The Weekly Writ: Maryland Legal News You Can Use for June 21, 2021

Today on June 21, 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.

Pandemic Restrictions Officially End

Original Story

What's Going On:

We have made it to the homestretch of the pandemic. Maryland will end most coronavirus restrictions starting July 1. Although the state of emergency technically does not end until August 15th, the limitations will gradually be relaxed during a 45-day grace period.

The announcement made by Governor Larry Hogan closes the chapter on a rough time in American and Maryland history where 9,500 Marylanders lost their lives to Covid-19. Despite restrictions lifting, a federal order will keep mask-wearing in place on planes, subways, buses, and other means of mass transit. Businesses will also be allowed to set their own rules about mask-wearing.

The virus is still a threat, and vaccinations are recommended to help stop the coronavirus spread.

Why This Matters To You:

Getting back to normal is closer than ever. As we head toward our nation's celebration of its independence, Maryland will be celebrating a different kind of freedom, the freedom to move about, see people, and do things with people again. Welcome back to block parties, summer BBQs, and the pool.

While we are all excited to return to the "good ol' days," we do have to remember that businesses have the right to require customers to mask up while in the store. Remember, it is a private business, and the rules established to shop there are set by the owners. Keep the masks handy for a bit longer because you may still need them to do the things you've been missing.

Businesses have the right to trespass guests for not following their rules, and towns, cities, and municipalities have nuisance ordinances that could cause a legal issue if someone refuses to wear a mask inside an establishment requiring them.

More About Trespassing in Maryland

 

Civil Rights Groups Call for Lawsuits and Boycotts of Ocean City

Original Story

What's Going On:

Civil Rights leaders threaten legal action and boycotts of Ocean City, Maryland, over recent incidents involving black teens and the police. Leaders are upset about a video on social media that shows police kneeling on black teens, tasering them, and arresting them due to the vaping ban. At the same time, the teens also assaulted the officers.

The civil rights groups are also calling for the suspension of the officers involved in the incident while an investigation is underway. The attorney who represented Freddie Gray's family in a wrongful death suit that won the family $6.4 million said the families of the teens would file legal action.

Why This Matters To You:

Our society is genuinely progressing toward a more equal and just world for all. Incidents involving minorities and police will draw criticism and ire in the wake of the George Floyd murder and subsequent conviction of the officer involved.

As we reform our policing procedures and policy in Maryland, these incidents will be thoroughly investigated and punished if necessary. All involved need questioning to get the whole story about what happened and why police used force.

Citizens and law enforcement officers of Maryland must work together to create a harmonious relationship that works to keep ALL citizens protected and safe.

More About Civil Litigation in Maryland

 

Juvenile Murder Sentence Upheld, But Defendant Could Get Another Shot Come October 1st

Original Story

What's Going On:

A Baltimore man sentenced to life for a murder committed when he was 15 lost his bid for a shorter sentence, but a new law may give him another shot at early release. Maryland's Court of Special Appeals made the ruling but noted the defendant is a candidate for a sentence reduction or modification when a new law is enacted later this year.

The new law will allow juveniles sentenced to life terms to seek a modification of sentences after serving 20 years in prison, which the defendant already has. The legislation goes into effect on October 1, 2021.

Why This Matters To You:

We've said it before, and we'll say it a million times more; young minds are still developing. During developmental years, those who committed crimes still can learn, be remorseful, and rehabilitate themselves into better community members.

Many adults charged with homicide strike plea deals with lesser charges that allow for less time and a chance at release. Shouldn't this be the same for juvenile offenders? They, too, deserve a chance at release since they may not have fully understood the legal ramifications of their actions.

America is a country built on second chances, and our youth deserve a chance to show they learned their lesson and are ready to be productive community members.

More About Juvenile Justice Services

 

Federal Appellate Panel Questions Maryland's Courtroom Camera Ban

Original Story

What's Going On:

Maryland's ban on cameras in the courtroom is again coming under fire. This time a federal appeals court is questioning the constitutionality of the ban.

A federal appellate panel sent the issue back down to the lower courts for further hearings on the matter. State officials say the ban ensures fair trials and protects witnesses from intimidation.

Why This Matters To You:

The global pandemic caused Maryland courts to come to a screeching halt. Postponement of all criminal trials has brought our right to a fair and speedy trial into question.

Cameras being allowed to broadcast in the courtroom could have allowed for remote jury trials to take place and those charged to have their fair and speedy trial. Most states in America allow cameras in the courtroom for trial purposes, news broadcasts, and trial records, while Maryland lags and slows the pursuit of justice.

Hopefully, arguments in the lower courts will show the need for cameras in Maryland's courtrooms. Until then, we'll wade through the mire of delayed criminal trials.

More About Maryland Court System Matters

Cecil County Election Official Charged with Perjury

Original Story

What's Going On:

A Cecil County election official faces perjury and misconduct charges after allegedly altering a candidate's financial disclosure statement. The complete list of charges includes misconduct in office, perjury, false entry in a public record, altering a public record, and corrupt or fraudulent acts in the performance of official election duties.

Prosecutors believe the defendant forgot to collect the required financial form and file it when due. Instead, she is accused of making it appear the document was filed by the due date.

Why This Matters To You:

Running for public office requires a great deal of transparency. A person's past, finances, and much more are closely scrutinized by the public and election officials to ensure legit candidates.

However, when those charged with gathering that information and making sure it is factual and truthful lie about it, they betray the public's trust—essentially defrauding us.

Although the candidate had nothing to do with the fraud, they should lose their opportunity to run for office because the proper paperwork was not completed and filed on time, thus excluding them from running for office. A minor clerical error now ruins a good candidate's chances for office and a public official's career and life.

More About Perjury Charges