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United States District Court for the District of Maryland
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Bar Association of Montgomery County, Maryland

Most people are aware of the legal defense of “self-defense.” Most people do not know, however, that the law recognizes more than one type of self-defense. Depending on the facts of a case, the accused may be entitled to assert what the law calls “perfect” or “imperfect” self-defense. Each offers its own ways of helping an accused person. When facing a serious criminal matter, you should talk to an experienced Maryland criminal defense lawyer, who can provide insight into the affirmative defenses available under this state’s laws, including self-defense.

In Maryland, “perfect” self-defense requires an accused person to prove that he had an actual fear of “immediate or imminent… bodily harm,” and that this belief was objectively reasonable. “Imperfect” self-defense requires proving that the accused acted on an actual fear of immediate or imminent bodily harm, even if that belief was unreasonable. Perfect self-defense is a complete defense and, when proven, entitles an accused person to an acquittal. Imperfect self-defense negates the element of malice, allowing, for example, a person facing a murder charge to receive a conviction for the lesser crime of voluntary manslaughter.

Recently, the Appellate Court of Maryland weighed in regarding when an accused person is entitled to demand that his jury receive an instruction regarding imperfect self-defense.

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Earlier this month, the Biden Administration and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced two new initiatives related to immigrants. One is tailored toward expediting the work visa process for college degree-holding Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients (“DREAMers”) who graduated from U.S. colleges and universities. The other is designed to help undocumented spouses and children of U.S. citizens in their pursuit of legal status. The new initiatives are yet another reminder that the law regarding DREAMers is fluid and evolves frequently. As you pursue your work visa, it is wise to retain a knowledgeable Maryland immigration lawyer who is fully up-to-date on the latest changes related to DACA and the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act.

One initiative will purportedly expedite the process for DREAMers with college degrees from accredited U.S. colleges/universities and have qualifying job offers. To access the new policy, the offer must be: (1) from a U.S. employer and (2) be in a field related to the applicant’s university major. Additionally, the applicant must “otherwise qualify for the nonimmigrant visa they are applying for.”

If the applicant meets these criteria, he/she could be eligible for a Section 212(d)(3) waiver. Section 212(d)(3) allows federal immigration authorities, on a discretionary basis, to waive most grounds of inadmissibility. This part of the new initiative involves providing enhanced clarity regarding waiver eligibilities, processes, and procedures under Section 212(d)(3).

Expert witnesses can make a huge difference in the outcome of a criminal trial. The law only allows experts to testify if their opinions are outside the general knowledge of an ordinary juror. In other words, they are probably opining about something scientific and/or technical outside the jury’s general familiarity and education. That unfamiliarity often leads jurors to afford expert opinions considerable weight. If you’re facing a criminal trial where the state plans to use an expert (or experts) as part of its case, you need a skilled Maryland criminal defense lawyer on your side. A knowledgeable advocate can help ensure that a proposed expert is qualified and that the testimony they give is allowed under the court’s limiting instructions.

There are many ways to blunt the prosecution’s use of expert testimony against you. A recent Montgomery County homicide trial illustrates the law that governs these legal arguments and court determinations.

The accused, G.J., was on trial in connection with a double murder in Burtonsville. According to prosecutors, the accused met with J.F. to pay a drug debt but, instead of paying, shot and killed J.F. and A.D., who had driven J.F. to the meeting. The police’s investigation determined that the killer shot the pair with a 9mm gun.

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The paperwork and procedural requirements involved in pursuing a work visa are often intricate and detailed. Even technical errors may substantially reduce your odds of success… or derail you completely. To ensure that the application you put forward is free of the pitfalls that can harm or destroy your chances of a successful outcome, it pays to work with a Maryland work visa lawyer who is fully knowledgeable and experienced in these matters.

Last month, the U.S. Customs and Immigration Service revealed the number of H-1B visa registrations it received for Fiscal Year 2025. That number of registrations for FY 2025 represented a massive 39% drop from the agency’s total registrations for FY 2024.

Multiple possible reasons may explain the substantial dip. One fact worth noting is that the number of registrations for 2024 – 780,844 – was vastly higher than in any other recent year. Since 2021, the second highest number of registrations came in FY 2023, at 483,927. (2025’s registrations, numbering 479,953, were less than 1% fewer than those received in 2023.)

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The “rules of the game” in criminal trials are constantly evolving to one degree or another. New decisions from the Appellate Court or Supreme Court — as well as new laws from the legislature — can impact an array of issues relevant to criminal cases, including things like what constitutes a custodial police interrogation (as it relates to a defendant’s constitutional right to counsel,) what degree of reasonable suspicion is necessary for the police to stop someone on the street (in terms of that person’s search and seizure rights,) or what level of blood toxicity is required to constitute legal intoxication. Ensuring that your rights are protected to the fullest is about more than simply having any Maryland criminal defense lawyer, but rather having a skilled and knowledgeable one who is fully up-to-date on all recent changes to the law and how they impact your case.

If one Baltimore delegate has his way, the rules will be changing again — this time, to limit the use of “creative expressions” in criminal trials. This bill comes in the wake of a well-publicized racketeering trial to our south.

Young Thug is a Grammy Award-winning rapper. According to prosecutors in Georgia, he is also the head of an Atlanta-based criminal street gang. The Fulton County District Attorney’s Office put the rapper and 28 associates on trial for 56 criminal counts, including racketeering.

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Many of the undocumented immigrants who find themselves facing deportation may choose to avail themselves of the process known as “cancelation of removal.” A new ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court says that many of those applicants may, even if unsuccessful at the agency level, continue pursuing their case in the federal courts. Whether you’re before an immigration judge, the Board of Immigration Appeals, or a federal court, your odds of success are greatest when you have legal representation from an experienced Maryland deportation defense lawyer.

The immigrant in the Supreme Court case – S.W. — faced deportation following a 2019 arrest on drug charges. Although local prosecutors later declined to pursue the criminal case, immigration authorities went forward with the deportation action against the man.

The immigrant acknowledged that he was eligible for deportation (he had long overstayed the tourist visa he obtained in 2003,) but argued that he was entitled to a cancelation of removal.

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In many criminal matters that make it to trial, the difference between an acquittal and a conviction is which side’s witnesses the jury finds more believable. To ensure you have the benefit of a fair trial, the law forbids the prosecution from doing or saying certain things that would tend to bolster unfairly the credibility of its witnesses. Keeping out this kind of inadmissible evidence often requires a well-stated and well-timed objection, which one reason why is any accused person’s case can benefit from the services of a skilled Maryland criminal defense lawyer.

The prosecution of E.C. in Montgomery County is a prime example of this sort of inadmissible evidence.

In April 2022, the accused man stood trial in a multi-count sex crime case. The state’s central witness was the alleged victim. In addition to the alleged victim, the prosecution also presented a physician who spoke to the alleged victim. The physician testified that the alleged victim’s comments and statements were “credible.”

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Generally, this blog discusses court cases where the accused person obtained a favorable result in the Appellate Court or the Supreme Court. L.B. from Baltimore was not one of those people. Nevertheless, we spotlight his case because his actions provide a list of “what not to do” in a traffic stop. These can only harm your position legally and make the task of your skillful Maryland criminal defense lawyer immensely more difficult to avoid a conviction and jail time.

L.B.’s legal troubles began when an officer with the Anne Arundel County Police pulled him over in Severn. The officer initially stopped the man for a non-working license plate light. This traffic violation is a minor one and carries only a small fine.

Once stopped, L.B. exited his car and told the officer he didn’t have his driver’s license. Driving without a license is a more serious offense, but still only a misdemeanor. It can trigger larger fines (up to $500) and as many as five points assessed on your license.

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A television show from the 2000s and ‘10s bore the title What Not to Wear, and featured men and women who had made many purported fashion “mistakes.” Court rulings sometimes educate readers in a broadly similar way, cautioning them about “what not to do” in legal actions. One way to minimize the mistakes that can damage or destroy your asylum case is to work with an experienced Maryland asylum lawyer, who will help you ensure your case has what it needs, and that it avoids the missteps that often derail asylum applications.

A recent cautionary opinion came from an asylum case in the federal 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and the Carolinas. The asylum seekers — a couple and their minor child — came from El Salvador and alleged that they would face severe persecution from the MS-13 gang if U.S. authorities returned them to their native country.

Specifically, the couple asserted that their relative, Guadalupe, was the ex-girlfriend of Francisco, a local MS-13 gang leader. 12 days before their asylum hearing, the couple submitted affidavits that asserted that the family was unsure of Guadalupe’s whereabouts and “always believed that she has been taken by MS-13 gang members.” They also alleged that “no one knows where she went. She just disappeared. She may have been taken by the gang members.”

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The jury selection process in Maryland criminal trials is influenced by many competing factors. Each opposing side seeks a jury panel that, in their opinion, will be optimally receptive to their arguments and evidence. Prosecutors have many tools and know numerous techniques to help them fashion the jury they want. If you’re someone facing trial, you need a skilled Maryland criminal defense lawyer on your side who can level the playing field and help you get the fair jury you need.

In some cases, two factors that may conflict are the right to utilize peremptory challenges (which allow the removal of potential jurors even in the absence of a reason for that removal) and the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection. A theft case recently before the Appellate Court of Maryland highlights what the law requires in these circumstances.

Courts follow the seminal case in this area, a 1986 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Batson v. Kentucky. The high court said that prosecutors could not use their peremptory challenges to exclude potential jurors based on discriminatory considerations like race. (In that case, a Kentucky prosecutor used peremptory challenges to remove African-American potential jurors, leaving an all-white jury to decide the fate of an African-American defendant on trial for burglary.)

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