The Weekly Writ: Maryland Legal News You Can Use for February 8, 2021

Today on February 8, 2021, read about:

Of course, if these or any other legal questions are impacting you and your family, then don't hesitate to reach out to JC Law for your free initial consultation with one of our expert domestic, criminal, or civil litigation attorneys.

Defense Attorney Found Murdered in His Law Office

Original Story

What's Going On:

Laurel, Maryland police officers responded last Thursday afternoon to a report of a possible burglary at a law office on Main Street. Once on the scene law enforcement found the body of lawyer, Brian Bregman.

He was pronounced dead at the scene, and the cops started a homicide investigation immediately. They have released little details about the case and no suspects.

Bregman lived in an apartment above his law office in downtown Laurel and he has been described as a kind, gentle person.

Colleague’s say he poured himself into his work as he was unmarried with no kids.

Bregman practiced defense law for decades in Maryland and D.C. as well as volunteering as a paramedic and firefighter with the Greenbelt Volunteer Fire Department.

His body has been sent to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for an autopsy.

Why This Matters To You:

JC Law is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of a fellow colleague, especially when it involves murder. His expertise in law and vigorous defense of Marylanders will be missed.

As defense attorneys there is some risk involved with the job. But, that risk is in the court room with strategy and tactics used for the defense of individuals.

Did a possible client get so upset about something in a case that they committed a horrible act? Is this a robbery gone wrong?

What could drive someone to kill a man described by those close to him as kind , gentle, and always willing to help? What happened in that apartment the afternoon of February 4th?

A murder mystery indeed. Police are sure to cast a wide net as far as suspects go. Talking to associates, intimate partners, friends, family, and clients.

We all know from watching TV crime drama that those closest to Mr. Bregman are at the top of the list of folks to talk to. Cops work from the inner circle out when investigating murder cases.

In cases that involve the law community every step must be careful, and evidence gathered correctly. Murder in the law community brings a major spotlight.

The cops will track down suspects, but those questioned have rights which law enforcement must keep if they want to actually prosecute a case.

More About Maryland Murder Charges

Maryland Senate Introduces Their Weed Legalization Bill

Original Story

What's Going On:

A bill introduced in the Maryland Senate, to legalize the adult recreational use of marijuana, has major political backing.

Sponsored by Senate Finance Committee Vice-Chair Brian J. Feldman and co-sponsored by heavy hitters like Senate President Bill Ferguson and Senate Majority Leader Nancy J. King as well as Judicial Proceedings Committee Chair William C. Smith Jr.

The proposed legislation not only legalizes marijuana completely, but would use revenue generated from taxes to help black and brown communities adversely affected by marijuana’s criminalization.

It will also re-invest in those communities by offering scholarships, housing assistance, and re-entry services.

Like any legislation, both the Maryland Senate and House must approve bills together and there are differences between the Houses version announced last month.

Many lawmakers believe Marylanders are ready for this progressive change to the drug laws, but if it happens this 2021 legislative session remains to be seen.

A major hurdle to all bills, again, is the COVID-19 pandemic and how it affects the session.

Why This Matters To You:

Any type of criminal justice reform effects the community. As defense attorneys, we at JC Law commend lawmakers for putting forth bills that can help Marylanders.

Many states have already progressed to legal recreational marijuana (15 so far) and more recently approved ballot initiatives to legalize it.

The views on marijuana are growing ever less negative as scientific research has shown benefits in the plants compounds.

Medical usage of marijuana is already legal in Maryland. Lawmakers and Marylanders are ready for the next step, legalization of recreational use.

These bills are particularly interesting as they account for the minority community which has been greatly affected by cannabis criminalization.

Funds are earmarked to be used to help minorities get into the recreational business and aiding those incarcerated for marijuana offenses receive expungement.

We encourage you to contact your local state lawmakers and ask them to pass the legislation. Plenty of Marylanders lives are hindered by marijuana convictions.

Are they bad people? No. They simply made a mistake. But unfortunately, something that should probably be minor is major, and the mistake has cost more than it should.

JC Law stands ready and willing to help all who face conviction or prosecution of drug charges.

More About Maryland Drug Charges

Baltimore Police Trainee Fired Over Assault and Harassment Accusations

Original Story

What's Going On:

A Baltimore police officer lost his job over the weekend following charges of harassment and assault. The officer allegedly followed three women after they did not invite him to a party, striking their vehicle in the process.

Apparently, the officer pulled up on the ladies at a stop light and engaged them in conversation. During the conversation he learned they were on the way to a party and got upset when they would not invite him.

He then chased after them in his vehicle to a local gas station where he supposedly flashed a fake FBI badge and the women could see a gun in a holster on his hip.

The women escaped from the gas station to an area hospital, seeking shelter in an ambulance. Law enforcement arrived at the hospital and detained the suspect.

During interviews, officers were told by the defendant that he believed the vehicle the women were in was stolen. Although, he never called in to 911 to report the incident as he was off-duty.

The man was in his probationary employment period with the Baltimore Police Department when arrested.

Why This Matters To You:

Haven’t officers been placed on paid administrative leave for shootings? Why were officials so quick to fire the defendant?

This man is only charged and alleged to have committed assault and harassment. We are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Despite just being charged the former officer lost his employment with the department because he is guilty before tried.

Yes, these are serious allegations, but allegations must be proven fact.

If he is found innocent during trial, then he has a case for litigation against the department for wrongful termination.

Sometimes, we are too quick to reach judgement before all the facts are known.

More About Threats & Assault Charges

North Carolina Man Charged with Prostitution and Human Trafficking in Howard County

Original Story

What's Going On:

Last week Howard County Police charged a man from North Carolina with prostitution and human trafficking.

The man apparently brought two women up from North Carolina and arranged prostitution dates for the women, keeping all the money himself.

Cops were tipped off to prostitution activity on Dorsey Road last Tuesday, where they discovered advertisements for services at a nearby hotel.

The defendant was arrested outside of the hotel and is held without bail at the Howard County Detention Facility.

Why This Matters To You:

Human trafficking brings the Feds into matters. Prostitution charges are dealt with in state, but because the suspect allegedly crossed state lines coming to Maryland from North Carolina, it becomes a federal case.

But, human trafficking involves the elements of imprisonment and force.

Despite traveling from another state, were the women forced to do so? Or did the come by their own choice? Further investigation is needed to know all the facts of the matter.

And, the facts are needed because the difference in state or federal charges is life altering.

More About Prostitution Charges in Maryland

Former Hogan Aide and Commerce Executive Charged with Distributing Child Porn

Original Story

What's Going On:

A former Maryland Commerce executive and deputy legislative officer to Gov. Larry Hogan is charged with distributing child pornography.

The instance allegedly occurred in August over a private messaging app called Wickr.

The defendant supposedly shared a short video of a young girl being raped. The following day the defendant resigned his post.

The defendant’s attorney said they are working with the state to resolve the case.

Why This Matters To You:

Any alleged crime involving a child is tough to swallow. Innocence is lost and a child scared.

Although a horrible video was supposedly shared showing a heinous act, why and whom it was shared with could be very important to the case.

Did the defendant share it with law enforcement to pass on a tip? Was it shared with another colleague asking for advice on what to do with such a video?

We are always using digital devices to share and talk. You probably have friends who have spent time in Facebook “jail” because of something allegedly offensive was shared by them.

The defendant is cooperating with authorities and resigned his post immediately after the incident, leading one to believe that something may not have been amiss with the sharing.

Any accusation of child pornography is a serious matter not to be taken lightly.

And, it appears the defendant in this case did not and sought out the legal help needed to handle such situations.

More on Child Pornography Charges in Maryland

Maryland House Proposes New Laws for The Road

Original Story

What's Going On:

The Maryland House introduced new legislation for the roads.

House Bill 178 prohibits knowingly hiding your license plate for the purpose of avoiding automated tolls on Maryland roads with a $500 fine.

The bill also increases points given to Marylanders convicted of reckless driving or racing to 12.

And, those charged with these offense have to appear in court and cannot prepay the fine.

Why This Matters To You:

More reasons for the police to pull over vehicles in the state appear to be headed our way.

How many of us will have to replace our license plate frames and covers because it “hides the plate?”

Our vehicles are personal representations of us. Just like our houses we like to customize them, why can we not “personalize” our cars to make them uniquely ours?

Our state also makes license plates on the front and back of a vehicle mandatory.

They should be able to capture a photo of a plate from the front or back, eliminating a problem with license frames and covers.

Maybe the state should investigate camera systems that capture front plates instead of finding further ways to fine the citizens.

As for reckless driving, the state is cracking down on street racing and making the punishment harsher. Keeping the roads safe is always a good thing, but “racing” to work is much different than really racing.

Sure, a reckless driving citation may be called for, but amping the charge up to racing when someone is running late for work seems a bit drastic.

More specifics on distinguishing regular reckless driving from racing is sure to be needed.

More About Maryland Traffic Matters