Report: Giannasca to bypass Baltimore, head for Hilton Head

In a story in today’s Reading (Pa.) Eagle, Edward V. Giannasca II says he will appeal his $33 million loss to former Raven Michael McCrary — and denied he has any intention of fleeing the country with his three children, as alleged by his ex-wife.

“What is she talking about fleeing? I’m right here,” Giannasca told the paper from his office in Reading, where he’s seeking approval for a $2.8 billion mixed-use project on 80 acres along the Schuylkill River.

Giannasca said he “merely got passports for all the children at the same time because one son needed one,” the Eagle reports.

He will have a chance to explain that to visiting Judge Paul E. Alpert, who ordered him to appear in Baltimore City Circuit Court on Monday, June 30, under threat of a body attachment.

But, according to the Eagle, he has other plans.

“Giannasca said he won’t be there because he and his family will be on a weeklong vacation in Hilton Head, S.C.,” the story said.

The Eagle also says Giannasca stayed away from this week’s legal proceedings in Baltimore, despite a court order and his own promise to appear, on advice of counsel.

BARBARA GRZINCIC, Managing Editor/Law

Tips for wearing that red robe

The Board of Public Works meeting was running late Wednesday, leaving many Maryland judges sweltering in the late June sun as they waited to attend the swearing in of Sally D. Adkins to the Court of Appeals in the Legislative Services Building in Annapolis.

The jovial jurists appeared not to mind the 30-minute delay of the scheduled noon proceeding, particularly Court of Appeals Chief Judge Robert M. Bell, who brought his digital camera and took pictures of the attendees.

Asked whether the board, an executive-branch agency, was showing unconstitutional disdain for the co-equal judicial branch, Bell responded in the negative.

“They’ve got work to do,” Bell said. “I’m not going to fight about that.”

Other current and former members of the high court congratulated and offered advice to Adkins, including retired Judge Dale R. Cathell, whom she replaced on the bench.

“Sally, you made it. Now, relax,” Cathell said. “It’s a long haul from where you start out to get here.”

Judge Glenn T. Harrell Jr., when asked what advice he would give Adkins, joked that when writing opinions “she should ask herself, ‘What would Judge Harrell do?’”

Judges Joseph F. Murphy Jr., Lynne A. Battaglia and Clayton Greene Jr. were longer on praise than advice, saying they expected Adkins would be “wonderful,” that she would “step right in” and “make the transition very quickly” from the Court of Special Appeals.

And Peter B. Krauser, chief judge of the Court of Special Appeals, jokingly offered self-serving advice to his former colleague upon her elevation to the higher court.

“Remember these words: To reverse is human, to affirm divine,” he said.

STEVE LASH, Legal Affairs Writer

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A bug in the best-interest standard

The New York Times has a piece today about how tough it is to transfer children removed from their homes in one state to relatives who live in another state.

The story is datelined Hyattsville and features five kids from Washington whose Maryland grandparents and aunt and uncle want to take them in. Because of the bureaucratic hurdles that accompany interstate transfers, the kids are in foster care, “where they could remain for months while their relatives wait for Washington and Maryland to make formal requests, home inspections and approvals,” the Times’ Erik Eckholm writes.

“From the kids’ point of view, it’s like they’re being punished,” the aunt, Mia Johnson, told the Times.

CARYN TAMBER, Legal Affairs Writer