. Nothing interesting in PI, but here are some other cases I stumbled across in a search for something related to my practice. If I get a lot of traffic for this, I’ll keep doing it. Otherwise, I won’t.

  • Charles County, I know you didn’t mean it. Still, even in zoning, due process is due process, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals says. (Is there a lot of pent up demand for a firing range and a driving track in Charles County?)
  • Anonymous lawyer, you begin practicing law.

Deadspin is reporting that Bill Conlin, one of the most famous sportswriters in the country, has resigned from The Philadelphia Daily News. The report says that the “Philadelphia Inquirer’s top investigative reporter, Nancy Phillips, has written a story containing what we’re told are allegations of child molestation against sportswriter Bill Conlin.” Unbelievable.

Let’s pretend for a second these allegations are true. I have no idea, but let’s pretend for a second.

Does this story run if Jerry Sandusky is never caught? In the world of unintended consequences, Jerry Sandusky ends up saving lots of children from child molesters just like Michael Vick has done more than any person in human history of preventing the abuse of dogs in this country.

Paul E. Schurick, Bob Ehrlich’s 2010 campaign manager, was convicted Tuesday on four counts of election-law violations stemming from an anonymous robocall he authorized in the waning hours of election day.

Really just an unbelievable story. You can read the Washington Post article here.

Shocker: Steeler’s Hines Ward’s arrest for DUI has made it into the Pittsburgh Steelers-Baltimore Ravens rivalry. Who would have thunk it? Ray Rice put on Twitter:

Well, it looks like Hines Ward will miss week 1 when the lockout ends DUI charge not a good look.

A Steeler teammate responded sarcastically: