badges

When you are on trial for a crime in Maryland, there are several things that the court has to decide before the jury decides whether you’re not guilty or guilty. For instance, with certain types of proof, the judge may have to decide whether proposed evidence is more likely to bias the jury than prove or disprove some aspect of the case, or vice versa. Winning these disputes about whether evidence should be admitted or excluded can make the difference between a conviction or an acquittal, so it is important to have a skillful Maryland criminal defense attorney on your side to win these arguments and keep out harmful evidence.

Even just a single answer can be enough to alter the outcome of your case. Consider the recent case of C.W. C.W.’s interaction with the police began after a Baltimore County police officer observed what he believed to be a drug transaction involving C.W. and another man. C.W. was eventually arrested and charged with “possession of cocaine and possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute.” During booking, the officer asked C.W. about his employment status and C.W. indicated that he was unemployed. The officer testified to this at trial.

The defendant’s lawyer smartly – and correctly – objected to this testimony, arguing that it was not relevant. The judge denied the objection and the jury eventually convicted C.W.

Continue reading →

Police responses in dealing with persons of color whom the police claim were “resisting arrest” have been major topics across America recently, as they rightfully should be. As anyone who’s ever faced such a charge knows, resisting arrest is one of the most subjective crimes in Maryland, and trials on resisting charges may often come down to a contest of who the jury thinks is more credible – you or the police officer. To win a case like that, you may need to be able to show that the officer is biased or that his testimony is not reliable. Succeeding in doing that often requires a highly skilled and experienced Maryland criminal defense attorney, who knows exactly how to get the officer to come across as biased or unreliable on cross-examination.

Successfully rendering a police officer’s testimony not believable through effective cross-examination is not the only way your knowledgeable criminal defense attorney can help you to defeat a resisting arrest charge. There are also specific defenses to a charge of resisting arrest, one of which was highlighted in a recent drug crime case from Worcester County.

The origins of the case began when a Pocomoke City police officer pulled over R.W. for talking on his cell phone while driving. The officer put on his lights and R.W. pulled over. R.W. got out of his car, even though the officer had not told him to do so.

Continue reading →

There are various ways in which the state can pursue a case against you based on drug or weapons charges, with one of those being a “possession” charge. Many times, the prosecution seeks to do so by proving you had “constructive possession” of the contraband. That often relies heavily on circumstantial evidence, and may be more readily defeated than an “actual possession” charge. With the help of a knowledgeable Maryland criminal defense attorney, you may be able to minimize the persuasiveness of the state’s circumstantial evidence and get the acquittal or dismissal you need.

Here in Maryland, the law has created a four-part method for determining constructive possession. In the example of possession of ammunition, those parts are: (1) Did the defendant have ownership or the legal right to possess the item (such as a car, a home, a desk or a dresser) where the ammunition was found? (2) Was the ammunition located in close proximity to the accused? (3) Was the property item in “plain view”? (4) Was there any evidence of actual possession of the ammunition?

The recent case a Baltimore man recently faced is an example of clearly insufficient evidence of constructive possession. It’s important to remember that, in every element of the criminal charges you’re facing, it is the state that bears the burden of proof. In other words, the prosecutors have to “prove it” rather than your having to negate elements of the crime.

Continue reading →

We’ve almost all seen it on TV. The police obtain a criminal suspect and place her in interrogation. Once there, the police use a full array of tactics, from encouragement to intimidation to empathy, seeking to get the testimony they need. Because the police officers are often the beloved stars of the show, the techniques they use almost end up being proper and permissible. In real life, it’s more complicated. Sometimes, the police may say things the law considers to be an “improper inducement.” When you can show that that happened to you, it may help you get potentially damaging evidence excluded from your case. Of course, the best way to ensure you are not being lured by police to make an incriminating statement in an interrogation setting is to make sure you have an experienced Maryland criminal defense attorney by your side before you say anything to the police.

A.H. was a woman caught in that kind of situation as a suspect in a murder case. While questioning A.H., Baltimore police told the woman many things, including that “honesty is the best policy” and that “this is the honesty you need to stay with to stay out of big trouble.” The police also told her that she was “either going to be a witness or… a defendant,” but that if the woman was “straight up” then “we’ll work with you.”

At that point, A.H. revealed that she was a sex worker who was on an appointment with the victim at the time of the murder. A.H.’s crack dealer, E, instructed her to take the appointment and to “leave the door unlocked.” Because she feared E and because she thought E and his partner would, at most, beat up the victim, A.H. did as she was told. The victim ultimately died of multiple stab wounds. Based on A.H.’s statements, the state went to trial against her on robbery and homicide charges.

Continue reading →

Law enforcement officers may stop your moving vehicle or approach your parked vehicle for a variety of reasons. While many of those reasons are legal and appropriate, sometimes they’re not. When you’re involved in an illegal search and seizure and that encounter ends with your arrest, then the law says that you are entitled to a trial that does not include the evidence found. A trial without that evidence will almost certainly increase your odds of an acquittal. However, to get that trial without that damaging evidence, you have to know the right way to go about seeking a ruling from the judge suppressing that evidence. To ensure that your criminal trial does not include any evidence the police obtained illegally, it pays to have a skilled Maryland criminal defense attorney handling your case.

K.W.’s criminal case was one of those situations. He and a woman were inside a pickup truck parked in a Temple Hills apartment complex parking lot. While on patrol, a police officer spotted “a lot of movement” inside K.W.’s truck, so the officer approached the truck.

Once K.W.’s passenger rolled down her window, the officer smelled an odor of alcohol, and spotted a half-empty bottle of gin and two plastic cups with what looked like liquor in them. The officer ordered K.W. out of the truck. The officer then began a search of the truck, theoretically to recover the bottle of gin. During the search, the officer found a gun that was registered to K.W.

Continue reading →

Your skilled Maryland criminal defense attorney can help you in a wide array of ways. One vital area is working out a plea agreement. A knowledgeable attorney has the experience to know when you should or should not agree to a plea bargain and, if yes, how to get the best possible deal. Making the right plea bargain can have multiple important benefits for an accused person. It can reduce the amount of time you have to spend in prison, or help you avoid prison entirely. It also can, if carefully constructed, limit the amount of collateral exposure a person can face, such as being placed on — or avoiding — the Sex Offender Registry.

J.R. was one accused man whose recent case is an example of a legal team that made a good deal. J.R. was facing multiple sex crime charges, and some of those were sex crimes charges against a minor. The accused man entered a guilty plea on exactly one charge. That one criminal charge was a sex crime, but it was not a sex crime against a minor. All the other charges, including the sex crimes against a minor, were dropped by the prosecution as part of the plea agreement.

After J.R. agreed to a plea deal, the state notified him that he was required to register as a “Tier II” sex offender, and remain on the Sex Offender Registry for 25 years, because the victim was a minor. J.R. appealed, taking his case all the way to Maryland’s highest court, where he won.

Continue reading →

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is a British author best known for writing the stories of detective Sherlock Holmes. In the 1891 story, A Case of Identity, Holmes opined that “it has long been an axiom of mine, that the little things are infinitely the most important.” Any good Maryland criminal defense attorney will immediately recognize the wisdom in the fictional Holmes’s observation. In criminal cases, the difference between an acquittal and a conviction may rest upon the ability to spot all the little things, and then use them to the client’s maximum benefit.

For example, take the case of E.B. from Baltimore. The accused man was on trial for burglary and theft. At the end of the trial, E.B. was found guilty of fourth-degree burglary. E.B. got that conviction overturned, and “the little things” were a big reason why.

When you are put on trial for a crime in this state, there is always something that came before that trial. That “something” is either a warrantless arrest, an application for a statement of charges, a charging document or an indictment by a grand jury. Whichever occurred in your case, that’s where you can find out exactly what criminal charge the state is pursuing.

Continue reading →

Winning an argument about the hearsay rule can be something that makes the difference between an acquittal and a conviction. A piece of hearsay evidence may have the potential to sway a jury profoundly. However, the law says that hearsay evidence is generally unreliable and can only be used in a trial under certain, specific circumstances. Putting on your strongest possible defense involved many things, including winning these kinds of arguments about whether certain pieces of evidence are admissible or inadmissible. To get that strongest possible defense, be sure you have an experienced Maryland criminal defense attorney on your side.

What do we mean about hearsay and “special circumstances”? Here’s an example from Annapolis. An anonymous 911 caller reported a shooting. A second anonymous 911 call identified O.J. as being involved, identifying him by his nickname. (The caller stated that “Tooty” was involved, and O.J. was known to go by the nickname “Tutti.”)

At O.J.’s trial, the prosecution asked to enter into evidence that second 911 call. The defense objected, arguing that the call was inadmissible hearsay. The judge sided with the prosecutor and allowed the evidence in. The call was eventually played for the jury and O.J. was convicted.

Continue reading →

Many people frequently make the mistake of thinking that the key to success in a criminal case lies within some evidence produced at trial or some argument made during the trial itself. In TV courtroom dramas, the “a-ha!” moment almost always happens at or near the end of the trial. In real life, however, it’s more complicated than that. Each phase of the process can potentially be the one that makes the difference between acquittal and conviction. The question that tips the outcome in your favor may be one asked during voir dire, long before anyone even makes an opening statement at trial. This, among many other things, is why you need to be sure you have a skilled Maryland criminal defense attorney working for you from the very beginning of your case.

Not a lot of people know much about voir dire other than as a badly mispronounced phrase in the 1990s courtroom comedy film, My Cousin Vinny. In reality, voir dire is an essential process in any criminal case. When it comes to a jury, voir dire means a process where the judge and the attorneys asked potential jurors a series of questions. Voir dire is very, very important because it can go a long way toward identifying people who will be willing to look at all the evidence and render a fair verdict, and also identify people who might be predisposed toward returning a guilty verdict, even when the state hasn’t fully met its burden.

In a recent first-degree murder case, the defense was looking for those kinds of potential jurors, hoping to identify and exclude them. The defense wanted to ask several questions designed to achieve that goal, including spotting potential jurors who would be unwilling or unable to follow jury instructions related to the defendant’s presumption of innocence, the state’s burden of proof and the defendant’s right not to take the stand in his own defense. The trial judge, however, refused to allow those questions to be posed to the potential jurors.

Continue reading →

Sometimes, bad things happen…things that tug at the emotions. These events may trigger public outrage and a feeling that someone must “pay.” It is important, however, that these emotions do not rule our criminal justice system. Even if a person has done something wrong, that person should not be convicted of a homicide crime if his actions did not meet the law’s standards for that degree of homicide. That’s one of the places where a skilled Maryland homicide defense attorney can help: by winning an argument that says that, even if you did everything the state says you did, you still are not guilty of the crime that the prosecution charged.

For example, imagine a man fighting a battle against drug addiction and seemingly in recovery. He has a devoted mother and a successful girlfriend who are diligent in trying to keep him on the road to recovery. He also, however, has a friend who is an addict and, one day, the friend buys some heroin and offers to sell him half. He takes the heroin, overdoses and dies. That would undoubtedly be an emotional case, and it actually happened in Queen Anne’s County.

B.R. died because the heroin his friend, N.J., had purchased also contained fentanyl. The state charged N.J. with several crimes, including involuntary manslaughter. The trial court convicted him on the manslaughter charge.

Continue reading →

Contact Information