A recent article from a local Maryland newspaper, The Gazette, highlighted a lawsuit brought by The Gowen Group against the Town of Brentwood, Maryland and a former Brentwood councilwoman. The lawsuit was brought by citizens of the town who noticed that elected officials awarded $27,000 through a grant from Prince George’s County to a former council member, a clear violation of the town’s charter and ethics rules.
Special thanks to Gowen Group Law Clerk John Langlois for producing this post.
On November 9th, 2012 the United States Supreme Court granted review of the case of Maryland v. King to determine if collecting and analyzing the DNA of people arrested and charged with serious crimes is allowed under the Fourth Amendment. The case will be reviewed next year.
The review is in response to a ruling by the Maryland Court of Appeals. That state court held that collection of DNA samples from arrestees prior to conviction violated the Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable, warrantless searches. Maryland first enacted legislation establishing a DNA database in 1994. Collection of DNA samples was originally limited to individuals convicted of violent crimes or attempts at those crimes. In 2008 the law was expanded to allow collection upon arrest rather than after conviction.
This post by Gowen Group law clerk Brenna Daugherty.
This past week much attention has been on our nation’s highest court. While most of the attention was focused on the Supreme Court’s decision regarding the Affordable Care Act, the Supreme Court also handed down a decision in Miller v. Alabama, a case involving two 14 year-old offenders convicted of murder from Arkansas and Alabama. Both were sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. In a 5-4 decision written by Justice Elena Kagan, the Court found that the mandatory nature of the punishment as well as preventing the sentencing authority from taking a juvenile’s ‘lessened culpability’ and ‘capacity for change’ into account, violated the Eight Amendment of the Constitution.
Millions and millions of Americans die each year without a will (or “intestate”) and leave their families with unintended consequences and sometimes major headaches.
While it’s an unfortunate fact that we’re all going to die some day, it’s also a fact that we prefer not to dwell on it if we can avoid it, and a will makes us do just that. A survey conducted in 2012 found that almost half of Americans are intestate.
On Thursday, May 31, 2012 the First Circuit Federal Court of Appeals, sitting in Boston, ruled that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) violates the Constitution and should be struck down. [Decision here.]
Section 3 of DOMA states marriage is between a man and a woman, which means that gay married couples are ineligible for federal benefits, such as tax breaks and Social Security survivor benefits afforded to straight couples, those benefits being based on the marriage state.