Nearly every Maryland driver has encountered a speed trap at some point. These are stretches of road or highway that seem wide open but are actually easy places to hide police vehicles. And these vehicles usually contain a police officer or state trooper eager to write a speeding ticket for drivers going 5 mph over the limit.
After years of study and negotiation, the Justice Department has finally issued the nation's first set of comprehensive rules designed to foster a "zero tolerance" culture regarding inmate sexual assault. Criminal justice advocates, criminal defense experts and civil rights activists are pleased that these long-anticipated rules have finally been enacted.
There are many reasons defendants may use in court to explain or excuse alleged criminal behavior. Sometimes, a violent assault or murder may have been in self defense. Other times, defendants have claimed they were overcome by temporary loss of control or were not mentally present because of an adverse reaction to a legal, prescription drug.
Widespread use of electronic media and technology has changed nearly every element of life in Maryland and across the nation. Even the law has had to adapt and morph to account for the influence of electronic media across the board. Most recently, the New York Court of Appeals has helped to redefine the concept of "possession" of electronic files as the term pertains to sex offenses.
Outside the borders of the United States, enforcement of the nation's drug laws can become somewhat unclear. And because Maryland is a coastal state with easy ocean access, individuals can run into sticky situations regarding drug possession on the high seas, even when heading toward international waters.
The results of a breathalyzer test often prove to be very convincing evidence in DUI cases. While other evidence such as field sobriety testing and officer testimony is often needed to secure a conviction, breathalyzer test results usually hold a lot of weight in court.
We have previously written that as communications technology continues to improve, law enforcement is finding new ways to exploit that technology to surveil and keep tabs on suspects; often without obtaining a warrant. In many cases, the laws protecting our privacy rights have not kept up with the pace of technology, and law enforcement regularly tries to exploit this gray area.
In late April, the Maryland Court of Appeals held that the state's practice of collecting DNA samples from certain arrestees is unconstitutional. Specifically, the state had sought confirmation that those arrested for allegedly violent crimes could be required to provide DNA samples. However, the state's highest court stuck the practice down.
We have previously written about the ways in which those with a criminal record are sometimes unjustly discriminated against. In an effort to combat employment-related discrimination against those with previous arrest records or criminal convictions, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is providing guidance to employers on the subject.