October 2012 Archives

Maryland Federal Court Drug Testers Indicted For Bribery

October 24, 2012

1256556_test_tubes.jpgFederal probation and parole in Maryland got a whole lot easier for some defendants from 2009 to 2010. Well, at least it was for the dozens of defendants who had been convicted of federal crimes, or recently released from federal custody and completed their mandatory drug testing requirements at the Maryland treatment centers of Clean and Sober or Drug and Alcohol Recovery. And it were the drug counselors and drug testers that were allegedly on the take of this large scale pay for pass scheme. According to indictment proceedings that were just released to the public, two former federal contractors from Rockville, Maryland were involved in a long standing bribery operation where drug testing results were falsified in exchange for monetary compensation. Both former drug testers had been under investigation for federal criminal charges including bribery, making false statements, and witness tampering, and both face considerable prison time. According to court documents, one drug tester pleaded guilty to bribery, and is awaiting sentencing while the other was recently indicted. The drug tester who did not plead guilty was arrested soon after the results of the grand jury investigation were released.

The male drug tester pleaded guilty to accepting over 100 bribes from clients that were under federal supervision and required to undergo drug testing and treatment. According to the indictment documents these clients would pay cash to the drug testers, typically $50 per test in exchange for receiving a negative drug test. Many times, the testers would not even bother to conduct an actual drug test, and simply mark off that the patient had passed. The indicted drug testers were also paid upwards of $400 for drug treatment discharge papers when in fact the patient had not successfully completed the treatment. The male drug tester allegedly took more than $10,000 over the course of the 2 year scheme and faces up to 15 years in prison at his sentencing hearing in December.

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Anne Arundel Police Release DUI Checkpoint Stats

October 18, 2012

714570_light_5.jpgThe Anne Arundel County Police Department has released its final statistics about a recent DUI checkpoint. The results are consistent with another Maryland DUI checkpoint on the Eastern Shore that was the subject of a previous blog entry, and provide further evidence supporting the conclusion that DUI checkpoints are not a cost effective method of cracking down on drunk driving. In this particular checkpoint traffic was basically slowed to a halt in both directions of Ritchie Highway in Brooklyn Park, Maryland. Anne Arundel County police officers as well as the Maryland State Police worked together in running the checkpoint. The county police did not release just how many total officers were involved, but a conservative estimate would put around twenty total officers at the scene for roughly five hours. Again, this is a conservative estimate for both the amount of officers involved as well as the time frame of the checkpoint. There were likely far more police resources expended in setting up the checkpoint, running it, and then closing up the scene. The statistics do not suggest that this particular checkpoint was worth the costs.

According to the Ann Arundel police, a total of 695 drivers were stopped in the Ritchie Highway DUI checkpoint. That is 695 drivers, and not total citizens that were forced by the government to submit to an involuntary stop. There were most likely over one thousands citizens that had an unwanted run in with the police that night. Out of the 695 drivers, Ann Arundel and Maryland State Police made a total of 5 DUI arrests. Far less than one percent of the drivers that were investigated for DUI actually exhibited enough signs of intoxication to warrant an arrest. Twenty plus police officers and 4 to 6 hours of police work and the only thing to show for it is 5 DUI arrests. For those counting, that is about 1 DUI arrest for every 5 officers, and about one per hour. The numbers just do not add up.

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When Can Police Search My Home And Car?

October 11, 2012

browse.jpegAll Maryland police officers receive some sort of training in constitutional laws relating to search, seizure, and arrest. Constitutional law is by no stretch of the imagination the focus of any police academy's training program. There is just not enough time and too little resources to put every potential police officer through a rigorous classroom curriculum on the search and seizure laws. Even if this training were available, there are no guarantees that each trainee would retain the information, and or use it in while working out in the field. This is not to blame police officers, as it is much easier to sit down and write an essay on constitutional law than it is to follow decades of case law and statutory restrictions during the heat of an arrest. Yes, it is true that some police officers intentionally conduct illegal searches and seizures, and make bad arrests, but good intentioned police officers face the daily challenge of making split decisions to protect life and property, and sometimes there is just no room for the constitution. Therefore police officers will make unlawful arrests, and execute unlawful searches and seizures, and this should be the first issue that any criminal defense lawyer should investigate in any criminal case. But this blog entry is dedicated to those people who wish to avoid ever needing a criminal defense lawyer to address an unlawful arrest. Knowing the basic search and seizure laws is not a foolproof way of avoiding an arrest. Each year thousands of drug prosecutions for substances such as marijuana and cocaine are carried out using evidence that was illegally seized. In addition, hundreds of DUI investigations are initiated after police make an illegal traffic stop. But knowing the law just may help you get out of a sticky situation, and it certainly cannot hurt.

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Will DUI Blood Tests Become Mandatory In Maryland?

October 6, 2012

652136_blood.jpgCompulsory or mandatory blood tests during the course of a DUI investigation have been a hotly debated legal topic over the last decade. The debate over whether cops should legally be able to force a DUI suspect to submit to a blood draw to measure blood alcohol level has been debated in Maryland, Delaware, and in almost every state in the county. Twenty years ago it would truly have been far fetched to predict that a state could one day grant its law enforcement officers the power to force a DUI suspect to submit to a blood test without a warrant, but now this idea is becoming a reality. Many Maryland beachgoers who happen to cross over into Delaware can find out the hard way about this harsh law.

In Delaware, a police officer may require a DUI suspect to submit to a blood alcohol test if he or she refuses to take a breath alcohol test. Typically, an EMT will be called to the scene of the DUI and instructed to take the suspects blood, or the blood draw can occur in the police station. Delaware law does not require that the DUI involve an accident or a serious injury to anyone involved in the DUI. Delaware law also does not require that the arresting officer or any officer obtain a warrant before requiring a blood alcohol test. There have been countless incidents of Maryland residents being arrested for DUI in Delaware, especially in the summer months when Marylanders flock to beach towns such as Dewey and Rehoboth. Many times these Maryland residents try to invoke their right to refuse a breath or blood alcohol test, only to be informed (and many times rudely informed) that this is only a right they can exercise in Maryland.

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