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Arrested deputy awarded $600K

A Baltimore jury awarded $600,000 — two-thirds of it in “nominal” damages — Wednesday to a deputy sheriff who was arrested by a city police officer in 2008 when both responded to a call concerning the mentally ill brother of the deputy’s friend. Deputy Sheriff Arthur ‘Barry’ Phillips had arrived before the city officer. Phillips and the officer argued when the officer told Phillips to leave, leading to the arrest. No criminal charges were filed against Phillips.

Right to lawyer at bail

Criminal defendants have a right to counsel at initial bail hearings, Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Alfred Nance has ruled. He stayed the decision, however, to give the state a chance to appeal. The Court of Appeals had previously ruled that the Sixth Amendment’s right to counsel extended to other stages of a criminal proceeding.

Holton loses position

Baltimore City Council member Helen L. Holton must forfeit her post as chairwoman of the Taxation, Finance and Economic Committee after pleading no contest Monday to a misdemeanor campaign finance violation, said Council President Jack Young, who called the decision “really, really painful.”

$20M lead paint verdict

A Baltimore jury awarded nearly $21 million Wednesday to a 23-year-old woman who was found to have been poisoned by lead paint while growing up in an apartment owned and maintained by the Housing Authority of Baltimore City.

Bankruptcy filing altered

Bankruptcy proceedings will continue for MetaMorphix Inc., the maker of a popular DNA test for dogs, but the Beltsville company has been allowed by a court to convert its filing to Chapter 11 reorganization rather than liquidation through Chapter 7. Creditors who are owed $1.69 million had tried to force the company into liquidation.

Cohabitation ruling

In Maryland’s first decision on the property rights of formerly cohabitating couples, the Court of Special Appeals ruled Monday that a woman was entitled to a “constructive trust” in property for which she contributed payment while living there with a man who had applied for the mortgage loan and whose name was on the deed.

Ruling allows project

A Baltimore County judge correctly interpreted century-old documents as not limiting the uses of Druid Ridge Cemetery’s land, the Court of Special Appeals has held in a lawsuit over a proposed housing development on the Pikesville site.

Protection for renters

A new Maryland law will better protect victims of domestic violence and sexual assault from future attacks and eviction from rented homes. The law allows them to break their lease and change their locks, and prevents landlords from evicting them because of attacks, under certain conditions,