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Top 5: ‘This is just a difficult time for Mr. Needleman’

The guilty plea of a prominent Baltimore criminal defense attorney was the most-read law story of the week. A lawsuit filed by the ACLU against Baltimore City police, a power outage in city circuit court and the start of the Court of Appeals’ new term round out the Top 5.

1. Needleman pleads guilty to tax evasion, resigns from bar – by Andy Marso

After pleading guilty to tax evasion and structuring bank deposits to hide income, Stanley Needleman could face between 30 and 46 months of prison time under the deal he made with prosecutors. He also agreed to forfeit $1.15 million in cash that federal agents found in two basement safes when they raided his Pikesville home on April 14.

But he said what was really weighing on him was that after 40 years of practice, he was no longer a lawyer.

2. Power outage closes part of Baltimore City Circuit Court – by Andy Marso

The top four floors of the six-story Courthouse East in Baltimore closed Monday due to electrical problems, grinding to a halt most legal proceedings in one of the two Baltimore City Circuit Court buildings.

Judge W. Michel Pierson said elevators were out of service throughout the Baltimore City Circuit Court building and everything above the second floor has only limited lighting.

3. ACLU sues Baltimore police over Preakness video – by Andy Marso

Inside Christopher Sharp’s Samsung Eternity smartphone was a digital scrapbook that could have been titled “Proud Father.”

Sharp, 38, of Owings Mills, had videos of his 5-year-old son “Joshy” at the beach, at the Howard County Fair and at his soccer and basketball games. But more than a year’s worth of memories were erased in one fell swoop after he dared to record Baltimore police officers making an arrest at the 2010 Preakness Stakes.

4. First up: Challenge to doctor’s sanction – by Steve Lash

A lawyer whose attempt to reschedule a Case Resolution Conference landed his client in hot water with the Maryland State Board of Physicians argued Wednesday in the Court of Appeals that the sanction should be reversed.

Dr. Charles Y. Kim, an obstetrician and gynecologist, was fined $5,000 and put on administrative probation for six months for willfully failing to disclose, on a license-renewal application, that he had been sued for medical malpractice.

5. Court of Appeals begins new term Wednesday – by Steve Lash

Maryland’s top court began its 2011-2012 term Wednesday with an air of mystery: Who will succeed retiring Judge Joseph F. Murphy Jr. on the Court of Appeals?

Murphy, 67, announced in January that he would step down in August — about 2½ years shy of the mandatory retirement age of 70 — to work with his daughter Erin at the law firm Silverman, Thompson, Slutkin & White LLC, where she is an associate.