Tuesday, March 5, 2013
The Maryland Court of Appeals rules that people convicted of sex crimes prior to 2009 do not have to register with the state.
Some people convicted of sex crimes prior to the existence of the state's sex offender registry may no longer have to register with the state Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, according to a ruling by the Maryland Court of Appeals. The split decision, issued Monday, struck a registry requirement, imposed upon the defendant by legislation passed later, on the basis that it violated a clause in the Maryland Declaration of Rights prohibiting retroactive laws. [A copy of the ruling is attached to this story.] "Registration was imposed, over twenty years later in 2009, under the sex offender registration statute as a direct consequence of petitioner’s commission and conviction for his sex crime. The application of the …
Thursday, January 24, 2013
Bills in the House of Delegates and Senate would create a new standard where all dog owners are presumed liable for dog attacks, regardless of the breed of the animal.
Legislation overriding a Maryland Court of Appeals ruling that made landlords liable for pit bull attacks, and put owners at risk of being evicted or having to give up their dogs, will be heard Wednesday by the House Judiciary Committee. Identical House and Senate bills seek to create a new standard where all dog owners in civil action cases, regardless of the dog’s breed, are presumed liable for attacks unless owners can prove they did everything possible to avoid the attack, said Sen. Brian Frosh, sponsor of the Senate bill. It would also reverse the strict liability on landlords. “The interest groups: pet owners, landlords, and animal rights groups are pleased with it,” said Frosh, a Montgomery County Democrat who is also chairman of …
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Court removes references to pit bull mixes while leaving owners and landlords responsible for injuries caused by pure-bred dogs.
UPDATED (4:27 p.m.)—The Maryland Court of Appeals will not reconsider an April decision in which it ruled that pit bull dogs are"inherently dangerous." Judge Alan Wilner, in a nine-page decision issued Tuesday, denied the motion for reconsideration with one caveat. (The full decision is attached to this story.) "That said, having re-read the briefs, relevant portions of the record extract, and the dissent, I am now convinced that, on the record before us, the application of the Court’s holding of strict liability to cross-bred pit bulls was both gratuitous and erroneous," wrote Wilner. "I would grant the motion for reconsideration, in part, to delete any reference to cross-bred pit bulls, so that the Court’s holding would apply only to pit…
Monday, July 30, 2012
Four-page opinion hints that justices will likely overturn Maryland ruling involving the collection of samples from people charged with felonies.
UPDATED (6:00 p.m.)—U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts continued a stay in the Maryland Court of Appeals ruling that had stopped police departments in Maryland from collecting DNA samples from some arrestees. With the delay continued, police in Maryland can continue to collect the samples until the Supreme Court issues an opinion. Roberts, in a four-page order, wrote that there is a reasonable chance that Maryland could win its appeal and overturn the Court of Appeals ruling. "[The Maryland Court of Appeals] decision conflicts with decisions of the U. S. Courts of Appeals for the Third and Ninth Circuits as well as the Virginia Supreme Court, which have upheld statutes similar to Maryland’s DNA Collection Act," Roberts wrote. …
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Let us know what you think.
A Maryland Court of Appeals ruling in May decided that pit bulls are dangerous animals. Since then, advocacy groups like the U.S. Humane Society and B-more Dog have been trying to change what they call breed discrimination. One young Takoma Park pit bull lover expressed her affection for the breed in a handwritten letter. "Please don't discriminate against my pit bull," 8-year-old Caden wrote on June 19. A photo of the letter was tweeted out by B-more Dog. So we want to know what you think of pit bulls. What experiences have you had with the breed?
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
The Maryland Court of Appeals has ruled that owners of pit bulls are liable for damages caused by attacks by the breed.
If your pit bull attacks someone, don't expect much sympathy in court. An opinion recently handed down by the Maryland Court of Appeals states that you should have already known the breed was dangerous. Maryland pit bull owners are now facing increased liability in attack cases, following a ruling in Tracey v. Solesky. The case involved a pit bull named Clifford that attacked a minor, causing life-threatening injuries. "When an attack involves pit bulls, it is no longer necessary to prove that the particular pit bull or pit bulls are dangerous," wrote Judge Dale R. Cathell in the opinion. Cathell also stated that landlords have the right to prohibit pit bulls or pit bull cross-breeds from their property. A PDF of the opinion is attached …
Thursday, April 26, 2012
Several law enforcement agencies are hoping Attorney General Doug Gansler will take the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Montgomery County law enforcement officials are urging Attorney General Doug Gansler to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn an appeals court decision that would deny police from taking DNA from defendants arrested for crimes of violence and burglary. In a 5-2 decision, the Maryland Court of Appeals overturned a home invasion rape conviction in the case of Alonzo King v. State of Maryland. The court's decision Tuesday reversed the 2009 provision officials said helped them solve open investigations, according to a joint release from the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office, the Montgomery County Police Department and the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office. Montgomery County Department of Police Chief J. Thomas Manger said in a …