April 2012 Archives

Baltimore County Burglary Suspect Identified

April 26, 2012

1231735_thumb_print_1.jpgBaltimore County Police have identified the main suspect in a string of recent Baltimore area burglaries. The burglaries have resulted in the theft of valuable items such as electronic office equipment, black checks, food, office supplies, postage stamps and money. The main suspect is apparently a 48 year old man from Baltimore that has also been implicated in other burglaries throughout Maryland. The recent Baltimore burglaries occurred on or about April 3 and included the breaking and entering of two medical offices. The first office was a podiatry center and the second burglarized office was a medical office used for testing and treatment of hearing disorders. Both offices used and stored valuable medical equipment.

The Baltimore burglar apparently gained entry to the offices by breaking exterior windows and crawling through the open space. Police did not release information as to whether the office buildings had security systems in place such as alarms and motion sensors. Police also did not release the monetary value of the stolen items. The value of the stolen items would be relevant in prosecuting the Baltimore burglar once he is arrested. The value of the stolen items often dictates which criminal charges will be filed, and if captured the Baltimore burglary suspect faces felony burglary charges along with theft charges. The theft charges could be felony or misdemeanor theft charges depending on the value of the stolen items. In Maryland theft of property over $1,000 in value can be classified as felony theft.

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Maryland Man Arrested For Selling Marijuana From Ice Cream Truck

April 23, 2012

344615_ice_cream_truck.jpgA Maryland man was recently arrested for selling marijuana and other drugs from his ice cream truck according to police in Charles County. The alleged Maryland drug dealer was arrested based on a tip from Crime Solvers. The tip apparently informed police that the 20 year old man had been illegally selling packets of marijuana while at the same time legally selling frozen treats in southern Maryland neighborhoods. Police responded to the tip and sent a investigative unit to attempt to observe the ice cream drug dealer in action. Police investigative units apparently were not able to catch the Maryland man actually performing a hand to hand transaction with a would be marijuana buyer, but they were able to secure an arrest with the help of a canine police unit.

Police initiated the arrest by conducting a traffic stop on the ice cream truck. After pulling over the ice cream truck, police called for a canine unit in order to effectuate a drug sniff. The canine drug sniffer alerted police to the presence of marijuana within the truck, thus giving the southern Maryland police officers probable cause to conduct a search of the area in question. Cops were able to locate baggies of marijuana packaged for sale from within the truck, as well as on the person of the Maryland man. Police also discovered a large amount of cash in the truck that was stored separately from the ice cream proceeds.

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Maryland Trespass Laws Allow Lifetime Bans On Private Property

April 18, 2012

127500_get_out_varmit.jpgMaryland trespass laws have recently become a hot topic after two men were arrested for trespassing at Oriole Park at Camden Yards by Baltimore City police officers. The first incident occurred on opening day as the Orioles took on the Minnesota Twins in front of a rare sellout crowd. A 26 year old man from Severn, Maryland ran on to the field during the game dressed in a cape. Unfortunately for the Severn man the cape did not come complete with flying capabilities, and the trespasser was arrested shortly after entering the field of play. The aspiring superhero turned fourth outfielder managed to avoid criminal prosecution, albeit to none of his own credit. Lawyers from the Baltimore prosecutor's office apparently failed to file charges due to an office miscommunication. The second incident occurred just 3 days later when a 19 year old Baltimore man dashed onto the field during the 12th inning of a frustrating loss to the Yankees. The 19 year old Baltimore man was not wearing a costume and did not receive the benefit of a prosecutorial miscommunication, as he now faces charges of trespass, disorderly conduct, and disturbing the peace.

Both opening week trespassers received lifetime bans from the famous downtown Baltimore ballpark by the Orioles organization. Under Maryland law it is perfectly legal for property owners to impose, long term and even lifetime bans on private property. In order to impose these bans, a property owner need only to notify the person whom they are seeking to keep out. Police officers typically act as agents for the property owners and have the power to issue written no trespass warnings that serve as proper notice. If a person is found in violation of a no trespass warning, they could face a misdemeanor criminal charge with a maximum jail sentence of 90 days. These bans can also be imposed by a judge or as part of a special condition of probation. Violation of a judge's order could result in criminal charges as well as being held in contempt of court. If a defendant violates a "no return" condition of probation he or she faces violation of probation sanctions that may include jail time or increased probation time.

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Baltimore Police To Video Record Interrogations

April 13, 2012

387604_securicam.jpgThe Baltimore City Police Department is currently working out the details of a plan to begin video recording police interrogations for violent crimes. While the Baltimore City Police Department is the eigth largest in the county it is certainly not the most technologically advanced. Hundreds of police departments across the country currently record police interrogations for almost any crime including the Baltimore County Police Department. Some jurisdictions, including Washington D.C., go as far as requiring video recording for all police interrogations. In 2008, the Maryland General Assembly endorsed the use of video recorded interrogations, but did not decide to require them. As a result of the endorsement, the number of police agencies using video recording in Maryland has nearly doubled.

Baltimore Police began to incorporate video recording several years ago in an effort to update investigation capabilities in its sex crimes division. The Baltimore City Police Department will now undergo another video recording update, but initially only for serious crimes such as murder and gun crimes involving a shooting. City police commissioner Frederick Bealefeld III is on record as being committed to institute video recording for violent crimes in a cost effective and informed manner. Baltimore Police must first purchase and install video recording equipment and then train detectives in the art of interrogating a suspect on camera.

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Baltimore Drug Dealer Sentenced To 20 Years In Prison

April 10, 2012

403_dutch_weed.jpgA Baltimore area marijuana dealer has been sentenced to over 20 years in prison after the jury found him guilty at trial. Defense lawyers were unable to overcome the strong evidence that federal prosecutors presented during two weeks of testimony in United States district court in Maryland. The convicted Baltimore drug dealer was arrested in 2010 and charged with distribution of marijuana and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Both the internal revenue service and the federal drug enforcement agency participated in the investigation, which ultimately let to a multi count indictment.

The Baltimore man had been charged with selling marijuana over a span of more than 5 years, with the first drug deals allegedly taking place in 2004. Government witnesses testified that the Baltimore dealer was the supervisor of a large scale organization responsible for transporting for sale hundreds of pounds of marijuana from the southwest United States to the east coast and Maryland. Testimony revealed that the Baltimore man had sold nearly 10,000 pounds of marijuana over the course of the drug conspiracy. State witnesses also testified that the drug dealing began with the purchase of about 100 pounds of marijuana from a source in Arizona. These 100 pound purchases grew substantially over time, and by the end of 2005 the Baltimore man was purchasing as much as 900 pounds of marijuana at a time for sale on the east coast.

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Should Maryland Law Makers Address School Bus Accidents?

April 5, 2012

793842_school_bus.jpgRecently three school buses were involved in a car accident in Prince Georges County, Maryland where upwards of 25 students were injured. And just last week, a central Florida community was rocked by the news that 9 year old student was killed in a school bus accident, along with 15 other students being injured in the crash. These tragic accidents appear to be showing up in the news more frequently, which begs parents and lawmakers to question whether Maryland school buses are actually safe and what the legislature could do to make them safer.

One potential avenue that lawmakers could explore would be to require Maryland school busses to be equipped with seat belts. At lest five states require the use of seat belts on school buses to mitigate injuries resulting from a bus accident. While Maryland does require automobile passengers to wear seat belts, there is no seat belt law on the books for Maryland school busses. One possible reason that there has not been a successful push in the legislature for school bus seat belts is the lack of empirical data proving that seat belts would actually make school busses safer. There are simply not enough car accidents involving school buses in Maryland to adequately support a study.

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Jail Strip-Searches Here To Stay In Maryland And All 50 States

April 2, 2012

971887_led_flashlight.jpgMaryland jails will continue to have the power to strip-search a person who is arrested for any crime, regardless of whether cops are suspicious that contraband may be present. The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of upholding jail house strip-searches in an April 2 decision. The ruling will allow Baltimore police to strip-search any person arrested before he or she is admitted into the jail for any type of crime. Defendants arrested for minor crimes such as driving without a license, failing to pay child support, or even violating a dog leash law are also subject to strip-search upon being booked into the jail.

The five Justices explained that they should not have the power to second guess the judgment of corrections officers that are faced with the daily prospect of guns and other weapons, and drugs being smuggled into the jail. Drugs such as marijuana and cocaine can be smuggled on the person of an arrested individual, not to mention prescription pills such as oxycontin that are easily concealed. Justice Kennedy wrote that corrections officers must be concerned about the health of the public and with potential gang affiliations. Kennedy also wrote that each of the nearly 13 million people whom are arrested each year "may be required to undergo a close visual inspection while undressed".

The opinion pointed out the substantial risk that a new inmate could by his own will or by coercion smuggle contraband that could put other inmates as well as the corrections staff at risk. The majority Justices were not surprised that jails would feel the need to institute strict strip-search policies for drugs, weapons, gang affiliations, and disease due to the crowded, unsanitary, and dangerous conditions at many jails and prisons. Chief Justice Roberts did leave room for some modification of the ruling in the future, as his concurrence stated that exceptions were still possible to prevent unnecessary embarrassment.

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