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Week in review: 2/25/11

Police officers face charges

Seventeen Baltimore police officers and two brothers who own Majestic Auto Repair Shop were charged Wednesday on allegations of arranging for the company to tow vehicles from accidents even though the company lacked the necessary city contract, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office. The Rosedale shop is accused of paying officers about $300 for each vehicle towed.

ICC highway opens

Officials including Gov. Martin O’Malley attended a ribbon-cutting Monday in Gaithersburg for the Inter-County Connector. The first 7.2 miles of the highway opened to drivers Wednesday after a one-day delay because of a snowstorm. Travel on it will be free until March 6, when automatic tolls will collect fees from vehicles’ E-ZPasses.

Judicial money targeted

The Attorney Grievance Commission’s annual budget would need to be approved by the state, and any unspent annual revenue would go to Maryland’s general fund, under a legislative proposal the Maryland Judiciary opposes as an illegal money grab.

Developer subsidies debated

At a heated meeting Tuesday, a Baltimore task force examining the need for public subsidies to developers debated whether to hold businesses more accountable for those tax breaks through audits and increased transparency.

Judicial money targeted

The Maryland Office of the Public Defender must fine-tune its procedures for determining who is eligible for its services and improve its bookkeeping and fee collection practices, according to a legislative audit published Tuesday.

Law firms merge

After a nearly five-year courtship, the five attorneys of Murphy & Shaffer will join the five in the Baltimore office of Zuckerman Spaeder. After maintaining their independence for years, Murphy & Shaffer’s lawyers expect to find it easier to expand their practices and find bigger clients.

Same-sex marriage

Opponents of proposed legislation that would allow same-sex marriage in Maryland said this week that passage of the bill would inspire a referendum drive to put the issue on the ballot in November 2012.

Wind power proposal

Gov. Martin O’Malley has proposed legislation for luring wind turbine manufacturers to Maryland with economic incentives of up to $50 million. Other bills would require utility companies to enter into long-term contracts to buy wind energy produced off the state’s coast.

Tech firm wins $500K

In a counterclaim, Caveo Network Solutions of Frederick has been awarded nearly $500,000 from its former president, who started a rival company while still an employee and defamed his employer in the process.