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District Court Bench Bar Committee

     Richmond decision update: The Court of Appeals ordered the implementation of the Richmond Decision effective July 1, 2014.  (Rule 4-213, et seq).  In furtherance of the implementation, the Court of Appeals has created a District Court of Maryland Appointed Attorneys Program for the purpose of providing attorney representation to indigent criminal defendants during initial appearances. The program provides compensation to attorneys who contribute their time and legal expertise.  For information, and to register, go to this link: http://www.courts.state.md.us/district/appointedattorneys/
     E-filing Update: The Maryland Electronic Courts Program is starting training for Anne Arundel County Bar Association Members in August. The training will be open to other attorneys shortly and there will also be webinars and videos. Registration for e-filing is projected to start September 15. Implementation for the actual start of
e-filing is still projected to start sometime in the fall in Anne Arundel County.
     Change in marijuana possession laws: Effective October 1, 2014, law enforcement officers will be able to issue civil citations for possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana, These charges will not appear in Case Search and defendants may pay a penalty of $100.00 without appearing in court. 
     Because these new citations charge a civil offense, the burden of proof will be preponderance of the evidence, but District Court will schedule the cases on criminal dockets in the same manner as drug cases are now.
     The State’s Attorney’s Office is already modifying its approach on first offense possession of less than ten grams cases under current law. Assistant State’s Attorneys can now resolve such cases by authorizing defendants to make a voluntary contribution of $100.00 at the time of trial. A court appearance is still mandatory on existing marijuana charges of any kind.
     Contraband Policy: The Court once again is drawing counsel’s attention to the contraband policy (District Court Practice Pointers) printed on page 7 of this Newsletter.  Discretion is also given to the supervising bailiff to determine if other items may be designated as contraband based on the accompanying circumstances.  The Prohibited items policy applies to attorneys as well as non-attorney.

District Court Practice Pointer
(Contraband Policy)

Ask all persons, prior to passing through the metal detector, to place in the supplied containers all loose items such as, not not limited to: cigarettes, keys, lighters, change, knives, pagers, cellular phones, credit cards, and all other metal objects.
Inspect all bags, briefcases, handbags, packages, etc.  The baliff shall use a ruler or paint paddle to help facilitate this inspection.
Not allow into the courthouse, except when prior approval has been granted by the administrative judge, administrative clerk, or supervising baliff, for evidentiary or facility maintenance purposes, the following:
Knives of any size.
­Stun guns, slapjacks, nightsticks, brass knuckles, nunchaku, illegal knives, and any other dangerous or deadly weapon, possession of which constitutes a violation of Maryland Law.  Such items shall be confiscated as potential evidence.
Scissors
Metal nail files
Razors, box cutters
Containers of chemical agents
Screwdrivers, tools of any kind
Metal belts
Laser light pointers (pens)
Handguns

Chair

Reginald W. Bours
Richard D. London

 

Meeting Dates

September 4, 2014
October 2, 2014
November 6, 2014
December 4, 2014
January 8, 2015
February 5, 2015
March 5, 2015
April 2, 2015
May 7, 2015

Meetings will be held on the 1st Thursday of the month at 8AM in the Judges Conference Room in the District Court building, 191 East Jefferson St., Rockville, MD, unless otherwise noted.