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Jury trials will continue to be suspended too, until April 23, 2021.
Only clerks’ offices will remain open for emergency purposes or scheduled matters in both district and circuit courts throughout the state.
Certain cases will still have in-person or remote hearings and the courts will continue to use technology like video or phone for remote proceedings, but it varies by location.
Anyone who has business with the court is asked to contact that location before arriving.
The rollback to phase II is a direct response to the recent surge of COVID-19 cases.
Court services had resumed in full back on October 5th, but following the Thanksgiving holiday COVID-19 cases began to soar, forcing the Judiciary system to fall back two phases in its five-phase reopening plan.
Why This Matters To You:
The pandemic has thrown yet another wrench into the judiciary gears and anyone who has matters in the court is affected.
Jury trials are again delayed causing many to miss out on the right to a “fair and speedy” trial, but could this benefit them if their trial cannot be held in the accepted amount of time?
Time and legal arguments will tell on that matter, however, in the meantime those legal matters will be delayed.
Now that a vaccine has been released and distributed, hopes are that the recent delay will be the last.
According to one local news stations investigation DUI cases in Prince Georges County result in lesser sentences that those of surrounding counties.
The station looked at cases in Prince Georges, Montgomery, Anne Arundel, and Charles counties between January 2019 and August 2020.
Their research found in Prince Georges of the 75 DUI arrests made during that stretch only one resulted in jail time, while an average of half of the cases in the other counties saw time served in jail.
Some see the lack of stiff punishment in PG county as a way of not taking the issue of impaired driving seriously.
Others say the pandemic affects those numbers as PG county courts have not closed roughly 40% of DUI cases from 2019 due to COVID-19.
These variations in sentences are not exclusively found in Maryland as it occurs across the country among a wide variety of offenses, according to legal experts from George Washington University.
Why This Matters To You:
Just because someone is arrested and charged with a DUI or DWI does not mean they go straight to jail.
There most definitely are usually consequences to breaking the law when caught, but getting thrown in jail usually happens after a trial.
That punishment could be a fine, community service, probation, or jail.
And, most first-time offendersare likely to receive lesser sentences due to the fact it is the first time.
Lots of factors go in to how an individual DUI case is handled and punished.
Having a good defense attorney who will work to resolve the matter in the best possible outcome can go a long way in keeping someone out of jail.
But, just because they did not face jail does not mean they were not punished.
Our legal system is designed to allow for the accused to face the accuser and defend themselves against those accusations, if this were not the case then all DUI cases would be treated the same.
Although, no one should ever drink or do drugs and drive, we do all deserve a second chance when we make a mistake.
Maryland Attorney General Joins Fight Against Ghost Guns
Howard County Public Schools superintendent spoke out against online bullying of the boards student member following a split vote on whether to continue with virtual learning through mid-April.
Following the heated vote some on social media have criticized the student board member, with some of the criticism stepping over the line and into bullying territory according to the school’s superintendent.
Last week two parents with children in the school district filed a lawsuit to strip the boards student member of their power to vote.
Arguing that a high school student with the right to vote on school board decisions violates Maryland’s constitutionbecause the student is not 18 years old and is not eligible to vote in elections or to hold an elected office.
Why This Matters To You:
Bullying is an unacceptable behavior in our society today and when it happens the response can be just as fierce as the bullying.
Remember, cooler heads usually prevail.
Parents and students alike are upset that school is still virtual and students are not physically in the classroom, but blaming a student for not having a vote go the way they wanted it to seems a tad uncalled for.
Also, we as Americans have the right to voice our opinions, whether someone likes them or not.
Meaning the board, parents, and students can say how they feel about the decision to remain virtual without repercussions.
But, to use platforms such as social media to cyberbully or harass a student as an adult is over the line.
It is our responsibility as adults to teach kids how to act like one and those behaviors do the opposite.
Fortunately, in this situation the school’s superintendent called out the behavior before it went to far, and in the end it is just people being upset about school, which is how most parents feel during this pandemic.
This is a trying time, and we are trying to figure it out as we go along, so expect some bumps along the way.