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LAW SUMMARY

Former Palczynski Hostages Sue Killer’s EstateThree Baltimore County residents who say that Joseph C. Palczynski Jr. held them hostage in their Bevans Lane home March 17 have sued Palczynski’s estate. Marie L. Wilkinson, Douglas L. Wilkinson and their minor son, Douglas L. Wilkinson Jr., seek damages totaling $5 million on allegations of false imprisonment, assault and battery. The complaint, filed by attorney Paul W. Spence, gives a vivid account of how Palczynski behaved while in the Wilkinson home. Palczynski, the alleged killer of four people, died March 21 when police raided the Dundalk residence where he had been holding hostages. Four days earlier in the Wilkinson home, “Dressed in fatigues and heavily armed, Palczynski forced Mr. Wilkinson at gunpoint to crawl into his bedroom …Staying in the room within several feet of the Plaintiffs, Palczynski loaded his guns which included at least two rifles and a .357 magnum pistol,” the complaint recounted. “Palczynski talked about his life and his hobbies. He watched television.”


Fourth Circuit Affirms Dangerfield ConvictionGeorge A. Dangerfield Jr.’s December 1999 conviction and 11-year sentence for masterminding a cocaine ring that employed a dozen convicted men was affirmed in a 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals opinion issued late last week. The court noted that in 1997 and 1998, Maryland law enforcement officials “made five controlled purchases from Dangerfield and intercepted numerous telephone calls,” bringing their investigation to a head when they arrested him returning to Baltimore with drugs he had bought in New York. Dangerfield had contended on appeal that the police had neither probable cause to stop him nor a warrant search his car. But the 4th Circuit found the authorities’ probable cause sufficiently grounded in his intercepted telephone communications, thus requiring no warrant for their subsequent search. The 4th Circuit also disagreed with Dangerfield’s contention that there was insufficient evidence to support his conspiracy conviction or his sentence enhancement for being manager of the conspiracy. Dangerfield lastly argued that the court erred in computing his criminal history, asserting that his two convictions for violating local housing codes should have been excluded from the court’s calculations. But the court held that the sentence enhancement was proper because one of those convictions resulted in a sentence of one year of probation — enough to place him in the same guideline range regardless of the result of the other violation. Opinion available via RecordFax: 0-0914-60(3 pages)


W.C. Warren, Former Columbia Law Dean, DiesThe death of William Clements Warren, a former dean of Columbia University Law School who helped transform the institution into a modern school, was reported Friday. Warren, 91, died Sept. 11 in Ridgewood, N.J., Sept. 11. Warren is credited with improving the schools scholarship offerings and building a more diversified student body during his tenure as dean from 1952 to 1970. He also led the planning and fund-raising efforts for the school’s main building, which was completed in 1960. Two other buildings at the school now bear his name. A specialist in tax law, he was a 1935 graduate of Harvard Law School. He was an attorney in New York City before being named a professor at Columbia in 1945. Warren served in the Army during World War II and was an editor of the War Department’s treatise on lend-lease, for which he received the U.S. Legion of Merit and the Italian Order of the Crown. Warren was a partner in the New York law firm of Roberts & Holland and served on the boards of several corporations.