Black men in Maryland and across the United States facing criminal sentencing may be worried about the potential impact of racial bias, including unconscious bias, on their sentencing. Those worries are borne out by sentencing data, according to a study by the U.S. Sentencing Commission, a bipartisan, independent agency that is part of the U.S. federal judiciary. Black men receive significantly longer sentences on average than white men convicted of the same crimes or similar offenses. On average, Black men's prison terms are 19.1 percent longer than those of white men; the study found when examining data related to sentencing between 2012 and 2016.
When Maryland defendants decide to accept a plea bargain, they may not feel they are doing so willingly. While an individual may not want to plead guilty in a case, it may mean going home in a timely manner instead of sitting in a jail cell. This may be especially true for those who may not be able to afford bail.
Anthony Michael Hall, star of "The Breakfast Club," "Weird Science" and "Sixteen Candles" among other projects, has pled no contest to a misdemeanor assault charge. He had been facing a felony charge of battery for an altercation in which his neighbor sustained a broken wrist and a back injury.
Having a police badge does not guarantee that Maryland law enforcement officers will not face the situation where they need to mount a criminal defense. Earlier this month, prosecutors withdrew criminal charges alleging that a Baltimore police detective engaged in fraud by exaggerating his education credentials while seeking a salary raise.
The practice of courtroom identifications, where the jury watches the witness dramatically identify the alleged criminal, has been a long-standing challenge for criminal defense in Maryland and across the country. However, this practice is being criticized as being unreliable and outdated.
Maryland's Supreme Court imposed new rules liberalizing bail this month. When setting bail, judges must consider the accused's ability to pay and impose the least burdensome release terms on suspects who are not considered dangerous or a flight risk. The rules were unofficially implemented last fall.
It is likely a majority of Americans are aware of Tim Tebow, college football star, National Football League failure and now Major League Baseball hopeful who signed a minor league deal with the New York Mets and has kept fueling the media fire by attending spring training down in Florida. Many Americans love Tim Tebow, not necessarily due to his on-field successes, which have been few since college, but because of his extremely positive and enchanting attitude and demeanor on and off the field. His good looks and charm may have been too much for one fan however.
Many people in Upper Marlboro may have a basic understanding of what distinguishes a misdemeanor from a felony, or, if they have watched enough crime shows on television or tuned into the nightly news, they may already know that felony crimes are more serious than misdemeanor crimes. However, it is important to understand the basic categorization of crimes, as courts will treat different levels of crimes differently.
Police officers in Maryland have the difficult job of determining when an individual is committing a crime, and then responding appropriately. Sometimes there are claims of police overreach in certain situations, particularly if the incident is captured on video. Recently, a 53-year-old Baltimore police officer was acquitted of charges for assault in the second degree, and misconduct in office, after an incident involving a student was captured on video.
When one thinks of driving under the influence, the term is typically applied to drinking and driving. But as the United States slowly starts to accept marijuana consumption, either for medicinal purposes or in some states, recreational purposes, it is important to understand and recognize that the term is also applicable to drug use, and the same penalties and laws apply to someone driving high as someone driving drunk.