The Weekly Writ: Maryland Legal News You Can Use for June 28, 2021

Today on June 28, 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.

Maryland Found More Unemployment Fraud

Original Story

What's Going On:

Maryland Department of Labor officials announced that an estimated 500,000 fraudulent unemployment claims have been made over the last six weeks. The number has grown as Maryland approaches the July 3rd deadline for receiving pandemic-related unemployment benefits.

The allegedly fraudulent claims have been sent to federal authorities. A majority of the claims involve stolen identities.

Why This Matters To You:

Identity theft is a prevalent crime nowadays, especially during the pandemic. Many people lost jobs and income. While working those jobs, we pay taxes that go to pay for benefits like unemployment, so it is there to lend a helping hand in times like these.

Using someone else's identity to profit is illegal and immoral, especially when it happens to people who need those benefits but cannot access them because someone used their identity to file for benefits falsely.

Fortunately, many of these cases were flagged by labor officials, and no payouts were made, but it represents a growing trend in crime. There is no longer a need to rob someone physically; now, it can be done digitally.

And, some of these hackers are smart enough to lead law enforcement to a patsy using a false IP address. Unfortunately, it makes these cases extremely difficult to prosecute and investigate.

More About Identity Theft in Maryland

Man Tries to Bribe Frederick Police

Original Story

What's Going On:

Frederick, Maryland police arrested an individual last week after he tried to bribe them to let him go. The officers responded to a drug complaint on North Market St. last Tuesday.

When the officers arrived, they found a man in a car with what they believed to be narcotics. The man allegedly attempted to bribe the officers when they talked to him at the scene.

According to law enforcement, they confiscated suspected heroin, marijuana, crack, mushrooms, suboxone, and buprenorphine.

The defendant is being held without bond.

Why This Matters To You:

When police say they want to talk, they mean interrogating you. In these situations, it is essential to invoke your 5th, and 6th Amendment rights to remain silent and have an attorney present during questioning.

Bribery is not the way to go. The defendant faces not only drug charges but now bribery charges, too. Unfortunately, he made the situation worse when keeping quiet and asking for a lawyer was in his best interest.

The defendant should have also asked the officers to produce a warrant to search his vehicle. Officers must have probable cause to search, and even then, they still need a warrant.

Knowing your rights is the first step in protecting yourself; getting a good attorney to litigate the best outcome is the next.

More About Bribery Charges

Man Receives 25-Year Sentence for Domestic Violence

Original Story

What's Going On:

A Monrovia, Maryland man received a stiff sentence for domestic violence. The man was convicted of first- and second-degree assault connected to an incident involving an altercation with his wife.

Prosecutors asked for the harshest sentence as the alleged assault involved strangulation. In doing so, the judge granted a 25-year prison sentence with all but 15 years suspended.

Why This Matters To You:

Domestic violence is a severe offense, and Maryland does not take these cases lightly, as evidence by the stiff sentence handed down to the defendant. These cases rose during the pandemic as more partners spent increased time close.

Harming any individual is never the answer, but when relationships are involved, we can blindly react in a moment of "seeing red." A relationship is challenging work, and when the going gets tough, couples need to focus on communicating with each other to resolve the issue.

Using threats or violence does not solve the root of the problem. On the contrary, it only makes matters worse. Sometimes, simply walking away to reflect and contemplate is the best thing to do in an argument. That way, a person has time to think and respond constructively.

The defendant is lucky to have not been charged with attempted murder since he allegedly strangled and threatened his wife with a knife. His defense attorney must've been good to keep that off the table and give him a chance at redemption and freedom when his sentence expires.

More On Domestic Violence Charges in Maryland

Howard County To Start Sending Counselors to Mental Health Crisis Calls Instead of Police

Original Story

What's Going On:

Howard County will begin diverting some mental health crisis calls from police to counselors. The Howard County Police Department entered an arrangement with Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center to direct non-emergency calls involving mental health to a hotline staffed with trained crisis counselors.

Starting July 1, dispatchers will direct these calls to mental health professionals instead of police. After assessing if the caller represents a danger to themselves or others, has a weapon, is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or is under 18.

Why This Matters To You:

Police reform is happening in Maryland, and Howard County is taking a big step in better responding to calls for help. We have all witnessed the tragedies of officer and civilian-related deaths because a situation was improperly handled. With this new program, officials are hoping to reduce that issue.

Better relationships between the police and the public must also be made too. Unfortunately, there is a lot of distrust between the public and law enforcement, and we need to work together to build better community relationships.

Using resources like counselors to better mitigate situations should lead to better results and less deadly outcomes for a mental health crisis. This should also allow mitigating circumstances for defendants involved in a mental health crisis where a crime might have been committed.

More on Criminal Defense in Maryland

 

Youth Pastor Charged with Rape

Original Story

What's Going On:

An Essex, Maryland youth pastor was arrested for an alleged sexual assault of a child roughly 30 years ago. The pastor faces second-degree rape, second-degree sex offense, second-degree assault, and other charges.

Baltimore County Police responded to a call for a previous sexual assault on a child back in February. The victim told police the assault occurred at a sleepover at the pastor's house.

Why This Matters To You:

More and more cases of past sexual assaults are being brought to light. The problem that prosecutors run into is the statute of limitations for sexual assault in Maryland.

A victim usually has about three years from the alleged incident to file, but this case was 30 years ago. So how can those charges be filed? More than likely, the sex offense charges will be dropped due to the statute of limitations, but rape in Maryland has no statute of limitation, and this is where the pastor faces a legitimate charge.

Another issue at hand is whether or not the case stays criminal. Criminal cases require the burden of proof to be without a reasonable doubt, while a civil lawsuit only requires the preponderance of the evidence. Thus, the defendant has a better chance at a good outcome through a criminal trial since the evidence is hearsay or circumstantial at best. On the other hand, a civil suit could find him liable for damages like a monetary settlement.

More On Rape Charges in Maryland