The Court of Appeals deciding over a weekend not to rule on a case it heard and Gregg Bernstein looking back on his first year as Baltimore City’s top prosecutor are among the most-read legal affairs stories of the week. The list also includes a Maryland man having his case heard by the Supreme Court and a longtime aide to Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown heading back to the private sector. The Top 5 stories are:
1. Maryland man’s lawsuit lands in Supreme Court — by Kimberly Atkins (Lawyers USA)
Daniel Coleman is one in five million.
That’s how many state workers across the country would be affected if the Supreme Court decides Coleman can sue his former employer for violating the self-care provisions of the Family and Medical Leave Act.
Coleman, who worked in Maryland’s Administrative Office of the Courts, claims he was fired in 2007 for seeking 10 days of FMLA leave to deal with complications of diabetes.
2. Lt. Gov. Brown’s chief of staff leaves for DLA Piper — by Ben Mook
After five years on the staff of Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, the last three as chief of staff, Earl Adams Jr. has taken a position with DLA Piper US LLP in Baltimore.
Adams started Monday in the firm’s litigation and government affairs practice as of counsel. His work with the firm will include lobbying, regulatory and administrative law as well as government affairs.
3. Court of Appeals dismisses fly-ash petition — by Barbara Grzincic
The Court of Appeals has changed its mind about getting involved in a dispute over a fly-ash storage facility in southern Maryland.
The top court, which heard argument on Friday, decided Monday that it should never have agreed to review the matter.
The one-page per curiam order says simply that the petition for a writ of certiorari is “dismissed with costs, the petition having been improvidently granted.”
4. Capital murder trial starts in prison guard’s stabbing — by Ben Mook
Opening statements are set to begin this week in the capital murder trial of Lee E. Stephens, 32, who is accused of murdering a prison guard in 2006 at the now-closed Maryland House of Corrections in Jessup.
Stephens’ case marks the fifth time in about 15 years that Anne Arundel prosecutors have sought the death penalty. In a county with few murders, three of the capital cases involved inmate murders at the House of Corrections. None of the five cases prosecuted by the county have resulted in a death sentence.
5. Bernstein outlines changes made, to come — by Ben Mook
A little over a year after taking over as Baltimore City State’s Attorney, Gregg L. Bernstein on Monday outlined a host of initiatives his office has undertaken, including creating a Major Investigations Unit and another unit charged with evaluating claims of wrongful prosecution.
Bernstein said those and other initiatives, such as moving to a community-based prosecution model along with technology upgrades and increased training, would help drive down the crime rate in the city.