Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Supreme Court Rules In Favor of Police In Home Searches ....

Supreme Court Rules In Favor of Police In Home Searches Without Objector Present

Walter Fernandez flatly told Los Angeles police that they could not search his home without a warrant, saying, “You don’t have any right to come in here. I know my rights.”

But the Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that Fernandez’s right to keep police out ended when he left the premises — even though that was only because police had arrested him and taken him to the station.

An hour later, police returned without a warrant but persuaded the woman Fernandez lived with, Roxanne Rojas, to let them look around. They found evidence that led to a host of charges that cost Fernandez 14 years in prison.

The court ruled 6 to 3 that when occupants of a dwelling disagree on whether they will admit police without a warrant, the objecting occupant must be physically present. That doesn’t change if police have removed the objector, the court said.

“An occupant who is absent due to a lawful detention or arrest stands in the same shoes as an occupant who is absent for any other reason,” Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. wrote for the majority.

Alito said there was no need for officers to obtain a warrant. When they arrived the first time, having followed Fernandez from the scene of a robbery, Rojas answered the door crying, with a bump on her nose and blood on her hands and shirt.


Berlin WINS "America's Coolest Small Towns 2014"

 Berlin has officially been named America's Coolest Small Town 2014 by Budget Travel!

How does it feel to live in the Coolest Small Town in America? Ask the folks in Berlin, MD, the winner of Budget Travel's 9th annual America's Coolest Small Town contest!

Berlin's citizens—and fans from around the U.S. and beyond—helped get the town nominated last fall when Budget Travel solicited suggestions from tens of thousands of online readers. The editors tallied up the nominations, added a dash of editorial discretion for regional and cultural diversity, and came up with a list of 15 finalists—cool burghs from Upstate New York to the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California, from northern Colorado to the Everglades, and, of course, the Maryland shore.

Now, after more than a month of online voting, Berlin, MD (population 4,563), has earned the title of "Coolest."

Berlin not only has a dedicated citizenry and fan following (it grabbed more than 28 percent of the votes among the 15 finalists), but it's also a truly spectacular place to visit or put down roots. Like the beautiful backdrops in the films Tuck Everlasting and The Runaway Bride? Thank Berlin, where both movies were shot.

Ready for a getaway that includes Maryland's awesome Ocean City beach and boardwalk and gorgeous Assateague Island? They're just a few miles from Berlin's downtown (a National Register Historic District), which plays host to fun events all year long, from the regular farmers market to one-of-a-kind bashes like the Berlin Fiddlers Convention, New Year's fireworks, Victorian Christmas (complete with horse-drawn carriages), and even bathtub races!

Whether you're a beach lover, hiker, kayaker, bird watcher, or history aficionado, put Berlin on your list of small-town must-sees (in fact, put it at the top of your list—we just did!).

So, congrats to the people of Berlin, MD, and its mayor, William "Gee" WIlliams III (who just earned a growler of craft beer from second-place finisher Cazenovia's mayor, Kurt Wheeler).

 And let's join them in a rousing chorus of "Cool Berlin," by local songwriter Steve Frene, written especially to promote the town's campaign for the top spot.


Rob Bloxom Elected In Virginia Election

Rob Bloxom elected 100th Dist. Delegate

Robert S. Bloxom Jr. has been elected to represent the 100th House of Delegates District.

Bloxom who ran as a Republican defeated Democrat Willie Randall in Tuesdays special election.

Bloxom will head to Richmond where he will immediately be sworn in and represent the Eastern Shore for the remainder of the 2014 legislative session.

 The total vote count for the district was Bloxom, 6810 votes or 60.3% with Randall getting 4473 or 39.61% of the votes.

 Bloxom won Accomack County with 4464 votes compared to Randalls 2346.

 In Northampton Bloxom had 1527 votes to 1234 votes for Randall .

In the Norfolk Districts, Randall had 893 votes compared to 818 for Bloxom.
Bloxom is the second generation of his family to serve as Virginias 100th district delegate. His father Bob Bloxom served in the position for many years.

Bloxom is a 1985 graduate of the University of Richmond and a 1981 graduate of Broadwater Academy. He is the owner and operator of Bloxom Auto Supply in Mappsville,
 Shore Tire and Auto in Onley, and Egret Pointe Seafood.

He has served on the Economic Development Authority of Accomack County, the statewide Aquaculture Advisory Board,
 the Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and the Broadwater Academy Board of Directors.

Bloxom also served as past chairman of the Eastern Shore
Seafood Festival, on the Arts Council of the Eastern Shore, and is a past director of the Eastern Shore Soil and Water District.

Bloxom is 51and is married to Lou Hall Bloxom and has 3 children.

Bloxom lives at Egret Point near Gargatha.



Delmarva Discovery Center
This weekend is
at the Delmarva Discovery Center!
Residents from ACCOMACK COUNTY receive

 All other locals receive 50% OFF regular admission prices!
Visit SATURDAY ~ 10am - 4pm
 SUNDAY ~ 1pm - 4pm.

Family Pet MISSING

 Family pet has been MISSING since Sunday night in Oak Hall, Virginia  area near Route 13.

Very friendly and answers to the name of  TURBO.

If you should see Turbo please call or text 757 894 4241.

His family misses him terribly! 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Worcester County Bureau of Investigation Answers A Call Regarding An Assault

Worcester County Sheriff's Office

February 19, 2014
CBI Case #: 14-0030

CRIME:   1st Degree Assault
         B/M, 51 yoa
         Bishopville, Maryland

 NARRATIVE:        On February 19, 2014, the Worcester County Sheriff's Office was contacted by a victim of an assault. The Worcester County Bureau of Investigation was contacted and responded with a uniformed deputy to meet with the victim. The victim advised that she had been in a relationship with a subject identified as Isaac James Cook III, and that they had resided at a residence in Bishopville, Worcester County, Maryland.

   The victim advised that on February 18, 2014, she was at a residence with Cook when he asked her to drive him to Salisbury, Maryland. The victim advised that she told Cook that she would not take him to Salisbury, at which time Cook became angry. The victim stated that Cook then exited through the front door of the residence with a black handgun and fired multiple rounds. Cook stood a few feet away from her and threatened to “blow her brains out” while holding the handgun. The victim advised that after threatening her, Cook approached her, grabbed her by the throat, and threw her down on the bed. The victim was able to flee the area a short time later.
   The victim also advised that Cook had left several threatening voice and text messages on her phone since the incident. The messages and voice mails were observed and were found to be very aggressive towards the victim and implied that Cook would find the victim and cause harm to her.
   Based upon the statements by the victim and additional investigation, an arrest warrant was obtained for Cook, charging him with 1st Degree Assault, 2nd Degree Assault, and Telephone Misuse. Cook was apprehended in Wicomico County on February 19, 2014, by members of the Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force.
 Cook was taken before a District Court Commissioner and was ordered held without bond.
Lt. Edward C. Schreier
Worcester County Sheriff’s Office



Maryland State Police


(HANOVER, MD) – Maryland State Police have charged two people from Virginia and are seeking two others in connection with their use of fraudulent casino chips in unrelated incidents at an Anne Arundel County casino last month.

Those charged are identified as Rosa A. Nguyen, 36, and her husband, Vuong Q. Truong, 37, both of Annandale, VA. Nguyen is charged with one count of theft between $1,000 and $10,000, and two counts of conspiracy to commit theft between $1,000 and $10,000. Truong is charged with four counts of committing a theft scheme and one count of conspiracy to commit theft. A court commissioner issued criminal summonses for both and they were served on February 19, 2014. Both signed the summonses, which is not an admission of guilt, but indicates their consent to appear in court. 

The investigation began January 20, 2014, when Maryland State Police Criminal Enforcement Division investigators were called to the Maryland Live! Casino in Hanover, for a report of counterfeit poker chips being disseminated in the casino. Officials at Maryland Live! reported they had descriptions of four suspects who had passed counterfeit $100 poker chips on two occasions.

Maryland State Police investigators enlisted the assistance of the Maryland Coordination and Analysis Center, the Virginia State Police, and Homeland Security Investigations. Their investigation resulted in the issuance of search warrants that were served by Virginia State Police on February 19, 2014, in the Northern Virginia area. Further investigation revealed Rosa Nguyen allegedly purchased $150,000 worth of counterfeit casino chips via the Internet for $12,000. The chips were then altered to appear similar to Maryland Live! Casino chips. 

Investigators learned many of the counterfeit chips had been discarded by one of the suspects in Lake Accotink, in Springfield, VA, not far from the suspects’ home. Fortunately for police, the chips floated. Investigators were able to recover about $115,000 worth of the counterfeit casino chips from Lake Accotink.

Police are seeking charges against two additional suspects in an unrelated case of fraudulent chip use at Maryland Live! Investigators believe these two suspects, a boyfriend and girlfriend also from Northern Virginia, obtained $1 chips from a West Virginia casino and altered them to appear as $100 chips from Maryland Live! 

The investigation is continuing. 

Obama Administration: Health Law’s New Rules Will Increase Costs .....

Obama administration: Health law’s new rules will increase costs for most small businesses

Nearly two-thirds of small businesses that currently offer health insurance to their workers will pay more for coverage as a result of new rules in the health care law, as will millions of small-business employees and their family members, according to new estimates released by the Obama administration.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which has spearheaded the implementation of the law, has acknowledged that new rules requiring insurers to offer guaranteed coverage and renewal options to small employers will likely drive up the price of insurance for some companies. So will rules banning insurance companies from varying their rates based on factors like a company’s industry or the age of its employees.

On the other hand, some firms with exceptionally sick or at-risk workers will benefit from those provisions and see their premiums come down under the new rules, which took effect this year.
What we didn’t know was how many small businesses would see their rates rise and how many would see them fall. Now, it’s becoming clear.

“We are estimating that 65 percent of the small firms are expected to experience increases in their premium rates while the remaining 35 percent are anticipated to have rate reductions,” CMS’ Office of the Actuary wrote in a new report. Conversely, “the effect on large employers is expected to be negligible,” because most large companies run their health insurance programs in house.

Officials later point out that, when employers are forced to pay more for their plan, they generally pass on some of those costs to their employees. Similarly, those who see their company’s premiums drop tend to pass on some of the savings to their staff in the form of lower employee contribution payments.

Consequently, according to the estimates, which the agency says are based on industry research and conversations with insurance experts, roughly 11 million of the 17 million individuals who have health care plans through a small employer will see their premiums increase as a result of the new rules on insurers in the law, while 6 million people will enjoy lower premiums.


NASA Launch Party!

The NASA Visitor Center at the Wallops Flight Facility will host a viewing party beginning at 11 a.m., Thursday, Feb. 27, for the launch of the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) core observatory from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Center.

 Liftoff is scheduled for 1:07 p.m. EDT.

 Party attendees will see the launch on the large screen in the Visitor Center auditorium via NASA TV.

They also will have the opportunity to view Water Falls, a nine-minute film that follows scientists who track water around the globe.

 Concessions will be available and the gift shop will be open!

2014 Motorsports Showcase

Election TODAY ~ Virginia ~ Eastern Shore (UPDATED)

Robert S. Bloxom, Jr. has been elected to represent the 100th House of Delegates District.

100th District election today

Today is election day again on the Eastern Shore.

 The polls opened at 6 am and will close tonight at 7 pm.

 At stake is the 100 th District House of Delegates seat vacated when former Delegate Lynwood Lewis advanced to the Senate on January 28.

Running for the seat are Democrat Wille Randall of Butlers Bluff.

Randall is a financial advisor and former member of the Northampton Board of Supervisors. He holds a degree Virginia State University and graduate degrees from Webster University and American Intercontinental University. He is a veteran of the U.S. Army and has served on several local boards and in local civic clubs.

His opponent is Robert S. Bloxom Jr. Bloxom is the son of former Delegate Robert S. Bloxom Sr. He operates Bloxom Auto Supply and Egret Point Seafood.

Like Randall Bloxom has served as a board member on several organizations. He is a graduate of the University of Richmond.

The 100th district includes Accomack and Northampton Counties and the Ocean View area in Norfolk.

This will be the last local election until May when local town elections will be held.

The winner will immediately head to Richmond to serve the final days of this session of the General Assembly but serve a full term in the 2015 session.

The current session ends on March 8.


Monday, February 24, 2014

No, Jeannie Haddaway is not dropping out as David Craig’s running mate

There have been rumors online this weekend, most of them spread by supporters of a specific gubernatorial candidate and an anonymous smear merchant masquerading as a blog (allegedly not affiliated with any supporter of that same campaign), which have been spreading a falsehood. The falsehood, spread in hushed tones as if it’s a conspiracy theory, is that because campaign emails, press releases, and the campaign website all feature banners with just David Craig and not Jeannie Haddaway that Haddaway is dropping out as Craig’s running mate. The truth is much more innocuous.
If you’ve actually read anything about the way the campaign has been going this year on both sides of the aisle, you know there have been a lot of news stories, and even a lawsuit on the Democratic side of things, related to fundraising prohibitions for candidates who happen to be Maryland General Assembly members while the House and Senate are in session.
That’s exactly what is going on here. The Craig campaign is acting out of an abundance of caution to avoid getting hung up by those laws.
Here’s what a Craig campaign spokesman told me tonight:
It’s because of State Board of Elections requirements on delegates participating in fundraising during session.  We will put on the Craig-Haddaway banner for press releases after sine die.  If the press releases have the joint banner, someone else in the campaign might use that for e-mail blasts that have a donation link.
Another source close to the Craig campaign points out that the Brown-Ulman campaign is doing the exact same thing. It has to be done because it would be considered coordination.
There’s no conspiracy – just people talking out of their ass with no facts to back up – something that’s all too common from those involved. Maybe instead of spreading lies and libel about people, they should just shut up and get right with God and their personal liability carrier.

Craig to make ‘major tax cut’ announcement

Daily Record 2.17.14

“It is a massive re-thinking of the Maryland tax code and budget.”

Craig Proposes Flat Tax, Then Ending Income Tax; House Republicans Propose Cuts

WBAL radio 2.18.14

Harford County Executive David Craig unveiled his tax proposal at a news conference in Annapolis this morning.

GOP governor candidate David Craig unveils plan to eliminate Md. personal income tax

Washington Post 2.18.14

Maryland Republican gubernatorial candidate David Craig on Tuesday presented a $2.55 billion tax-cutting plan that would eventually eliminate the state’s personal income tax.

GOP Candidate David Craig Announces Tax Cut Plan

WJZ 13 2.18.14

Maryland had a fairly flat tax rate of 4.75 percent. There are now four tax brackets above that, including brackets of 5 percent, 5.25 percent. 5.5 percent and 5.75 percent.

GOP Candidate David Craig to Announce Tax Cut Plan

NBC 4 2.18.14

Harford County Executive David Craig is scheduled to announce a tax cut proposal as part of his campaign seeking the Republican nomination in the governor's race in Maryland.

GOP's Craig would slash income tax rates

Baltimore Sun 2.18.14

"By voting for David Craig in 2014, people will be voting for a pay raise for themselves."

Gubernatorial Candidate Craig Wants to Eliminate Maryland's Personal Income Tax

Patch 2.18.14

The measure would help stimulate Maryland's economy while preventing people from leaving the state due to taxes.

Craig proposes the eventual elimination of the state income tax

WMAR 2 2.18.14

Craig said the plan would save taxpayers $2.55 billion in a phased-in approach of eliminating the income tax over several years.

Two income tax relief plans proposed

Easton Star-Democrat 2.18.14

According to Craig’s campaign, taxpayers across the state would save $600 million, with an average savings of $352 for married couples or $176 for individual filers.

David Craig Announces Major Tax Cut, Sweeping Budget Reforms-Says It Is Time To "Vote Your Self A Raise."

WCBM 2.18.14

Martin O'Malley and Anthony Brown put everything on the table in raising levies on every aspect of daily life - from being born, to dying, to driving a car, to even taxing the rain.

GOP politicians introduce tax-relief plans

Cecil Whig 2.18.14

“The citizens of Maryland now have an opportunity to vote themselves a raise,” Craig said.

 David Craig Announces Major Tax Cut And Sweeping Reforms Of State Budget Policy

Jackie Wellfonder 2.18.14

The proposal includes a variety of budget reforms that would enable the state to afford the cuts.

GOP Candidate Craig Announces Tax Cut

Fox 45 2.18.14

Craig said Tuesday he would phase in an income tax reduction with an eye toward eventually eliminating it.

David Craig on ‘Drive at Five’

WMAL 2.18.14

“Maryland’s punitive tax code is driving people to other states, and it has for years.”

David Craig on with Jackie Wellfonder

RATR / Red Maryland Radio 2.18.14

“It took the O’Malley / Brown Administration seven years to take us where we are.”

Gubernatorial candidate proposes no income taxes in Maryland

WBAL TV 2.19.14

"The Craig administration will put Maryland on a glide path toward a zero income tax in the state of Maryland -- a zero income tax," Craig said.

Proposals announced to cut personal and corporate income taxes
Hagerstown Herald-Mail 2.19.14

Earlier in the day, Harford County Executive David Craig, who is a Republican candidate for governor, also unveiled a plan that would eliminate the income tax in the state gradually if he were elected.

GOP offers tax cuts

Annapolis Capital 2.19.14

Not that they’ve ever stopped. But Republicans in Maryland dedicated Tuesday to tax relief.

GOP offers competing plans to cut taxes

Gazette 2.20.14

Competing plans from Maryland Republicans would cut the state’s income tax in an effort to boost the economy and slash state spending.

Tax cuts for the rich [Editorial]

Baltimore Sun 2.20.14

Mr. Craig promises "zero-based budgeting" — a tactic that was used during Republican Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s administration but which did not result in drastic changes in the trajectory of state spending — and a review of state agency operations.,0,1462561.story

Commentary on Craig Campaign Messaging

WYPR 2.21.14

Critic offers his unique perspective of campaign’s communication strategy on taxes, Obamacare

Police Chiefs and Sheriff’s Opposing Legalization and Decriminalization of Marijuana

Maryland Chiefs of Police and Maryland Sheriff’s Association


 Police Chiefs and Sheriff’s opposing legalization and decriminalization of marijuana

FROM: Sheriff Reggie Mason
DATE:  February 24, 2014
WHERE:  Lawyers’ Mall, Annapolis
WHO:  Maryland Chiefs of Police
and Maryland Sheriff’s Association

WHAT: Police Chiefs and Sheriff’s Opposing Legalization
 and Decriminalization of Marijuana

Senate Bills 364 and 658 Opposed by MCPA and MSA

Senate Bill 658, “The Marijuana Taxation and Regulation Act,” would essentially legalize marijuana which is now a controlled dangerous substance. Senate Bill 364 would decriminalize the possession and use of marijuana changing Maryland law to enable the possession of 10 grams or less and alter the penalty to a civil offense punishable by a fine not exceeding $100.  Chiefs and Sheriffs, representing the Maryland law enforcement community, understand the basis of the legislation but nevertheless are adamantly opposed.  Maryland law enforcement executives believe, if enacted, this legislation will have a potentially crippling effect on public safety, highway safety and, most troubling, will negatively impact children.  
A wide range of studies and verifiable facts clearly show that the recreational use of marijuana is not only controversial but produces psychological and physical problems particularly injurious to the health of adolescents.  Traffic accidents, particularly fatalities, are often caused by drivers under the influence of illegal drugs. 
Marijuana is notably responsible for an increase in such accidents in states where decriminalization has occurred.  The detect ability of marijuana in drivers presents troubling difficulty for law enforcement and prosecution.  Legalization or decriminalization of marijuana will also negatively impact our police officers’ ability to detect and interdict other illegal drugs which surely hurts public safety and may contribute to violence and other crimes.   These are just a few of the many reasons why marijuana decriminalization is bad public policy and injurious to public safety.
Collectively, as partners who represent Maryland law enforcement, and as advocates for the safety of every citizen and visitor of Maryland, MCPA and MSA are opposed to SB 364 and SB 658. We invite members of the media to discuss this legislation and learn of the negative impact should it become law. 
 Please join us at Lawyers’ Mall in Annapolis on Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Convicted Arsonist Tonya Bundick ~ Trial Pushed Back

Bundick Trial Pushed Back

The second trial for convicted Accomack County arsonist Tonya Bundick is being pushed back.

Bundick, who was indicted by a grand jury for an arson spree that occurred between November 2012 and April 2013 in Accomack County, was originally due in court to face 62 counts of arson on April 10.

However, that court date has been canceled and no new date has yet been set.

The date for Bundick's change of venue request for that trial is also up in the air.

Last month, Bundick entered an Alford plea in court for one count of arson and one count of conspiracy to commit arson in connection with an April 2013 fire that occurred in Melfa.

 A sentencing date for those two charges has not yet been set.


"Reflections on Collections" ~ Costen House Museum

Tickets are $15 and all proceeds go to structural repairs for the Costen House Museum.

 The Costen House is the Victorian Italianate home of Dr. Isaac Costen, the first mayor of Pocomoke.
The museum was founded in order to exhibit the life of a small town and Doctor I. T. Costen and his family as they lived from 1870-1920. 

If you would like to exhibit your collection or get tickets to this event go to, visit MARKET STREET BOUTIQUE at 145-A Market Street or the POCOMOKE AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE at 6 Market Street or call 410-957-1919. 

Donations for repair of the Costen House may also be made for a private donation matching funds grant for up to $5000, available until the end of February. 

The Costen House would like to thank First Shore Federal for its generous donation of $500.

Rita Ullmann

Accomack County Circuit Court Report

Accomack County Circuit

Nathan Charnock  - charged with probation violation for a carnal knowledge conviction. Charnock was released on in 2011 after having served two years for this conviction. The probation violation was the failing of his periodic drug test. Having been rearrested on October 30, 2013 and in jail ever since for the violation and with a 10 year suspended sentence hanging over his head judge Lewis re-imposed all of the original sentence but re-suspended all of this time except for one year with credit given for time served since October.

Zelmayia Kelly -  originally charged with forgery, but was in court for a probation violation with 11 months and 10 days remaining on her sentence. Judge Lewis re-imposed the entire 11 months and 10 days after telling the defendant that he did not believe she was accepting personal responsibility.

Ashley Warrington - charged with distribution of cocaine, possession with intent to distribute cocaine, and possession of marijuana. There was a combination of six charges on these three issues with three being Nolle processed and a guilty plea for distribution of cocaine on December 4, 2012 and two distribution of cocaine charges on January 8, 2013. Assistant Commonwealth attorney Matt Brenner explained to the court that an informant made these three purchases in the Hallwood area and one in the yard of the defendant all of which were audio and video recorded.

The three buys total $250. Judge Lewis accepted the guilty plea continued this case for presentence report to be received June 2, 2014.

Calvin Nock - charged with leaving the scene of an accident, driving on a suspended license and failing to maintain lane. As Mr. Nock once arrested was very cooperative the Commonwealth dismissed the lane charge. With a guilty plea and the fact that complete restitution was made by the insurance company Mr. Nock was allowed to stay out on bond until June 2 when his sentencing would take place.

David Tull - charged with embezzlement. This case was about the misuse of a company credit card. Complete restitution had been made and since Mr. Tull had received similar charges in Maryland and had served nine months there, judge Lewis sentenced Mr. Tull to five years on each charge +12 months on a misdemeanor charge with all suspended giving the defendant five years of supervised probation.

Thomassena Capers - charged with possession of cocaine, possession of marijuana, driving on a suspended drivers license, and reckless driving. Ms. Capers was convicted on June 6, 2013 and pled guilty. She was in court for sentencing. Evidence presented to the court said that only trace amounts of cocaine were found in a pipe which fell out of the car at a traffic stop. Prosecuting attorney Matt Brenner explained that this was the third or more time that Ms. Capers had been arrested for driving on a suspended license and that the traffic stop and reckless driving charge came from her turning left at a red light while squealing the tires.

Judge Lewis sentenced the defendant on the possession charge to 30 days with all but 10 days suspended, on the suspended drivers license charge she received 12 months with all but 30 days suspended, on the reckless driving charge she received three months with all but 10 days suspended, and on the final charge of possession of cocaine she was sentenced to five years all suspended.

Zachary Ford - charged with assault and battery of a police officer. Mr. Ford now 28 years old and a resident of Chincoteague Island kicked at the officer one time at the site of a DUI arrest and once more while in the police station for testing. Judge Lewis saying that he felt that Mr. Ford felt like the world owed him something, but explained that no matter what cards life had dealt everyone had to abide by the law.

 Sentencing Mr. Ford to four years on the two charges with all the time suspended if the completed the Willow Oaks abuse clinic.

Larry Godfrey - charged with obtaining money by false pretense. Godfrey entered a guilty plea in July 2013. With restitution paid in full from the identity theft Mr. Godfrey was sentenced to five years with all suspended except for four months.

Timmy Taylor - charged with assault battery third offense of a family member. Having been convicted on May 1,2013 of spanking and 11-year-old child causing bruises and abrasions judge Lewis sentenced Mr. Taylor to five years with all but four and half months suspended under the condition that he could not be alone with the victim.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Worcester County Traffic Stop Leads To Arrest Of Pocomoke Man


On February 23, 2014 at approximately 0052 hours, a Deputy was on patrol in a marked patrol unit on Snow Hill Rd in the area of Millville Rd, Snow Hill, Worcester County, MD. The deputy observed a vehicle with a headlight out.

 The Deputy conducted a traffic stop and while talking with the occupants detected the odor of marijuana coming from the vehicles interior.

 A probable cause search was conducted and located in the vehicle was a clear plastic bag of marijuana. Through further investigation, the back seat passenger was identified as, Adam George Anderson Miller, 22 of Pocomoke City and admitted to being the owner of the marijuana.

 It was also learned that Miller had eaten a cigar containing marijuana prior to the Deputy searching the car.

 When the Deputy attempted to place Miller under arrest, a brief struggle ensued until he was successfully placed in custody.

 Miller was searched, incident to arrest, and located on his person was a marijuana smoking device.

 Miller was charged with the following: possession of marijuana 10 grams or more, possession of drug paraphernalia, resisting arrest, and obstructing and hindering.

Miller was transported to the District Court Commissioners Officer where he was released on personal recognizance

Field Notes By Delegate Michael A. McDermott

Observations and Reflections on Legislative Activities
By Delegate Michael A. McDermott

Week 7 February 17-21, 2014
Monday Evening Session:

The House heard an oratory presentation by Delegate Keifer Mitchell  (D-Baltimore City) commemorating President George Washington’s Birthday.
Tuesday Morning Session:
Third Reading Calendar (House Bills) #4    
HB 39
Third Reading Passed (129-0)
HB 40
Third Reading Passed (130-1)
HB 41
Third Reading Passed (131-0)
HB 53
Third Reading Passed (131-0)
HB 220
Third Reading Passed (129-0)
HB 258
Third Reading Passed (131-0)
HB 301
Third Reading Passed (131-0)
HB 303
Third Reading Passed (130-0)
HB 478
Third Reading Passed (131-0)

Third Reading Calendar (House Bills) #5                                HB 101
Third Reading Passed (131-0)
HB 102
Third Reading Passed (131-0)
HB 113
Third Reading Passed (131-0)
HB 149
Third Reading Passed (129-0)
HB 202
Third Reading Passed (129-2)
HB 253
Third Reading Passed (130-0)
HB 254
Third Reading Passed (131-0)
HB 288
Third Reading Passed (131-0)
HB 335
Third Reading Passed (129-1)
HB 511
Third Reading Passed (117-14)

Tuesday Afternoon Judiciary Committee:
HB-355 would require the Governor’s Office of Crime Control to establish and expand the program areas that support the survivors of homicide victims in the state. The governor has funded this program area with $500,000 this year and this bill would help delineate the use of these funds in support of these survivors. There were questions raised regarding other victim support programs and it was clearly stated that this fund would not conflict now or in the future with the other fund areas.
HB-370 would require a Maryland judge to decide whether or not a reporter could be compelled to testify on an issue of confidentiality in another state.
HB-375 would increase the penalties associated with felony and misdemeanor Elder Abuse. The felony charge would go from 10-20 years and the misdemeanor from 5-10 years. The need to do this was questioned regarding the current sentences that are being handed down by the judiciary.
HB-379 would create a registry (much like the Sex Offender Registry) for those convicted of Vulnerable Adult Abuse. This has been a perennial bill with small modifications made to it each year.  The reasoning for the bill is clear, but there is reluctance to start another state criminal registry.
HB-382 would place significant restrictions for the release on bail of anyone charged with Elder Abuse or Neglect. It would also require the state to confiscate the Passport of .the individual as part of their conditional release. This bill goes too far to insure that someone shows up for a court hearing.
HB-559 would create an Address Confidentiality Program for victims of Human Trafficking. It would require the Secretary of State to establish this program and administer it on behalf of the victims. The state would receive all of the mail and inquiries for information on behalf of a member of the program.
HB-578 would take away Diminution Credits (good time credit) for inmates that are found to be in possession of a cellular phone. This is being looked upon as one of the measures that can be implemented in an effort to curtail the use of these phones in the prison system.
HB-608 would mandate additional training for law enforcement officers on the issues surrounding human trafficking. The focus of the training would focus on sensitivity and awareness to the crime and the victims who are often seen as suspects in these cases.
HB-614 would require certain notices be provided to the local State’s Attorney’s Office affected when an inmate is transferred from one correctional facility to another. It would mandate certain documents that would need to follow the inmate during the transfer.
HB-638 would exempt the work release and pre release programs of the Montgomery County Department of Corrections from any prohibitions of cell phone devices being located in their locations. It appears that some of these inmates need access in support of their work in this half-way situation of transitioning back to society.
HB-642 expands the established pilot program to cover Baltimore City and any individual under an order of mandatory supervision by the court. This program, called Swift and Certain Sanctions, has proved to be successful in managing those on parole.
HB-696 would change the age standard for Felony Human Trafficking from age 18 and replace it with the age of 21. Law enforcement indicated that most of the contacts they have who fall into this type of category are actually ages 18-21.
HB-701 would reclassify the abduction of a child under 16 years of age for the purposes of prostitution from a misdemeanor to a felony. The penalty would increase from 10-30 years. The crime of kidnapping is already punishable by up to 30-years in prison and we also have a crime on the books called Human Trafficking of a Minor which has very similar characteristics.
HB-721 would require each state correctional facility to deploy at least one full body scanner for use in the institution. It would also require the Dept. of Public Safety and Correctional Services to provide a report on the deployment by January 1, 2015.
Special Order of HB-296:
I argued for, and received, a Special Order for this bill which names thousands of acres currently owned by the state as State Wild Lands. This is the state’s version of a Wilderness designation by the Federal Government. If passed, it would change the designation on thousands of acres on the lower shore and would place them off limits from any type of future development. It would also limit the impact allowed by man and would eliminate the ability to use any motorized equipment on the land and would not allow for any additional roads or trails. In fact, you would not be allowed to ride a bicycle on these lands if they are so designated.  Worcester County sent a letter objecting to this designation. Senator Mathias voted in favor of the legislation in the Senate. I will be meeting with Chairman MacIntosh and the DNR to determine if the bill can be amended to allow for more activities.
Tuesday Judiciary Voting Session:
Bills Voted Favorably:
Wednesday Morning Session:
Bills introduced on Second Reader. (from Health & Govt. Op/Economic Matters)
Wednesday Afternoon Judiciary Committee Hearings:
HB-724 would allow the Attorney General to bring a civil action against anyone who violates the State’s prohibitions against vulnerable adult abuse. The damages could be for personal injury, death or property loss/damage.
HB-845 would require courts that hire private stenographers for recording the courts actions must provide at least 5% of their stenography services free of charge for indigent persons who appeal their cases to a higher court. We heard testimony that many courts provide this service for free to these persons but that is not the case throughout the state.
HB-857 would require a uniform subpoena form and other standardization of forms for all of the Circuit Courts in Maryland. This bill passed two years ago but was vetoed by the governor. It remains a good government idea.
HB-867 would expand the Maryland False Claims Act and allow the state to recover additional money that is fraudulently taken by individuals. Currently we have law that addresses Health Care /False Claims.
HB-914 is a request for raises for Orphan’s Court Judges in Charles County.
HB-1004 is a technical adjustment to existing law. It would require a person to file a written objection to a modified administration in order for a modified administration to be revoked (this addresses estates and trusts).
HB-1069 would allow a person to bring a disciplinary action against an  individual who takes an action against a person although they are not a licensed Social Worker when the license would be required for that person to act in the first place.
HB-1089 is a request for raises for Orphan’s Court Judges in Anne Arundel County. This bill will allow for annual cost of living increases when appropriate.
HB-1112 is a request for raises for Orphan’s Court Judges in Frederick County.
HB-1206 is a request for raises for Orphan’s Court Judges in Baltimore City.
Wednesday Judiciary Voting Session:
Favorable HB-355,
Thursday Morning Session:
Special Order of HB-296
I was able to offer Amendments to this bill which would require the Department of Natural Resources to maintain trails and roads that exist in the lands affected by this bill in Worcester County. As this language was missing from the bill, I had strong concerns that over time without maintenance, all of the access trails would be erased by which hunters and other recreational seekers would not be able to utilize the land which is currently being utilized by the public. The Chairman received the amendment without objection and it became a part of the bill which was then passed on to Third Reader status.
Third Reading Calendar (House Bills) #6
HB 228
Third Reading Passed (133-0)
HB 238
Third Reading Passed (128-4)
HB 256
Third Reading Passed (133-0)
HB 346
Third Reading Passed (133-0)
HB 364
Third Reading Passed (132-0)
HB 386
Third Reading Passed (125-8)
HB 545
Third Reading Passed (133-0)
HB 555
Third Reading Passed (133-0)
HB 575
Third Reading Passed (133-0)

Third Reading Calendar (House Bills) #7
HB 12
Third Reading Passed (133-0)
HB 13
Third Reading Passed (133-0)
HB 31
Third Reading Passed (133-0)
HB 147
Third Reading Passed (133-0)
HB 174
Third Reading Passed (133-0)
HB 205
Third Reading Passed (133-0)
HB 206
Third Reading Passed (127-4)
HB 529
Third Reading Passed (133-0)

Thursday Afternoon Judiciary Hearing:
HB-371 would create a registration process for dogs declared “dangerous” and would create a state database for registration purposes. It would also alter the definition of a “dangerous dog”  and would also require such animals to be insured by their owners. We heard testimony that this bill was reactive and not proactive and would not stop these incidents from occurring.
HB-373 would require the state to maintain an “Animal Abuse Registry” which would contain anyone convicted of a specified animal abuse or neglect offense.
HB-422 would prohibit any finding that a dog was potentially dangerous simply because of the breed of the animal.
HB-523 would increase the civil penalty for a dog offense if a dog has been previously determined to be a “dangerous dog”. This bill would also create a criminal penalty for a violation to accompany the civil penalties already in place.
HB-563 would place Maryland back under the same standards under Common Law that existed prior to January 1st, 2012 which predated that Tracey v. Solesky case (Pit Bull attack of a child in Baltimore County-Pit Bulls declared “inherently dangerous” by the court”.
HB-665 would require that when a dogs ears are cropped, cropping of a tail, or the removal of claws that the procedure would need to be performed by a veterinarian while the animal was provided with anesthesia.
HB-667 would prohibit the devocalization of a dog or cat being done by anyone except a veterinarian with the benefit of anesthesia. This procedure is also known as “silencing” of the animal.
HB-795 would set up a task force to study the fiscal impact of animal cruelty cases on animal shelters and animal control agencies.

Friday Morning Session:

Senate Bills introduced on  First Reader

Third Reading Calendar (House Bills) #8                                                                                                                                    
HB 100
Third Reading Passed (122-0)
HB 106
Third Reading Passed (124-0)
HB 168
Third Reading Passed (129-0)
HB 229
Third Reading Passed (129-0)
HB 251
Third Reading Passed (130-0)
HB 308
Third Reading Passed (129-0)
HB 398
Third Reading Passed (130-0)
HB 399
Third Reading Passed (131-0)
HB 451
Third Reading Passed (108-25)
HB 488
Third Reading Passed (132-0)
HB 564
Third Reading Passed (134-0)

Debate on HB-451:
I offered some debate on the need for this bill which adds “food deserts” to the list of places that are eligible for certain state grants, loans, and special funding. I pointed out that Maryland’s poor business environment has contributed to the diminishing private sector. Our over regulatory environment creates a true handicap to any start up entrepreneur and then the state must come along and attempt to facilitate private sector development through state incentives when these policies created the problems in the first place. It is a terrible cycle of failed liberal policies. Bad policy decisions often result in the creation of state subsidies. (Listen to the short audio clip here)

Friday Afternoon Judiciary Hearings:
HB-185 is in the same posture as HB-306 (below).
HB-282 would require the court to order the shielding of any Peace Orders or Protective Orders when a case is dismissed or if such an order is denied by the court. The shielding would have to be performed within 5 business days.
HB-306 would enhance the penalties for 2nd Degree Assault if the crime occurred in the presence of a minor. The minor would have to be related to the victim of the assault.
HB-307 would lower the burden of proof standard from the current “clear and convincing” standard to a preponderance of the evidence. Maryland is presently the only state in the union that maintains this greater standard in domestic violence cases involving protective style orders.
HB-309 would expand the circumstances under which a Permanent Protective Order could be issued by a court. Current law requires that the person who is the subject of the order must have served at least 5-years for a sentence on a charged related to the domestic violence act. This bill would simply say that a person must be “sentenced” to at least 5-years.
HB-333 this bill is in the same posture as HB-307 (above).
HB-352 would allow for a previous conviction for failing to comply with provisions of certain Peace Orders to be applicable in the penalty phase of a trial for a 2nd or subsequent offense.
HB-397 would allow for the shielding of certain Peace Orders and Protective Orders in cases where a Respondent consents to the issuance of these orders.
HB-572 creates penalties for anyone who fails to report the disappearance or death of a minor within 3-hours once it becomes known to them.
HB-622 seeks to expand the definition of First Degree Assault to include an assault by strangulation.
HB-647 would require a court to hold a hearing for the extension of a Final Peace Order or Protective Order within 30-days of the request and would allow the orders to remain in effect until the hearing is conducted.
HB-775 would expand the eligibility for a Domestic Protective Order by expanding the definition of a person eligible for relief to include someone who is involved in a consensual or non-consensual relationship with the respondent.
HB-1182 would allow a judge to specify a physical distance that a respondent would be required to stay away from a person who applies for Protective Orders. Generally these orders are restricted to issues of “contact” rather than stating a distance that one must stay away.
HB-1278 would place the jurisdiction for cases involving Protective Order Proceedings which include custody issues of a minor with the Circuit Courts. This would eliminate the use of the District Court for this purpose when child custody is involved.