MD Court of Appeals Begins 2022-2023 Session

Underscoring three high-profile cases, the Daily Record published a primer on the Maryland Court of Appeals' 2022-2023 session. The seven-member Court of Appeals is Maryland's highest court and will feature "its first full session with Chief Judge Matthew J. Fader and Judge Angela M. Eaves." Both judges were nominated to the Court in February of this year. According to the Daily Record, Chief Judge Fader "will likely recuse himself from the many appeals the high…

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NACo: Grants Can Promote Public Safety and Judicial Equity

The National Association of Counties (NACo) recently released a piece entitled, "Grantmaking: A County Strategy to Address Racial And Ethnic Disparities In The Criminal Legal System," focusing on county investment approaches to promote equity and community engagement in justice and public safety services. As a primary driver toward equity, NACo advises counties to fund community-led organizations to eliminate "racial and ethnic disparities present in the criminal legal system." Citing the overrepresentation of Black, Latinx, and…

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MD Dept. of Health Proposes New Approach to Involuntary Commitments

The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) recently published draft regulations concerning when an individual can be involuntarily committed to a hospital. After an outpouring of community support, MDH is revisiting its "Danger Standard," under which a patient with mental illness must “present a danger to the life or safety of the individual or of others” (COMAR 10.21.01.04) before being subjected to an emergency psychiatric evaluation and involuntary hospital admission. In MDH's proposed revision, an additional provision…

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Howard Potentially Eliminating Little-Known Court

A Herald-Mail article details a Howard County ballot question seeking to eliminate the county's Orphans' Court, following the lead of two other jurisdictions and potentially creating a statewide rift in the judiciary. Maryland's Orphans' Courts, established through the Maryland Constitution (Article IV, §§ 1 and 40), preside "over the administration of estates." The courts have the "authority to direct the conduct of personal representatives" of an estate and have "jurisdiction over the guardianship of the property…

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MML Likely Championing Municipal Police Oversight

The Maryland Municipal League (MML)'s Legislative Committee has recommended municipal involvement in Police Accountability Boards (PABs) as its priority for the 2023 Maryland General Assembly session. In its announcement, MML expands on its objective: Part of the police reform suite of legislation that passed in 2021 requires each County to have a police accountability board and establish an administrative charging committee. The law does not, however, offer municipalities the option to establish their own Accountability…

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After Years of Advocacy, JUUL Settlement Represents Significant Win

On Tuesday, September 8th, Attorney General Brian Frosh signaled a massive win for public health advocates across Maryland, publicly unveiling a tentative agreement to join a multi-state settlement with JUUL Labs, a vape product manufacturer, worth over $438.5 million. For years, public health advocates and legislators have sought to curb youth vaping, levying multiple tools to achieve this goal, including public awareness campaigns, new laws, and lawsuits. JUUL held, at one point in time, the…

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State and Local Legal Center Ceases Operations

A mainstay of state and local government advocacy on the federal level since 1983, the State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) ended operations on Friday, September 2nd. SLLC was most known for filing amicus curiae briefs in support of states and local governments in the U.S. Supreme Court. It also conducted moot courts for attorneys arguing before the Supreme Court and served as a resource to states and local governments on the U.S. Supreme Court. During the…

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MD Dept. of Health Okays Modified COVID Booster

Following the granting of Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by both the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Maryland Department of Health has updated its COVID-19 Vaccine Plan to allow the use of Pfizer-BioNTech's and Moderna's revised COVID-19 booster shots.  The boosters are bivalent, meaning they provide immunity for both the original strains of the virus and more recent strains such as Omicron and its…

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Montgomery Lawsuit Tests Boundaries of Anton’s Law

On September 5, the Washington Post reported on an ongoing lawsuit between Montgomery County and its police union, potentially undercutting the intent of Anton's Law.  Anton's Law, passed in 2021 as a part of the Maryland General Assembly's sweeping police reform package, removed most police misconduct records as classified personnel records under the Maryland Public Information Act (MPIA). The Law took effect on October 1, 2021. In Montgomery County, Alexa Renehan requested records relating to…

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Final Hurdle Cleared in Opioid Settlements’ Disbursement
Attorney General Brian E. Frosh
Final Hurdle Cleared in Opioid Settlements’ Disbursement

On Wednesday, August 31, two consent judgments were filed in Maryland's Circuit Court for Frederick County, allowing settlement funds from Johnson and Johnson and several major opioid medication distributors to flow to the state and its local governments. The multi-state settlements involving Johnson and Johnson, McKesson, AmeriSourceBergen, and Cardinal Health are worth approximately $395M and were first announced by Attorney General Brian Frosh in September of 2021. As a precondition to the settlement, the defendants required each state…

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