The Weekly Writ: Maryland Legal News You Can Use for June 14, 2021

Today on June 14, 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.

Ocean City Cops Under Review for Use of Force

Original Story

What's Going On:

An incident in Ocean City, Maryland, led to an investigation into the use of force. A crowd of teens grew unruly after being asked to stop vaping on the Boardwalk. The teens violated a city ordinance prohibiting vaping or smoking outside of designated areas.

Videos posted on social media show an officer kneeling on a teen while arresting them, officers tasing other teens, and teens attacking officer aides while trying to help make arrests. According to Ocean City's police department, all incidents of use of force are examined.

The teen's arrested face charges of disorderly conduct, resisting/interfering with arrest, obstruction, and second-degree assault.

Why This Matters To You:

Police actions have been under a microscope since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last year. How they handle themselves while conducting their jobs is headline news.

Teens represent an issue on their own as they are on a journey of self-discovery and learning how to be a good-standing citizen in the community. As most parents know, teens can push every button to see how much they can get away with. Defiant, stubborn, and emotional are major characteristics during this time of life.

The fact is the teens broke an Ocean City ordinance. When the teens were asked to move to a designated area, they decided to act out and become disorderly. They will have to learn the consequences of breaking the law as second-degree assault is no joke of a charge.

Since the teens are over 18 years old, they face adult charges, not juvenile. The second-degree assault charge also stems from the teens attacking police aides, which means the penalty is harsh; 10 years in prison and fines of up to $5,000.

How the police departments investigate their use of force will factor into how the final charges shake out. If shown the force was excessive, then there can be mitigating circumstances at play. The teens acted in defense of a friend they saw as being "roughed up" by police.

More About Threats & Assault Charges

 

Federal Charges for Asian Hate Crime in Baltimore

Original Story

What's Going On:

The man who allegedly assaulted Asian-Americans in Baltimore in a string of attacks on May 2nd is facing hate crime, first- and second-degree assault, and attempted murder charges.

After entering a liquor store and being asked to leave for not wearing a mask, the defendant is accused of leaving and returning with a 2x4 and attacking a security guard while yelling racist and derogatory comments at the Chinese-American store owner who asked him to leave.

Later at another liquor store, the defendant allegedly used a cinder block to attack two Asian store workers. Video surveillance at the store gave police a description of the man alleged to have committed the assaults. He was found a few blocks away after being recognized by a worker's son who saw the surveillance video and arrested.

Why This Matters To You:

Racism has no place in society, and crimes committed in its name are treated with extreme measure. Hate crimes carry a severe punishment if convicted.

Questions remain as to why this man got so angry and allegedly decided to lash out at Asian-Americans in Baltimore. What type of mental state was he in during the assaults? Does he have a history of mental illness?

Drugs or alcohol also could have played a factor in the behavior. Was he drunk or high when these attacks happened?

Social media and the litany of fake news accessible may have played a role, too, as things or groups may have disillusioned the defendant on these social platforms.

None of these excuse the behavior, but they do offer explanations for why the behavior occurred. Hate has no place in our world, but learning why there is hate will go a long way in removing it from society.

More About Federal-Level Charges

Anne Arundel County Teacher Acquitted of Sex Offense Charges

Original Story

What's Going On:

A South River High School biology teacher was acquitted on charges she had sex with a student back in 2018. The teacher faced charges of having intercourse while in a position of authority, sexual offense by a person in authority, one count of unnatural or perverted practice, and sex abuse of a minor.

The teacher's defense attorney credits the fact that he was able to show the student lied about the allegations, bringing questions about their credibility to sway the jury to hand down the not guilty verdicts.

Why This Matters To You:

False allegations of sexual misconduct occur more often than you think. Usually done to gain an advantage over someone in a divorce or custody case, but sometimes the accusations are made from spite or revenge.

The article is not clear why the student made the allegations and what they may have gained from it. Still, it is reasonable to think a lousy grade or dislike for the teacher could have led to enough hate for them to make an allegation. This is a teenager, and hormones are all over the place during puberty, and rational thought can be skewed.

Whatever the reasons may have been, the good news is justice prevailed, and an innocent woman can now get her life back together after a harrowing ordeal. Accusations are not convictions, and this case proves that fact to a T.

More About Sex Crimes In Maryland

Federal Charges Handed Down in Crownsville Child Porn Case

Original Story

What's Going On:

The Department of Justice's "Project Safe Childhood" netted a guilty charge in a child pornography case in Crownsville, Maryland. The defendant allegedly possessed over 12,000 pornographic images of children on his computers, phones, and tablets.

An unidentified cloud storage service provider gave a tip to the National Center of Exploited and Missing Children, who passed it along to federal authorities. That tip led the feds to search the defendant's home and electronic devices where the illegal material was discovered.

Why This Matters To You:

Society is combating the concerning growth of child sexual exploitation and abuse across the world. Child pornography is viewed as disgusting.

Federal investigators are always looking for the "big shark" when it comes to criminal activities. Since sentencing has not been announced, there might be a plea deal in place that will have the defendant help law enforcement for lesser charges and time in jail.

These deals are for the benefit of both police and the defendant. The defendant gets less time for information, leading to more arrests and law enforcement takedown more perpetrators, a win, win.

Defense attorneys work to provide the best outcome possible in any scenario a client presents them with, and sometimes it is inevitable that it leads to jail time. Our job is to mitigate the sentence to be a fair and reasonable one that still allows the client to have a life after time is served.

More on Child Pornography Charges in Maryland

Panel to Review Former Medical Examiner's Autopsies Relating to In-Custody Deaths

Original Story

What's Going On:

An independent panel will review the deaths of people in custody in Maryland. The investigation stems from a former chief medical examiner who testified in the Derek Chauvin murder trial.

His testimony drew criticism, and now the cases where death in custody occurred, and he performed the autopsy are under review. It is alleged that his handling of some instances allowed officers to escape liability.

Why This Matters To You:

Maryland took a significant step to reform policing in the state with new legislation this year. The treatment of citizens under arrest and in custody is under the microscope. For every George Floyd or Freddy Gray, there are others whose stories are buried or ignored.

Derek Chauvin has been convicted of murdering George Floyd, and the testimony the former medical examiner provided did not help but hindered his case. And, what he testified to opened the door for criticism of his work.

We cannot allow people who abuse their power to curtail illegal behavior for law enforcement's benefit. No one is above the law, not even those who protect and uphold it.

Everyone deserves their fair shake, so we'll wait until the review is complete to determine what implications may come.

More About Civil Litigation in Maryland