Two multimillion-dollar lawsuits filed in Baltimore City are among the most-read legal affairs stories this week. One lawsuit alleges police misconduct, the other filed in response to a boy being attacked by the pit bull. But the top stories of the week were the opening of a corruption trial against a prominent state senator and the appointment of seven new circuit court judges, one an historic elevation. The Top 5 are as follows:
1. O’Malley appoints seven circuit court judges — by Steve Lash
Judge Jeannie J. Hong will become the first Asian-American to serve on a Maryland circuit court following her appointment Wednesday to the bench in Baltimore.
“This appointment shows and conveys to the Asian community that everything’s possible, that we need to move forward, that it sets the bar higher, that anything’s possible,” said Hong, who was born in Seoul, South Korea, and moved to the United States at age 2 with her parents and sister.
Hong, 45, was one of seven judges and attorneys Gov. Martin O’Malley appointed to circuit courts in Baltimore City and Prince George’s and Cecil counties on Wednesday.
2. Jury seated in Currie trial; witness list may include several lawmakers — by Steve Lash
State Sen. Ulysses S. Currie’s bribery trial, which began Monday with the selection and swearing-in of a jury, may feature a “Who’s Who” of Maryland politics as he fights federal charges of accepting more than $245,000 for using his office to benefit Shoppers Food Warehouse Corp.
More than a dozen current and past lawmakers might be called to testify to Currie’s character during the six-week trial of one of Annapolis’s most influential senators, according to court papers.
3. Lawyer indefinitely suspended by Court of Appeals — by Daily Record Staff
Maryland’s top court has indefinitely suspended an attorney for failure to properly manage his trust account and for improperly handling clients’ cases.
Roland N. Patterson Jr. can apply for readmission in six months.
Patterson was found to have overdrawn his Interest on Lawyer Trust Account and failed to create a record for it. He also took on Denver Moten as a client, but failed to enter his appearance in the matter or generally prepare for the case.
4. $5M suit alleges police misconduct — by Andy Marso
A year ago, Rodney L. Smith and Christopher Owens were facing prison time, with a half-dozen members of the Baltimore Police Department lined up to testify that they resisted arrest and assaulted officers during an October 2009 traffic stop.
On Monday, Smith and Owens filed a $5 million lawsuit against two of those officers.
Criminal charges against Smith and Owens were dismissed in February, paving the way for their civil complaint against Baltimore police officers John E. Frank and Jeremy C. Pearce.
5. $3M sought for child mauled by pit bull — by Andy Marso
It has been five months since 5-year-old Khalil Willis was mauled by a pit bull terrier while playing with a friend in an alley just off North Bradford Street. The 106 stitches and 12 staples that reattached the skin on his right leg have been removed and Khalil, who has since turned 6, is out of his wheelchair and walking.
But, according to Willis’ attorney, the trauma of the attack is still fresh in the young boy’s mind, and he has marks that will remind him of it for the rest of his life.