Justia Lawyer Rating
MSBA
United States District Court for the District of Maryland
2021 Member
ABA
Bar Association of Montgomery County, Maryland

Hearsay evidence is generally inadmissible. Hearsay evidence also can be incredibly harmful to an accused person in a criminal case. It can fill in crucial gaps in the state’s case or work to bolster the credibility of a key prosecution witness. Hearsay evidence doesn’t just exclude itself; it requires a well-timed and well-articulated motion by the defense. When it comes to accomplishing this and other crucial goals of your defense, make sure you have a skilled Maryland criminal defense lawyer advocating for you.

The theft and assault case of a Baltimore-area woman is a good example. S.S. was on trial for assault and for stealing $300-$500 of merchandise at a party supplies store.

The case arose after the store’s assistant manager allegedly spotted the accused woman stuffing numerous party favor balls into a “really big purse.” The manager confronted S.S. at the store’s exit, at which point the accused allegedly kicked the manager in the leg. Later, S.S. allegedly punched a cashier in the face.

Continue reading

If you are someone who is in the United States and is undocumented, you know that you may be at risk of “removal,” a/k/a deportation. You should also know that the law has several forms of relief from removal. Your case might make you eligible for “cancellation of removal,” or for “administrative closure,” allowing you to remain in the country. Obtaining these or other forms of relief requires an in-depth knowledge of immigration law and procedure, as the processes are often intricate and complex. That’s why you should retain an experienced Maryland immigration lawyer when you’re facing deportation.

An undocumented Honduran man named Jesús faced that potential reality. In 2014, his wife, who was a United States citizen, filed a Form I-130, known as a “Petition for Alien Relative,” which the federal government approved in November 2015. This is the procedure for obtaining a Green Card for a family member of a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident of the U.S.

If, as Jesús was, you’re already in the U.S. and facing deportation proceedings, then you may also need to pursue what the law calls “administrative closure.” This is a process, used by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) and immigration judges, that effectively suspends your deportation proceeding indefinitely.

Continue reading

A lot of people who face criminal charges have, at some point in the past, had interactions with the criminal justice system. However, when you’re on trial, the law requires that the state build a case against you based on the crime charged, not on whether or not you did less-than-perfect things in your past. That’s why the law generally says that “prior bad acts” can’t be used in your trial. Understanding this and all the other legal rules that exist to protect you from an unfair prosecution is part of having a truly powerful defense. It’s also a crucial reason why it’s well worthwhile to have a knowledgeable Maryland criminal defense lawyer on your side.

W.W. was one of those people. In 2017, he allegedly assisted a District Heights woman with modifying her mortgage. He told her he would serve as her lawyer and obtain the modification she sought. Over the course of that business relationship, he collected $3,495 for various expenses.

W.W., however, was not an attorney, and the woman’s home eventually ended up in foreclosure. The state charged W.W. with engaging in a theft scheme of more than $1,500 but less than $25,000.

Continue reading

In a criminal case, it’s not always getting an acquittal. Sometimes, that outcome simply isn’t “in the cards.” Even when it’s not, you still need the right Maryland criminal defense lawyer on your side to protect your rights and ensure you get justice. Even if a conviction is unavoidable, it’s still important to fight back against overcharging or excessively long prison sentences, which can make a world of difference.

There are lots of things that Maryland law says you have the right to present in the sentencing phase of your case. Getting as much of this before the court as possible can be crucial to leaving with a fair sentence.

In D.M.’s assault and burglary case, the court found him guilty of home invasion, burglary, assault, and reckless endangerment. Immediately after the jury returned its verdict, the trial judge sought to proceed directly to sentencing, but the defense asked for a postponement.

Continue reading

In 2000, an American rock band achieved international commercial success with a song entitled “All the Small Things.” The song saluted the many small things the songwriter’s partner did that were integral to fostering the relationship’s success. A successful criminal defense, much like a successful friendship or couples relationship, is the result of dedication, commitment, and acute attention to detail. Things that might seem small may ultimately be what lead to a successful end result. That’s why, whenever you or your loved one is facing charges, it pays to have skillful representation from an experienced Maryland criminal defense lawyer.

To illustrate what we mean, consider this recent first- and second-degree assault case from Frederick County.

During jury selection, the prosecution used a peremptory challenge on a Black man. (A peremptory challenge is one where the side advancing it need not provide a reason for wanting the potential juror excused.)

Continue reading

For an agreement to be legally binding, certain things must be true. Generally, both sides must have agreed to the agreement’s terms knowingly and voluntarily, free from improper coercion, duress, or fraud. That’s true whether you’re entering into a commercial sales contract, a marital settlement agreement, a plea deal, or an agreement to give the police a statement or confession (and waive your constitutional rights under Miranda v. Arizona.) In each scenario, the standard for invalidating an agreement is different. If the police or a prosecutor deceived your underage child to get you to waive your Miranda rights then, with the help of a skillful Maryland criminal defense lawyer, you may be able to get your agreement or statement thrown out.

Situations involving juvenile suspects are particularly complex and present unique opportunities to get the statement tossed, as one Edgewood homicide case demonstrates.

Three days after the victim’s death, the Harford County Sheriff’s Office arrested 15-year-old J.B. The teen’s parents asked five times to meet with their son, but they were turned down each time.

Continue reading

Most people are aware that the Constitution gives criminal suspects the right to remain silent or to refuse to speak to the police. When a suspect tells the police “I’m not saying anything” or “I’m finished talking,” he’s invoking his constitutional rights. What you may not immediately realize, however, is that the protections related to this right don’t end at the police station. It also can play a role in your criminal trial, as well. This right limits what you have to say, and also restricts what the prosecution can say about your silence. Whether you’re facing questions from a police detective or are standing trial, one of the best ways to protect yourself and your rights is to have an experienced Maryland criminal defense lawyer by your side.

Your constitutional rights give you the prerogative to refuse to talk to the police or to talk for a while and then refuse to say anything more. They also allow you to refuse to testify at your trial. What’s more, though, these rights also prohibit the prosecutor from implying or flat-out telling the jury that your utilizing your right of silence is a sign of your guilt.

That right took center stage in a recent appeal of a Baltimore man’s murder conviction. The defendant, M.A., was on trial for the brutal murder of his longtime girlfriend. The suspect told Baltimore Homicide detectives that he had been out walking his dog and had returned to find the woman covered in blood. Once the police continued pressing M.A., he stated that he wasn’t “going to answer no more questions. I told you what happened, and I’m going to shut my mouth.”

Continue reading

As we noted earlier this month, many drug arrests start as traffic stops. In addition, a lot of drug arrests stem from encounters where the police stop an individual and eventually engage in a search of that individual’s person. Unless the interaction was completely voluntary (such as a situation where the police informed you that you were free to leave,) that stop may implicate your Fourth Amendment rights, and any evidence obtained in that search may be illegally obtained if the police lacked the required degree of reasonable suspicion or probable cause. Contesting illegal searches and getting illegally obtained evidence suppressed is often a key component of success in criminal defense, especially in weapons or drug cases. Having the right Maryland criminal defense lawyer on your side is an essential part of maximizing your chances of success in this type of motion.

A drug case from last year involving a search conducted at a shopping mall highlights many of the considerations involved in this kind of case. The incident began when two local police detectives patrolling the Brooklyn Park Shopping Plaza noticed a man, A.G., who had been banned from the plaza based on suspected drug dealing.

When they caught up to A.G., D.S. was standing at his side. The detectives asked to search A.G. and he consented. At that point, D.S. volunteered to allow the detectives to search his pockets. During the latter search, police discovered an object beneath one of the teen’s pockets. Upon further searching, the police found 26 vials of crack cocaine.

Continue reading

Many drug “busts” by police officers start as traffic stops. While most are conducted within the bounds of the law, a substantial percentage of them are not. In those instances, the pulled-over driver is subjected to a search and/or seizure that violates constitutional protections. When that happens, the search is illegal and the evidence obtained is subject to suppression in any ensuing trial. To get that evidence suppressed, though, you’ll need to make a motion and win an argument before the judge. When it comes to doing this (and all the other essential tasks of a criminal defense) successfully, make sure you’ve got the right Maryland criminal defense lawyer on your side.

As an example, there’s this drug case upon which the federal Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals (which covers Maryland, the Carolinas, and two other states) recently ruled.

The minor traffic violation, in this case, was tinted windows. A local police officer stopped H.D., suspecting that the man’s windows were illegally dark. While the officer was speaking with backup officers who had arrived subsequently, the suspect drove away.

Continue reading

The law of self-defense has been in the news a lot lately… especially to our south. While cases in Maryland that involve arguments of self-defense may not grab as many headlines as those in other states, they are no less important, especially for the person on trial. Getting the maximum usefulness from your self-defense arguments is something that requires an in-depth knowledge of Maryland criminal law, so don’t head into your criminal case unprepared. Instead, protect yourself by retaining an experienced Maryland criminal defense lawyer.

When it comes to self-defense in Maryland, a recent gunshot case is very instructive. That prosecution arose from a Dec. 1, 2018 dispute between two North Baltimore neighbors regarding ownership of two air conditioner units. In an unusual twist, each argued that they belonged to the other man.

K.B. testified that he stepped outside after M.P. threw one air conditioner onto his outdoor grill. When he did, M.P. allegedly “darted right inside his house” and immediately went for his gun. K.B. told his neighbor “you’re high. You need to go sleep it off.” K.B. turned to walk away, whereupon M.P. shot him in the leg, according to K.B.’s testimony.

Continue reading

Contact Information