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Criminal Defense Archives

Baltimore man first in city charged under new Maryland law

It is never easy to confront charges of violent crimes. The charges may be the results of emotional conflicts, and there may be many factors in an alleged incident. When acts of violence were the results of extenuating circumstances or when they simply did not happen, it can be especially difficult to understand and fight the charges against a person.

You may lose custody of your kids if you're convicted of a crime

When it comes to child custody, courts always look at what's in your son or daughter's best interest. Courts examine a variety of factors to conclude whether a child will be safe in a parent's home. Some of the factors that an Upper Marlboro judge is likely to take into account is the proximity of the parent's house to the child's school and other family members and their living preferences depending on their age. Other considerations include whether the parent has a history of alcohol or drug abuse or domestic violence or if they have any criminal convictions.

Fugitive faces several charges after Maryland manhunt

When it comes to trouble with the law, the principles are the same as most other types of trouble: One can run from it, maybe even for a long time, but the results are often better or easier to manage when one faces the challenges head-on and resolves them one way or another.

Juvenile suspect faces charges along with adult in Baltimore case

An 18-year-old man and an 11-year-old girl from Baltimore have been charged with robbing a man and stealing his car. The case is complicated by the female suspect (who is reportedly related to the adult suspect) being underage.

Study raises questions about court psychology tests

When judges and juries in Maryland and around the country are tasked with making sentencing decisions or determining an individual's suitability for bail, they often consider the results of IQ and psychological tests. These tests are generally viewed as being accurate and backed by science, but that is not what a team of researchers found when they studied almost 900 cases that went to court between 2016 and 2018. The study, which was published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal on Feb. 15, concludes that only about one in three of the IQ and psychological tests that are routinely used in courts has received the backing of the scientific community.

Challenging implicit racial bias in court

When some people face Maryland criminal charges, they may have to deal with the unconscious weight of racial bias and stereotypes from juries and even judges. Research shows that black defendants continue to receive higher prison sentences and are more likely to be held in pre-trial detention. According to many scholars, these results could be explained by implicit bias, a form of racial prejudice that relies on the unconscious perpetuation of social stereotypes rather than conscious choices to discriminate against members of a particular race. One of the key characteristics of implicit racial bias is that it remains unspoken and unexamined.

Incorrect witness identifications linked to false convictions

People in Maryland may think of eyewitness identifications as particularly strong evidence that a person committed a crime. However, research has shown that witness identifications may be particularly prone to human error; they are a major factor in wrongful convictions that have been overturned through new DNA evidence. The quality of an eyewitness identification may vary greatly depending on the police procedures used to obtain it. For example, police may praise witnesses for selecting a suspect or pressure them to identify someone from a photo or in-person lineup.

What a person's Miranda rights are

A person who is taken into custody in Maryland or any other state must be read his or her rights. Failure to do so could result in a statement being suppressed before or during a trial. It could also result in any other evidence obtained based on that statement to be suppressed as well. An individual has the right to know that he or she can remain silent at all times while in custody.

Officers relying on unreliable forensic tool

People in Maryland who the police suspect of possibly committing crimes might be asked to write statements about what they remember from the incidents. Law enforcement officers use these statements when they build their cases. However, most people might not realize that some police departments use a forensic tool called Scientific Content Analysis or SCAN to analyze the written statements to purportedly detect deception.

Law enforcement still impacts blacks heavily despite improvements

A study produced by the nonpartisan Council on Criminal Justice reported that the racial imbalances within the criminal justice system have improved over the past 16 years. Despite the narrowing of racial disparities among criminal defendants and inmates in Maryland and nationwide, blacks remain disproportionately represented within local jails and state prisons and among parolees and people on probation. In 2000, state prisons held 15 times more black people convicted of drug crimes than white people. By 2016, the ratio had dropped to 5 to 1.

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Upper Marlboro, MD 20772

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