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hammer-802296__480-300x225In a highly controversial decision at the Montgomery County Circuit Court in Rockville, a judge has ordered an alleged murder’s case to be transferred to juvenile court.  The decision angered family members of the four victims, one of whom had died from gunshot wound injuries.  The defendant was originally charged as an adult with one count of murder in the first degree and three counts of attempted first-degree murder in addition to various assault and firearm offenses for allegedly firing 16 rounds of ammunition into a crowd at a Germantown basketball court.  The defendant, who is considered a respondent now that the case has been transferred, was accused to using a homemade polymer ghost gun to fire the shots.  At the time of the incident he was just 14 years old, and now that the case has been transferred, he could be released from a secure juvenile facility in less than one year.  The judge explained his opinion over the course of 30 minutes, and sided with the defense despite strenuous objection from the Office of the State’s Attorney.

While the families of the victims have every right to be outraged by the decision, the judge was bound to follow the rule of law in Maryland, which has changed drastically in the past year.  Any juvenile who is charged as an adult may petition to transfer the case to juvenile court.  This has become known as a reverse waiver hearing, and the judges are required to weigh five independent factors including age of the child, the child’s physical and mental condition, the child’s amenability to treatment in a juvenile facility or program, the nature of the offense and public safety.  In the past too many judges have focused on the nature of the offense, and if it was especially violent the transfer would be denied in the name of public safety.  Pursuant to what is now known as the Davis case, judges are no longer allowed to make these swift, allegation based decisions.  The Court of Appeals in Davis reiterated that the controlling principal of the justice system is protection of the public, and that a juvenile delinquency program that is most effective at treating, educating and rehabilitating offenders will best protect the public in the long run.  Amenability to treatment has become the determinative factor when considering transfer, and the other four factors ultimately lead up to amenability.  Amenability in this context is best interpreted as whether a child would benefit from a juvenile program.  If the answer is yes, then the case should be transferred regardless of the underlying nature of the charges.

The defendant was originally charged as an adult because Maryland juvenile courts do not have original jurisdiction over individuals 14 and over who are facing charges that carry life in jail.  The first-degree murder and attempted murder charges all carry life in prison, which means the juvenile court did not have original jurisdiction over the defendant.  In most other cases a juvenile must be at least 16 before being charged as an adult, but for life felonies the minimum age is 14.  All defendants who are between 7 and 13 years old will be charged as juveniles, and can only be prosecuted in adult court if their case is waived up at a discretionary waiver hearing.  If your child is facing charges in any Maryland court contact juvenile criminal defense lawyer Benjamin Herbst anytime for a free consultation.  Benjamin has successfully argued for the transfer of numerous individuals to juvenile court, including a recent armed robbery case where the individual had already turned 18.  He has represented clients in every county in Maryland and is also an experienced federal criminal defense lawyer who specializes in firearm offenses and white collar crimes such as theft of government property and fraud.  Benjamin is available 7 days a week at 410-207-2598 to discuss the defenses that may be available in your case.

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handcuffs-2102488__480-300x169An assistant basketball coach at the University of Maryland was suspended last month after being charged with prostitution back in October in Prince George’s County.  The suspension is set to be completed this week, which means he could return to the sidelines as early as this Thursday when Iowa visits College Park.  The University announced the suspension on January 12, so the more likely return for the coach would be for this weekend’s road tilt against Purdue.  According to news reports from various outlets including the New York Post and the Baltimore Sun, the 40-year-old coach was arrested at a hotel in Largo after he reached out to an undercover detective posing as a prostitute.  The police posted a fictitious online advertisement under the general category of “women seeking men”, and the coach agreed to meet at a neutral location.  Upon arriving at the hotel, the coach and the undercover were in the room together when he allegedly requested sex in exchange for $80.  As soon as the coach handed over the money, the undercover officer gave an arrest signal to the takedown team waiting in the next room.

The takedown team is typically a group of 2 to 4 officers in uniform or police tactical vests who are monitoring the undercover and the suspect by audio and sometimes video.  While this type of surreptitious recording is typically illegal under Maryland and federal wiretapping laws, there are exceptions for law enforcement to monitor the safety of officers or confidential informants who are conducting investigative activities.  As soon as the arrest signal is given, some or all of the takedown team enters the room and places the suspect under arrest.  From there the police can actually choose to arrest the suspect on the spot, or take his or her information and issue a criminal summons at a later date.  The charge of prostitution under 11-306 carries a maximum penalty of 1 year in jail, which means an officer is not permitted to issue a criminal citation.  Criminal citations are generally only permitted for crimes that carry a maximum penalty of 90 days or less.  In this particular case the coach was arrested and booked for one count of prostitution general.  He was released by a District Court Commissioner a few hours later on his own recognizance, which is normal a standard misdemeanor solicitation charge.

This type of prostitution sting has been used by law enforcement for roughly the last decade, and while there have been hundreds if not thousands of arrests, it’s hard to measure the overall deterrent effect on the prostitution trade.  It seems that those who wish to seek out prostitutes and those who wish to offer these services will continue to find a way to link up regardless of the threat of arrest.  We expect that this type of law enforcement tactic will continue to be employed even as various websites have been shut down.  While the large majority of defendants arrested for prostitution crimes are simply seeking sex without strings attached, the motivation for law enforcement’s continued efforts to stop prostitution is to ultimately crack down on human trafficking.  The hope is that by eliminating the potential client base you can eventually eliminate the sex trafficking altogether, though the war on drugs has taught us this is more of a law enforcement money grab than a reality-based solution.

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handcuffs-2102488__480-300x169The Frederick Police Department recently announced the arrest of a 20-year-old man in connection with a shooting at a local fast-food restaurant.  According to the department’s press release the suspect and a female began fighting inside the restaurant when another male attempted to intervene to break up the fight.  The suspect then shot the man multiple times, and he ended up succumbing to his injuries while still on scene.  The cause of death was ruled a homicide, and police filed charges for 1st and 2nd degree murder, as well as assault and various firearms charges later that night.  An arrest warrant was issued soon thereafter and police ultimately located and arrested the suspect.  Police are still gathering information, and the investigation is still considered active.  This means other suspects could potentially be charged in connection with the shooting, and/or the presence of the firearm.  The 20-year-old now faces a maximum penalty of life in prison for his actions, and could potentially face life in prison without the possibility of parole if the State elects to pursue this enhanced punishment.  Under Maryland law anyone convicted of first-degree murder faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison.  There is also a 5-year mandatory prison sentence for anyone convicted of firearm use in a crime of violence, which is another charge the defendant is facing.

The defendant was brought before a District Court judge the day after his arrest, and as expected was denied bail or pre-trial release.  He has a preliminary hearing scheduled for the end of January, but the charges will almost certainly be filed in the Circuit Court for Frederick County before the preliminary takes place.  Based on a records check the defendant does not appear to have any prior adult criminal record in Maryland.  Juvenile cases are sealed from public view, so it is unclear whether the defendant has a history of violence or weapon possession.  As of this year, cases involving juveniles who are charged in adult court are also sealed from public view, though their case files may be available to view at the Clerk’s office.  Anyone over the age of 16 who is accused of a crime of violence such as robbery, attempted murder or first-degree assault will be charged as an adult in Maryland, as the juvenile courts do not have original jurisdiction over these cases.  Firearm offenses committed by juveniles 16 and over also must be tried in adult court pending a transfer request.

The Blog will continue to follow this tragic story and may post a follow up article in the future.  Frederick County has a relatively low rate of violent crime and especially homicide.  Over the past decade the murder rate has fluctuated between 1 and 5 per 100,000 of the population, which is typically on par with neighboring Montgomery County, but substantially lower than Prince George’s County, Baltimore County and of course Baltimore City.  Montgomery County recently recorded its highest number of murders ever, as a 35th case was recorded shortly before the year’s end.  If you or a loved one has been charged or is being investigated for murder, attempted murder, assault and any type of firearm offense call Maryland gun lawyer Benjamin Herbst anytime for a free consultation.  Benjamin specializes in offenses such as assault in the first degree, manslaughter, attempted murder and use of a firearm in a crime of violence.  He has defended clients in every jurisdiction in the state of Maryland including Frederick, Montgomery County and Baltimore.  He is also an experienced Eastern Shore criminal lawyer who has successfully defended clients in Wicomico, Worchester, Talbot and Dorchester Counties.  Call Benjamin anytime for a free consultation at 410-207-2598.
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weed4-300x194The 2022 Maryland legislative session is still a few weeks away from commencing, but there is already a proposed bill on the books.  House Bill 1 was pre-filed last week by a state delegate from Baltimore City, who is also the chairman of the state’s cannabis workgroup that was formed over the summer.  The text of the bill was made available to the public on December 22 but will not officially be introduced in Annapolis until January 12, 2022.  The bill basically directs the General Assembly to create law governing the legal use of cannabis for all adults over age over 21 as long as it passes in the next general election.  This means voters will ultimately decide whether marijuana becomes legal in November of 2022.  The question on the ballot will be short and sweet, and read “Do you favor the legalization of adult-use cannabis in the State of Maryland”.  As regular readers are aware, cannabis legalization has consistently been supported by the majority of Maryland residents according to scientific polling.  The most recent polling conducted by Goucher College in Towson has support for legalization over 60 percent, which is well beyond the possible margin of error.  If the voters act as Goucher predicts it looks like we’ll have recreational marijuana for sale in Maryland as early as July of 2023.

In order for this pre-filed bill to make it to become law and end up on the ballot in November it would have to be approved by at least three fifths of the total members of the House and Senate.  In reality there will likely be at least four fifths or 80 plus percent of lawmakers supporting the proposed referendum when it’s all said and done.  The legislature will then get busy creating rules for use, distribution, possession, regulation and taxation of cannabis within the state.  Two of the main issues regarding cannabis legalization (at least in the eyes of lawmakers) are determining where the tax revenue will go and addressing the impacts to law enforcement and the rest of the criminal justice system.  Some lawmakers have expressed concerns over the possibility of increased cases of impaired driving, and the inability of police to determine impairment, though law enforcement officers are already trained to recognize impairment from other substances besides alcohol.  Additionally, the standardized roadside exercises created by the NHTSA are not only designed for alcohol use.

The real drastic change for law enforcement after marijuana is legalized will be with probable cause determination to search upon stopping a vehicle.  Police will no longer be able to search a vehicle based on the smell of cannabis once it’s legalized for recreational use.  While possession of small amounts of pot are no longer criminal, it is still considered contraband for those of us without medical marijuana cards.  Contraband means  illegal regardless of whether there are criminal or civil punishments.  There will be exceptions to his rule of course, as drivers (and potentially passengers) under the age of 21 would likely still be subject to automobile searches by police.  Possession of marijuana by an individual under 21 will probably a similar civil infraction to possession of alcohol by a minor, but both are still illegal and require a court appearance.

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courtroom-898931_1280-300x226A former high ranking official for the Maryland Governor has pleaded not-guilty to four federal charges of wire fraud and two charges of misappropriation.  The 52-year-old former chief of staff to the Governor is accused of various missteps including using funds belonging to the State of Maryland to make a charitable contribution to a museum where he was a member of the board of directors.  The funds came from the Maryland Environmental Service corporation, where the defendant served as executive director prior to taking a position with the governor’s office in Annapolis.  Perhaps the most egregious allegation was that the defendant caused the board at his former employer to approve paying him a full year’s salary, over $200k, upon leaving to take the job with the governor.  The defendant apparently told the board that the governor himself approved to so called severance package, though the governor has vigorously denied any such approval.  In total, the former chief of staff is facing up to 100 years in prison and tens of thousands of dollars in fines.  He will obviously not serve anywhere close to the maximum amount of jail if convicted, but the charges are certainly severe.  The government informed the Federal Judge in the Baltimore courthouse that trial would take two weeks to complete, though there is no indication on whether advanced plea negotiations are taking place.  Discovery is apparently voluminous, and the defense needs time to assess the case before advising the client.

The same defendant is also facing a 27-count criminal information in the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County for various other state offense including misconduct in office and violations of Maryland’s wiretapping laws.  There are allegations that the defendant secretly recorded conversations with the Governor and other high ranking state officials.  The state case has not been set for trial yet, and has a status conference scheduled in the middle of December.  There will likely be a ton of evidence for the defense to sift through in order to properly evaluate the case, so we do not expect a swift resolution.  Both cases may end up in trial or the defense may be able to work out some sort of global plea agreement.  Right now it is simply too early to tell which direction these cases are headed, but the Blog will post a follow-up article as news becomes available.

Maryland has strict laws regarding the recording or intercepting of private conversations and telephone calls, and each violation is a felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.  Even if another person uses or publishes a recording that has been intercepted unlawfully it could be a crime as long the publisher should have known a the recording was illegal.  Maryland is considered a two-party state when it comes to recording or intercepting conversations, which means both parties must be aware of the recording.  There are exceptions including when the police are conducting active investigations for a host of different crimes including murder, kidnapping, sex offenses, robbery, bribery, fraud, felony theft, firearms crimes and drug distribution.  In these cases the police may intercept wire, oral or electronic evidence in order to provide evidence of the crime.  The Maryland wiretapping law is codified under Title 10 of the Courts and Judicial Proceedings section of the state laws, and not the criminal law section.  Subtitle 4 of the evidence part of this section covers wiretapping and electronic surveillance, and section 10-402 is the actual wiretapping law.

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handcuffs-2102488__480-300x169Earlier this week the mayor of Cambridge was arrested and charged with 50 misdemeanor counts for violating a Maryland statute commonly known as the revenge porn law.  The 32-year-old defendant is a graduate of Penn State University and a lifelong resident of Dorchester County.  When elected in January he became the youngest mayor in the history of Cambridge, and now it appears his time in office will end just shy of one year.  The charges were filed in the Circuit Court for Dorchester County via criminal information on November 15, which is the same day the arrest warrant was served.  This means the mayor likely knew about the pending charges in advance, and had time to hire counsel and plan a date to surrender to law enforcement.  The mayor was released on his own recognizance the same day he surrendered, likely as a result of his lack of prior record, strong ties to the community and voluntary surrender with counsel.  A scheduling conference is set for the first week in December, and from there status, motions and trial dates will be set.  Trial will likely be set sometime around April or May, but there is a good chance the case may be resolved before then.

According to the 27-page charging document the mayor’s ex-girlfriend contacted law enforcement back in May when she discovered nude photographs of herself on a social media platform.  The victim apparently told law enforcement she only sent the pictures to one person, the mayor, and never gave him permission to distribute or post them.   Law enforcement then traced the origin of the posts back to an IP address tied to the mayor’s home in Cambridge.  In total the defendant was charged with 50 counts in violation of Maryland law section 3-809, which is part of the stalking and harassment section of the criminal code.  This offense was created back in 2014, and is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 2 years in prison and a $5,000 fine for each count.  In order to establish a violation of this offense the state must prove the defendant knowingly and without consent distributed a visual representation of another engaged in sexual activity or with intimate parts exposed with the intent to harm, harass or intimidate the person depicted.  It seems clear from the charging document that the images meet the criteria, and the victim did not consent.  Therefore, all that is left to prove is that the defendant himself knowingly posted the pictures.

The case is being prosecuted by the Office of the Maryland State Prosecutor, which is an independent office that was established in 1976 in order to combat public corruption.  The creation of this office may have stemmed directly from the outrage over the Watergate scandal during Nixon’s presidency.  Functions of the office include investigating, and if warranted, prosecuting government officials, employees or institutions that are alleged to have engaged in offenses such as bribery, extortion, perjury, obstruction of justice, voting law violations, misconduct in office and any other criminal offense.  The State Prosecutor’s Office is located in Towson, and is a separate entity from the Attorney General’s Office.  Located in Baltimore City, the AG prosecutes public corruption as well as complex multi-jurisdictional criminal schemes such as gang activity and drug distribution rings.

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pistol-1350484_1280-300x200Maryland has become notorious in the region for having overly harsh gun laws, and easily ranks among the top ten states in the country for the strictest set of laws.  The gun laws in neighboring states to the south and west such as Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina are not even in the same league as Maryland.  The same is true for other East Coast states including South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.  In these states it is legal and fairly common to transport a firearm in a vehicle, and in some it’s perfectly legal to carry a handgun on your person without a permit.  Maryland’s gun laws are far more in line with New Jersey and New York when it comes to carrying and transporting handguns and other firearms, and violations of these laws often mean immediate arrest and potential jail time.  The Second Amendment however does still offer some protection for Maryland gun owners who wish to legally arm themselves in public, provided they fit the eligibility requirements and are willing to navigate the miles of red tape it takes to obtain a permit.

In this post we will give a brief overview of the process to obtain a license to carry a handgun, and the possible hurdles a potential applicant may face.  The Handgun Qualification License or HQL does not allow a person to do anything but purchase a firearm, and will not be discussed further in this post.  The majority of Maryland gun laws are listed under the Public Safety Article, which contains dozens of statutes ranging from simple to highly confusing.  Title 5 deals with all the firearm laws and subtitle 3 codifies the handgun permit regulations.  According to §5-303 a permit is required any time a civilian wishes to carry a handgun.  Transportation of a gun may still be legal without a permit provided the owner has complied with the criminal statute that mandates the firearm be in a case, unloaded and inaccessible by the driver.  The gun owner would also be limited to traveling to and from his or her home or a gun range/shop.

The first step in obtaining a Maryland handgun carry license is to determine eligibility.  There is no sense in wasting the time and money to apply only to be denied due to ineligibility.  An applicant must be an adult and cannot have a felony conviction or a conviction for a misdemeanor if more than 1-year of incarceration was imposed.  Federal law would also prohibit an applicant who has any criminal conviction for an offense that carries more than 2 years of incarceration, regardless of the length of the actual sentence.  Most people who are interested in applying for a carry permit are well aware of these few provisions, and probably would not bother applying in the first place.  What they may not be aware of is that Maryland law also prohibits anyone with a drug conviction of any kind from obtaining a carry permit.  This includes possession of marijuana, and cases that may have occurred decades ago.  Applicants must also not be habitual users of drugs or alcohol or have exhibited a propensity for violence or instability.  This last provision may apply to anyone who has been served with a domestic violence protective order.

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auto-2378367__480-300x169The 2021 H2O1 pop-up car rally is officially underway, and law enforcement is preparing to keep this unofficial event as safe as possible.  Despite a supposed move to New Jersey a few years back, the event still calls Ocean City home, and thousands will flock to Maryland’s Eastern Shore this week.  The event has a decade of history in Worcester County, and despite lawmakers and the city police department’s best efforts, it does not appear to being going away any time soon.  Lawmakers can’t simply ban the event because it is not an officially sanctioned event in the first place.  There are no licenses issued by the town, and there is no promoter or company that actually runs the event.  Short of closing down the town for the week or imposing some sort of over-intrusive curfew (which would never happen and would be unconstitutional) the town will once again be forced to make the event as safe as possible for participants and spectators alike.

In 2020 the number of arrests during the rally actually decreased from 121 the year before to an even 100.  On the other hand, the amount of traffic citations issued during the event rose to nearly 3.5 thousand.  Additionally, 350 cars were towed for various infractions including camber violations that make the cars illegal for street use.  Many visitors to Ocean City have noticed signage on Coastal Highway that displays the Special Event Zone message, and this law was actually created back in 2018 in response to the Ocean City Pop-up rally.  The town wanted to give police more authority to enforce the traffic laws, and believed that simply writing citations would not do the trick.  Lawmakers succumbed to the pressure and created the Special Event Zone to give police authority to arrest drivers for so called “exhibition driving”.

According section 21-1132 of the Transportation Article under Maryland law, exhibition driving is defined as operating a vehicle in a manner that results in excessive or abrupt acceleration or deceleration, skidding, burning or smoking of the tires, swerving or swaying, or revving the engine in an unreasonably loud or disturbing manner.  Grinding of the gears and causing the wheels to lose contact with the ground is also included in the statute.  Exhibition driving while in Special Event Zone is now punishable by up to 60 days in jail, and a fine of $1,000, and police officers will arrest a defendant for this type of driving.  We have seen numerous cases where defendants are arrested for exhibition driving even if their actions did not place anyone in danger.  To make matters worse, some out of state defendants are not released by the commissioner, and could held overnight in jail until seeing a judge the next day.  Not only will police arrest an individual for exhibition driving, the State’s Attorney’s Office will almost certainly prosecute these cases.  In addition to exhibition driving being an arrestable offense, the fine for speeding in a special offense zone increases to $1,000.  With the speed limit on coastal highway decreasing to 30 mph during the events, police are almost running out of paper to issue the tickets.

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bullet-408636_640-300x200The traffic stop has long since been a powerful investigative tool for law enforcement.  Performing a traffic stop is perhaps the most common method for police officers to make contact with citizens.  While the large majority of traffic stops remain just about the alleged traffic infraction, police are trained to look for signs of criminal activity immediately upon pulling over a vehicle.  Sometimes suspects give police reason to escalate the situation by their words or actions, and other times the presence of criminal activity is based on something an officer sees or smells.  Of all the traffic stops that an officer conducts, there is one scenario where the driver almost always ends up in handcuffs, and it occurs when the driver is asleep behind the wheel.

Obviously, a sleeping driver’s vehicle is rarely moving when police make contact, but Maryland case law has made it clear that an officer who approaches a parked vehicle is still making a traffic stop for legal purposes.   A driver of a parked vehicle may have a legal argument if he or she is awake and not trespassing or committing some other obvious offense.  In the case of the sleeping driver however, there will never be an issue about whether the officer has a legal basis to make the stop.  Outside of being on private property, sleeping while in control of a motor vehicle is not only a sign that criminal activity may be afoot, but also presents a safety hazard that gives police the authority to investigate for welfare purposes.  Most drivers who are asleep behind the wheel will be asked to step out of the vehicle and investigated for signs of drug or alcohol intoxication.  A fair amount of DUI cases begin when an officer makes contact with a sleeping driver.  In some cases though the stop becomes much more than a DUI investigation.

Back in pre-Covid era of March of 2019 (which seems like a lifetime ago) Baltimore police encountered a man asleep behind the wheel in a Reisterstown Road parking lot.  Officers immediately observed signs of intoxication, including the usual slurred speech, and requested the man step out of the vehicle.  Apparently in the man’s intoxicated state he forgot that he had a firearm protruding from his waistband, and he was immediately arrested.  Police seized the the loaded handgun and subsequently performed a ballistics analysis to see if the firearm had been involved in any prior criminal conduct.  As it turns out, the same firearm was discharged in public back in 2017 in a crime that was never solved.  While nobody was injured, the incident was still part of an open investigation, and as a result Baltimore County police detectives ended up questioning the defendant about his knowledge of the Owings Mills shooting.  Unfortunately for the defendant, he did not assert his right to counsel and proceeded to admit that he was the person who discharged the firearm in public, after taking it during a drug transaction.  In exchange for his honesty the police proceed to charge the defendant with felony firearm possession, CDS possession of firearms and discharging a firearm in public.

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Gun-evidence-box-300x225Last week two Maryland men in their late 20s appeared in federal court on gun charges, and both will end up serving several years in prison.  The first case was heard last Thursday in the Greenbelt federal courthouse, where a 29-year-old man from Suitland pled guilty to two counts of felon in possession of a firearm.  The Prince George’s County man had been convicted of attempted distribution of cocaine in Washington D.C. back in 2014, which made him permanently ineligible to possess a firearm in all U.S. jurisdictions.  Unfortunately for the defendant, law enforcement subsequently found him in possession of a firearm on at least two recent occasions.  In June of 2020 Prince George’s County Police conducted a search of the defendant’s home pursuant to a warrant, and recovered a .40 caliber handgun, ammunition and CDS including buprenorphine and naloxone.  These prescription drugs are used to treat heroin and other opioid addictions, but can be used as illicit substances.  After being advised of his Miranda rights the defendant admitted that the firearm was in his possession.

The defendant was charged with possession with intent to distribute, and offenses related to false prescriptions.  He was also charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, illegal possession of a regulated firearm and possession not marijuana. The possession with intent (PWID) charge was of the variety that comes with a 5-year maximum penalty rather than the 20-year penalty that narcotics cases carry.  Despite the severity of the charges, the defendant was released on bond one day after his arrest at a district court bail review.  The defendant’s lack of prior violent criminal history likely played a role in his release, as did his ties to Prince George’s County.  However, less than 4 months after his release he was arrested again on gun charges.  This time the arrest took place in Washington D.C., and was the result of a traffic stop that turned into a foot chase.  After the defendant was pulled over for running a stop sign, police discovered that he had an active Maryland circuit court arrest warrant stemming from the PG County gun and drug case.  The U.S. Attorney’s press release does not specify why the defendant had the warrant, but it was likely for violating a condition of his pre-trial release or for missing court.  After the defendant was confronted about the warrant, he took off on foot in attempt to fell from police.  Officers then caught the defendant and located a loaded .45 caliber handgun in his jacket pocket.  The feds stepped in not long after his arrest on the D.C. case, and charged both cases together in the Greenbelt federal court.  The PG circuit court case was later dismissed along with the D.C. case, and now the defendant faces up to 10-years in prison on each count when he is sentenced in November of this year.

The second case occurred just one day later in the Baltimore City federal courthouse, where a 28-year-old Baltimore man was sentenced to 57 months in federal prison, followed by 3 years of supervised release for one count of felon in possession of a firearm.  This defendant was originally arrested on state charges after being arrested at the end of 2019.  According to the plea, Baltimore Police officers observed the defendant conduct a drug transaction and then gave chase.  The defendant fled on his bicycle and eventually on foot, but officers caught up with him and found a loaded 9 mm handgun as well as cocaine and fentanyl packaged for sale.  He was charged with possession of a firearm in a drug trafficking crime, illegal possession of a firearm, PWID narcotics and other offenses, though the state case was dismissed after the feds decided to prosecute.  The defendant was prohibited from possessing guns due to felony convictions from 2015 that involved narcotics distribution.

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