Tree Sap Acquits My Client
My client was charged with theft of the all-terrain vehicle even though the theft had occurred 17 months earlier.
The prosecutor refused to drop the case. The defendants appeared three times in District Court and each time the case was continued for one reason or another. Finally we requested a jury trial. Still the prosecutor would not drop the case. I could not understand how they would prove this case? They provided the discovery information and there was nothing else in it. My client did not admit to stealing the all-terrain vehicle. There were no witnesses who could prove that he stole it from the house. My client had told the police officer that he and his friends had seen deer in the woods and followed the deer into the woods and came upon this vehicle. The vehicle appeared to be abandoned and in a ditch and so they took it. There was no license plate on the vehicle. There was no evidence that the vehicle had recently been driven. The ignition had not been popped.
At trial the owner of the vehicle testified that his vehicle was stolen from his home in February 2008. In July of 2009 he was contacted by the police and he went down to identify his vehicle. He took his keys along. When he saw the vehicle. On cross examination I want to establish that the vehicle was abandoned. The owner admitted that the vehicle was covered in tree sap. The owner admitted that the engine was cool to the touch which would suggest that the vehicle had not recently been started. It was determined that my client and his friends had no riding gear with them-no motorcycle helmets, boots, etc. All of this was consistent with what my client had told the officer that they had found it and it seemed abandoned.
The officer testified that the situation seemed suspicious. I could not figure out how this was suspicious. The license plate on the car was legitimate. My client's driver's license was legitimate. I think what seemed suspicious is that you had four Hispanic men in a van. Strangely, the judge found this to be sufficiently suspicious to allow the officer to further investigate. The judge was troubled with the officer's order to remove the van because the judge could not see how the officer had probable cause at that point.
They called two other witnesses and I do not believe they added anything to the case. One of them lived in the area and I was able to establish that there was a large woods where the ATV was found. The other one I did not even bother cross examining.
After this evidence the state rested.
I did not even have to put on a defense. The judge granted our motion for judgment of acquittal. The evidence was completely consistent with people finding an abandoned vehicle in the woods. He could not see how the state could prove that my client intended to steal the vehicle. There was no evidence that he stole the vehicle. My client was found not guilty of the charge.
After the trial the prosecutor still did not get it. She was arguing to me her theory of the case which had just been completely debunked. I finally did get it, the prosecution had no case and never could make a case.
Just because the police officer says you're drunk does not necessarily mean that you are drunk
On cross examination the officer admitted that other than speeding my client was driving the car in a normal manner. My client was able to produce his license from his wallet without any problems. My client communicated accurately with the officer. The officer wasn't positive as to the surface where the Field sobriety tests were done. The officer could not remember if there was anybody else in the car (my client had a very drunk woman in the car who smelled of alcohol). The officer could not remember if he himself lost his balance showing the Field sobriety tests.
We had a witness who stated that he was the DJ at the bar where my client was. He saw my client come in and thought my client was sober. My client was there one hour. When the bar closed my client felt the DJ unload all of his equipment including two 150 pound speakers which were on telescopic stands. My client wrapped up the electrical cables in a neat fashion. My client peeled tape off the floor. My client had no trouble doing these things and left right after that and within five minutes. By the officer. The DJ thought that my client was sober.
My client testified that he had had one shot and had ordered two beers but realized he was on antibiotics and only drink the shot and half of the beer. My client thought that he was sober.
The judge could not find beyond a reasonable doubt that my client was intoxicated or under the influence or even impaired and acquitted him of these charges.
The point is, just because the state claims something is so, does not mean that the trier of fact will believe that beyond a reasonable doubt.
New Maryland Procedure: Drivers Must Notify the Court after a Moving Violation
Drivers who receive a moving violation ticket must now affirmatively act within 30 days after receiving the ticket by either paying the ticket for requesting a trial date. If they do neither their license will be suspended. They must do one or the other to protect their driving privilege.
A Good Lawyer Knows the Judge
False Peace Order Accusation
My client testified that he was in a staff meeting at that date and time in College Park. I had his boss and the secretary also testify that he was there. Clearly the judge found in our favor and in his written decision stated that "there was no evidence of anything" that the respondent did. I don't think that the petitioner was mentally unstable or lying but clearly made a case of mistaken identity. It cost my client money, time and potentially reputation.
There may be a mechanism to clear his reputation. If you knew my client's name you could find him on the Maryland Judiciary case search website. My client is an important man with national security clearance. Maryland's Gen. assembly ennacted a statute which took effect on October 1, 2010 providing for sealing or shielding of cases of this nature which result in either dropped charges or a dismissal. If you have a peace order or domestic violence petition against you and it is dismissed or you win in court, you should look into having the case sealed were shielded from public view. I would be happy to assist you.
Can I Expunge My Maryland Driving Record?
(a) "Criminal offense" defined.- In this section, "criminal offense" does not include any violation of the Maryland Vehicle Law.
(b) When Administration may expunge records.- Except as provided in subsections (c) and (e) of this section and in Subtitle 8 of this title, if a licensee applies for the expungement of the licensee's public driving record, the Administration shall expunge the record if, at the time of application:
(1) The licensee does not have charges pending for allegedly committing a moving violation or a criminal offense involving a motor vehicle; and
(2) (i) The licensee has not been convicted of a moving violation or a criminal offense involving a motor vehicle for the preceding 3 years, and the licensee's license never has been suspended or revoked;
(ii) The licensee has not been convicted of a moving violation or a criminal offense involving a motor vehicle for the preceding 5 years, and the licensee's record shows not more than one suspension and no revocations; or
(iii) Within the preceding 10 years:
1. The licensee has not been convicted of nor been granted probation before judgment for a violation of Sec. 20-102 or Sec. 21-902 of this article;
2. The licensee's driving record shows no convictions from another jurisdiction of a moving violation identical or substantially similar to Sec. 20-102 or Sec. 21-902 of this article; and
3. The licensee has not been convicted of any other moving violation or criminal offense involving a motor vehicle, regardless of the number of suspensions or revocations.
(c) When Administration may refuse to expunge.- The Administration may refuse to expunge a driving record if it determines that the individual requesting the expungement has not driven a motor vehicle on the highways during the particular conviction-free period on which the request is based.
(d) Required expungements.- The Administration shall expunge from its driver record data base the driving record of an individual or a probation before judgment disposition of an individual:
(1) Who has not been convicted of a moving violation or criminal offense involving a motor vehicle for the preceding 3 years;
(2) Who has not been convicted of, or been granted probation before judgment for:
(i) A violation of Sec. 20-102 of this article;
(ii) A violation of Sec. 21-902 of this article; or
(iii) A moving violation identical or substantially similar to Sec. 20-102 or Sec. 21-902 of this article; and
(3) Whose license or privilege to drive never has been suspended or revoked.
(e) Early expungement prohibited.- Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, the Administration may not expunge any driving records before the expiration of the time they are required to be retained under Sec. 16-819 of this title.
[An. Code 1957, art. 661/2, Sec. 6-117; 1977, ch. 14, Sec. 2; 1982, ch. 99; 1989, ch. 291, Sec. 2; ch. 376; 1992, ch. 541; 1993, ch. 322; 1994, ch. 23; 1998, ch. 483; 1999, ch. 647; 2008, ch. 275.]
A young man charged with armed robbery, robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery was acquitted after the alleged victim's testimony was discredited. The victim in this case told police that he and his friend were beaten by at least six young men two of whom had a stick and a baseball bat. The young men were arrested based on these accusations and jailed, some of them from the incident date all the way until trial.
At trial the victim identified my client as his attacker. During the trial it was revealed that the victim had had six regular sized beers in a one half hour interval shortly before the attack. It was further revealed that the victim almost immediately got on the ground and covered his face to protect himself. It was further revealed that it was very dark out and the victim had little time to look at his attackers. At the time of the attack the victim could not give any specific description of any of the men other than they were young and their race. He could not describe hairstyle, facial features, the size of the men. Finally, the witness testified that my client had a tattoo on his neck.
Prior to trial an investigator was sent to speak with the victim and she took his statement and his statement included the fact that my client had a tattoo on his neck.
At trial it was abundantly obvious that my client did not have a tattoo on his neck and frankly never had a tattoo on his neck. The jury took only a short while to quit my client of all charges.
Car strikes bicycle rider, bicycle rider wins (not really, but it makes for an interesting title)!
Defendant Who Shot Two People Received Suspended Sentence-You Need to Look at the Whole Picture before Making a Judgment
A Montgomery Village man has been sentenced to time served for shooting into a crowd of people outside his house and injuring two, including his cousin.
Richard Anthony Ortiz Jr., 19, and his then 17-year-old cousin were at their home in the 9300 block of Bremerton Way in Montgomery Village on May 19 when four or five men knocked on their door about 6 p.m., according to Montgomery County Police charging documents. His cousin went outside by himself over Ortiz's objections.
Ortiz heard a commotion and opened the door. He saw his cousin surrounded by a small crowd and struggling with a then 23-year-old man, according to the documents. Ortiz grabbed a gun, told the other people in the house to go downstairs and fired into the crowd to scare off the group.
A bullet hit Ortiz's cousin in the back and exited through his stomach. The 23-year-old man was shot in the neck, according to the documents. Neither man suffered life-threatening injuries.
The 23-year-old fled to a house near Arrowhead Road and Rothbury Drive in Montgomery Village and told the residents that someone was chasing him, according to the documents. Police were called.
Ortiz administered first aid to his cousin and walked to Rothbury to meet police.
"I have a [2-year-old] daughter and the day she was born was the day I changed a lot and became more protective of my family," Ortiz, who is now employed and living with relatives in Silver Spring, said at the Oct. 4 hearing in Montgomery County Circuit Court in Rockville. "I know [the 23-year-old] has four of his own and I'm happy that God didn't decide to put that kind of pressure on me of taking someone's life, knowing he has kids."
The .38-caliber revolver was unregistered and illegally purchased, Ortiz's Rockville attorney Thomas G. Witkop said at the hearing. Ortiz does not know who he bought the gun from, Witkop said.
Ortiz purchased the gun for protection after he and his cousin were robbed by three masked men while walking home last winter, Witkop said. The cousin's nostril was slit and a tendon in Ortiz's arm was cut, he said.
Witkop said in an interview that the cousin and the 23-year-old were in a physical fight and that Ortiz feared for his relative's life and made a poor decision.
"This guy's in his home defending himself," Witkop said. "He wasn't looking for any trouble, he was minding his own business. He wasn't an instigator."
Ortiz was indicted in June on two counts of first-degree assault, two counts of reckless endangerment and one count of using a handgun in commission of a violent crime. He pleaded guilty to two counts of reckless endangerment and was sentenced to two years in prison with all but one day suspended by Judge Joseph A. Dugan Jr.
Ortiz was given credit for one day of time served in a plea agreement accepted by Dugan.
"I don't like people out in the street with handguns that don't have a license for them and I don't like people like you, at age 19, blazing away out in front of your house," Dugan said at the hearing.
"Little girls need love and affection from their fathers and you can't give that if you're in the penitentiary."
Ortiz has been known to associate with members of a local offshoot of the Bloods gang, Assistant State's Attorney Jeffrey Wennar said, and he tested positive for marijuana three times while awaiting trial.
Dugan said Ortiz's cousin was selling drugs.
Ortiz violated his curfew on at least three occasions while awaiting trial, according to court documents, once disappearing for three days. He also failed to report to his probation officer at least once, missed a substance abuse treatment class and failed to appear at a court date.
Ortiz pleaded guilty to marijuana possession in July, according to an online state court records database.
The reporter who wrote this was Ms. Tierney and I appreciate her balanced approach to the article.
some suggestions when handling a car accident property damage claim
aspect -of a legal claim. The law provides that you are entitled to be made whole if the
other driver damaged your car. Being made whole simply means making your car as good
as it was before the accident. Unfortunately, this may not work out very well in reality. I
have had plenty of clients who had brand new $23,000 cars, driven them off the lot and
then had a bad accident necessitating $10,000 in repairs. Even after all the repair work is
done, common sense dictates that the car is usually not as good as it was before the
accident even though under the law it is considered to be as good. If you can accept early
on that this process seldom makes you a winner, it might be easier on your nerves. If you
follow the steps outlined below, it will expedite- matters and reduce your headaches.
Obviously, if you have any questions, please call me and I will help you.
After you have had an accident and your car is damaged or totaled, you are
entitled to be made whole. That is, the person who hit you, or his insurance company, if
he is at fault must pay you enough money to fix your car so that is in the same condition
as before the accident or pay you enough money to replace your car if it is totaled.
If your car is damaged but not totaled (the definition of total is not entirely clear.
Sometimes it is if the repair price is worth more than half of the price of the vehicle, then
the vehicle is a total loss. If the vehicle is an expensive vehicle the percentage may
increase. For example, if the value of the vehicle is $30,000 and the repairs will cost
$20,000, that may not be a total loss. The insurance company should tell you the formula
before they see the car.) call the adjuster for the insurance company involved. If you have
collision insurance, call your own insurance company and have an appraiser come out and
view-your car. To save you time you should suggest that all adjusters come to your car
rather than you bringing your car to them. An appraiser is experienced (but not infallible)
at evaluating damages and will tell you how much it will cost to fix your car. That
insurance company will then offer you a check in the amount of the appraiser's evaluation
less any deductible you may have. Before you accept this check, it would be wise to have
your car appraised by a mechanic or body man you know to check the appraiser's
accuracy. After your insurance company pays you, it will then collect what it paid from
the insurance company of the person who hit-you. Thereafter, you will get back any
deductible you had to pay. Also, check if you have rental insurance which allows you to
have a rental car until your car is fixed or replaced. Also, check to see if you have GAP
insurance which will cover the difference of the fair market value of your car and the
amount you owe on the car.
If you are dealing with the insurance company of the person that hit you, the
process if similar to the above description. Have the appraiser come to your car. Be
aware that the appraiser is not your friend and you should choose your words carefully
when speaking to him. do not speak to him-as how, why, what you were doing , are you
hurt, etc. about the accident. If he asks about any of the above, refer him to me. Your
conversation should be limited to the cost of fixing or replacing your car. Again, after an
appraisal is made, have a mechanic or body man you know or trust also estimate your
car's damage. As the defendant is required to make you whole, you are entitled to rent a
car equal to your car while your. car is nonoperational due to the accident. If you do not
rent a car and use a taxi, save your taxi receipts as those would be reimbursed also. All
taxi receipts, rental receipts, and repair estimates should be submitted to the defendant
insurance company so that you receive fair value for your loss.
If your car is totaled, you are entitled to the fair market value of the car at the time
of the accident and the place where the car is generally kept plus the applicable taxes and
transfer fees pursuant to Code of Maryland Regulation 11.11.05. Fair market value is
frequently determined by the `blue book value. Many public-.libraries keep blue books
and you can call the reference librarian at a public library and find out the blue book value
of your car. Library reference in Montgomery County is 240-777-0001. You can also
check online at the Kelley blue book site (KBB.com) or Edmunds.com. Another way to
determine fair market value is through the classified ads in the local newspapers. Look at
the Sunday paper used car section and find the value of cars like yours.
Further, pursuant to Maryland law the insurance company must provide the
following upon request:
· The method used to value the vehicle (including the identification of any books,
manuals, or database
· A detailed explanation of our calculation of the motor vehicle's loss value, including
the calculation of
any value added to the motor vehicle by options;
· A list of all deductions that were made from the value of the motor vehicle;
· A copy of the inspection guidelines relied upon by us in determining the condition of
the vehicle at the
time of loss.
Finally, in accordance with Maryland Regulation, 31.15.12.06, at your option,
you may, in writing, reject the settlement offer and make a counter offer based on:
· dealer quotations for a substantially similar motor vehicle
· advertisements for a substantially similar motor vehicle, or
· any other source of valuation for a substantially similar motor vehicle.
Use the above information to get the best value for your car. Do not take a check
that is below the fair market value of your car. Again, until your car is replaced, the
defendant insurance company must pay for any rental expenses and or taxi expenses you
incur because you were missing your car. Bear in mind if you own a Chevy Chevette, you
cannot rent a Rolls Royce and expect to be fully reimbursed.
I hope that the above is helpful. If you have any questions please call me. I am
always happy to help you.