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Domestic violence policies improve legal protection for victims

Ever since Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown's cousin was murdered by an estranged partner in 2008, he has served as a champion for those suffering under domestic abuse. Brown has been a force for change in the state of Maryland, working to improve domestic violence legislation and extend additional protections to victims of such attacks. The result: The current administration has implemented a variety of reforms and programs that have actually reduced the number of domestic violence incidents in the state. If you are in a domestic violence situation, these laws may be able to help you reach safety and protect your legal rights.

Two bills were approved in March to help provide additional security for domestic violence sufferers. In the past, these individuals had to provide "clear and convincing evidence" -- a heavy evidence burden -- in order to obtain a protective order. Now, a lower standard known as "preponderance of the evidence" is in place. That means that a victim can now obtain a protective order without having to endure the rigors of aggressive courtroom proceedings.

Maryland woman loses life in alleged DUI hit-and-run accident

Making the decision to drink and then go out on the roadway is a serious one that can have tragic consequences whether you're a pedestrian or are behind the wheel of a car. The recent incidents that have happened at one busy Maryland intersection underscore the importance of turning over the responsibility of getting home to others after drinking alcohol.

On July 6, a 21-year-old recent college graduate decided to spend an evening out with her sorority sisters. At roughly 3 a.m., she was attempting to cross over US 1 when a minivan struck her. She was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash. Law enforcement officials were able to track down the alleged driver of the car. He was arrested and charged with DUI, reckless endangerment and negligent auto homicide.

School officer pleads guilty to federal drug charges

A 31-year-old man who was employed as a police officer in Baltimore schools has pleaded guilty to federal drug charges. The man, who has served on the force for four years, will spend at least five years in prison for the alleged drug crimes, according to news reports. The man pleaded guilty to drug possession with intent to distribute both crack cocaine and cocaine base.

Investigators say that the man admitted to purchasing large amounts of cocaine from suppliers, selling at least 150 grams of the drug to a police informant. That confidential source had been working with police officers, purchasing drugs from the defendant on four separate occasions between 2012 and 2013. Authorities do not believe that the man was working with a network of other dealers. Although information about his plea was just released to the public, the agreement was actually drafted several months ago.

Former school police officer takes plea deal in federal drug case

A former four-year veteran of the Baltimore City School Police recently pleaded guilty to federal charges in U.S. District Court. The charges were for drug possession with intent to distribute cocaine base and conspiring to distribute crack cocaine. He now faces at least five years in federal prison, but the maximum sentence for the charges is 40 years.

The 31-year-old man sold cocaine to someone who was working with law enforcement. The sales happened between December 2012 and August 2013, on four occasions. As part of his plea agreement, the man, whose father just happened to be a homicide detective with the Baltimore Police, admitted that he bought “multiple ounces of cocaine base at a time from his suppliers. He received $9,800 for the crack, which weighed 150 grams.

Man accused of violent crime after shooting victim in car

Authorities have charged a Maryland man with shooting another male victim in a grocery store parking lot. The 26-year-old man is accused of committing the violent crime inside the victim's vehicle. Reports show that the defendant's two young children may have been in the vehicle with the man at the time of the shooting.

Authorities say that the defendant admitted to officers that he had shot the victim in the late-morning altercation on June 26. The defendant is accused of shooting a 46-year-old man in the head while he was sitting in the passenger seat of a vehicle. It appears that the vehicle did not belong to the victim.

Cadet charged with drug offenses after evidence vault raid

A young member of the Baltimore police force has been accused of making off with a significant amount of drugs from an evidence vault at the headquarters of the department. The 20-year-old cadet is accused of taking substances that were to be used as evidence in at least 15 cases. The alleged drug offenses included the theft and sale of cocaine, oxycodone, morphine and a variety of other drugs, all valued at at least $125,000. The defendant is accused of selling the drugs to his relatives.

The defendant has been officially charged with theft and drug offenses. He was being held in the Baltimore County Detention Center on a $650,000 bond, according to authorities. The man does not have an adult criminal record.

Woman gets 5 years for sex crimes after taking pics of girls

A former resident of Bel Air, Maryland, has been sentenced to five years' prison time after she entered a guilty plea for the distribution of child pornography. The woman, age 46, was charged in federal court for the sex crimes, ostensibly because the pornographic material was distributed across state lines. The woman is accused of taking a series of photographs of two minor females at the request of her husband at the time.

The couple came under scrutiny after information was submitted in 2012 indicating that the man had illicit videos and images of young children on his external hard drive at his home. Authorities searched the home and seized a variety of electronic devices apparently used to perpetrate the sex crimes. The man had more than 2,000 images and 100 videos of minors who were engaged in sexual acts, including children that had not yet reached puberty.

Man freed after judge decides evidence lacking for violent crimes

A Maryland man has been acquitted of criminal charges after he reportedly shot an intruder in his home in 2013. The defendant was cleared of the charges after a judge ruled that the prosecution had not provided enough evidence to convict the man of violent crimes including second-degree murder and manslaughter. Interestingly, that ruling came before the defense could even make its initial presentation; the Anne Arundel County Circuit Court judge concluded the criminal proceeding before the defense was needed.

Attorneys for the man say they are "elated" at the court's decision, which has cleared the defendant of all charges in connection with the matter. The defendant says he is looking forward to resuming his career in the Air Force. As a sergeant in that military branch, the man had his security clearance revoked because he was standing trial for the murder charges.

Teacher extradited to Maryland to face sex crimes charges

A 41-year-old man who had been a high school teacher and boy's baseball coach is facing charges for sexual misconduct with a teenager. The man is accused of committing the sex offenses in Frederick, Maryland, in 1997. News reports show that the man, who now lives in Washington state, is being extradited back to Maryland to face charges. He is officially accused of child abuse, attempted sex offense and sex offense.

Investigators allege that the defendant committed the sex crimes when he engaged in sexual contact with a boy who was 13 at the time of the incidents. The assault apparently occurred between April 1997 and September 1997, according to those officers. The case was under investigation in 2007, but it was suspended because of inadequate evidence and information. The man was arrested because new information came to light and the investigation was subsequently reopened.

Man gets 20 years with 15 suspended for fatal DUI crash

A Maryland man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for his role in a fatal accident that killed his young son, but 15 of those years have been suspended by the court. As a result, the man will spend only five years behind bars for the traffic crimes. The 28-year-old man had pleaded guilty to a variety of charges in connection with the accident, including aggravated involuntary manslaughter. He was also accused of DUI after the November wreck.

Official reports show that the defendant admitted to drinking alcohol before driving with his two children in the car. Investigators were not able to obtain a blood sample until six hours after the crash; at that time, the man's blood alcohol content measured at 0.05 percent. Analysts said that the man's blood alcohol content level would likely have been at about 0.11 percent at the time of the wreck.

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