The Weekly Writ: Maryland Legal News You Can Use for January 11, 2021

Today on January 11, 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.

53 Charged, 13 Face Federal Accusations for Capitol Uprising

Original Story

What's Going On:

What a crazy day January 6th turned out to be! Our nations capitol turned into a quasi-warzone.

Rioters stormed Congress as lawmakers counted Electoral College votes from the 2020 Presidential election.

The insurrection led to 53 being charged: 40 in superior court and 13 in federal court.

A total of 82 got arrested during the violent outburst, 11 from Maryland.

And unfortunately, the day’s events turned deadly as five people died, including a US Capitol Police officer and a California woman with Maryland ties.

Police and the FBI continue to search for more people involved in storming the Capitol using facial recognition from video posted on social media or recorded by media outlets during the event.

Why This Matters To You:

As Americans, this incident effects all of us. An attack on our democracy and law occurred. Many participants in last Wednesday's events face serious penalties from federal and local authorities.

And, like anyone alleged to commit a crime, they deserve a fair defense and trial.

Lots of terms have been thrown about since the event, such as "treason," "sedition," "domestic terrorism," and "coup." But, what do they mean?

  • Treason is the only crime, federal or otherwise, that is expressly defined by our Constitution. Basically, treason is betrayal or treachery against our nation. It requires intent to betray and a concrete act of betrayal to overthrow or destroy the government.
  • Sedition is equal to treason, but only requires a conspiracy to overthrow or destroy the US government without an actual attempt occurring.
  • Domestic terrorism is any violent act committed inside the US to intimidate or coerce a civilian population, influence a government, or affect how government operates. This crime can be charged at either the state or federal level.
  • Finally, a coup is the sudden overthrow or removal of authority outside of legal avenues.

More About Federal-Level Charges

Man Convicted of 1996 Rape and Murder of Frederick Teen Brings Appeal

Original Story

What's Going On:

A man’s murder conviction will go before the US Supreme Court for appeal.

In 2017, the platintiff was convicted of rape and murder for the 1996 death of a teenage girl in Frederick, Maryland.

Sentenced to life in prison, the man claims he did not receive a speedy trial.

His appeal to the lower courts and state appellate courts were denied, making this appeal the third crack at throwing out the conviction.

Why This Matters To You:

Questions to a persons right to a fair and speedy trial should always be looked into. A violation to this Constitutional right means the original trial becomes obsolete and a new trial granted.

Regardless of guilt or innocence, the man deserves to have his complaint heard. It can mean the difference between life in prison, a modified sentence, or release while better defining what "speedy trial" actually is.

More About the Appeal Process

Rapping Bars Leads to Murder Conviction

Original Story

What's Going On:

Maryland’s Court of Appeals ruled that rap lyrics can be used as evidence in a case.

Prosecution obtained an Annapolis man’s 2017 murder conviction through lyrical evidence posted to Instagram, sparking an appeal.

His defense attorney argued that lyrics are artistic creativity and too generic to use as evidence of a crime.

The court found otherwise, citing in their ruling that lyrics with direct similarities to an actual crime can be used as evidence of guilt.

Because of the ruling, the court upheld the man’s 50-year sentence for murder and use of a firearm in a crime of violence.

Why This Matters To You:

Remember, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. Talking about a crime and saying you did it will most definitely be used against you to try to prove guilt, plain and simple.

Although what you say is circumstantial evidence, other forms of evidence may back up the words spoken and turn it into a stronger argument for the prosecution. 

Invoking our 5th Amendment right not to self-incriminate can be our first line of defense against criminal accusations.

After that, a criminal defense attorney should be your next call. That way, anything more said to the authorities can be done with care and without possible repercussions.

More About Maryland Murder Charges

Queen Anne's Drug Task Force Breaks Up Eastern Shore Drug Ring

Original Story

What's Going On:

Six people got arrested in connection to an alleged drug trafficking ring on the upper Eastern Shore.

A Queen Anne’s County Drug Task Force investigation into cocaine and opioid distribution in the county led to the arrests. Evidence collected during the investigation includes suspected powder cocaine, opioid pills, Adderall, suboxone strips, along with guns and $17,000 in cash.

Police believe the operation distributed the drugs in Kent and Queen Anne’s counties.

Why This Matters To You:

Drugs always bring trouble to those selling them when caught. The evidence in the case plays a major role in conviction.

Evidence collected in any case must follow proper protocols. If the protocols for how the evidence was collected or handled got broken, then such evidence is not admissible at trial.

Where police found all this evidence can also play a role.

If cash, drugs, and guns are found together, police or prosecutors might draw the conclusion that drugs were being dealt.

But, what if each cache of evidence was found at separate locations and not all together?

Or, what if the quantities of the drugs aren’t large enough to be more than for personal consumption? Then, it is not a case of drug trafficking, but rather drug possession.

And, trafficking versus possession can result in a major difference in possible penalties.

More About Maryland Drug Charges

Grand Theft Doggo?

Original Story

What's Going On:

A vehicle theft in Bethesda left the car owner without their dog. The theft occurred at the Westfield Montgomery Mall’s parking garage.

After shopping at the mall, the vehicle owner discovered her car gone. Unfortunately, her dog was in the car at the time.

The suspect was apprehended later by police. Thankfully, they returned the dog safe and sound.

Why This Matters To You:

Car thefts happen all the time, but grand theft doggo? Was this for the car, the dog, or both?

Surely a stressful time for the vehicle’s owner, but did you know they, too, may have committed an offense? They left their dog unattended in a car, which is illegal in certain situations in Maryland.

Plus, it is also illegal to leave your car running and unattended in public. (Crazy, right!? How many times have you left the car running just to go in to the convenience store while pumping gas?)

Mistakes were made, but hopefully, all involved can learn from their errors.

More About Motor Vehicle Theft Charges