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Top 5: ‘In the state of Maryland, it’s against the law.’

The start of a “robocall” trial involving one of former Gov. Robert Ehrlich’s top aides, a couple of Court of Appeals opinions and a Silver Spring man ordered to stop acting like a lawyer are among The Daily Record’s top legal affairs stories of the week. We also had one of the stars of “The Wire” tell her personal story of abuse to the Defending Childhood Task Force at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. Here are the Top 5 stories of the week.

1. Judge dismisses conspiracy count in Schurick robocall case — by Steve Lash

To the prosecution, the most damning evidence that Paul E. Schurick tried to sabotage Gov. Martin O’Malley’s re-election with robocalls last fall was the content of the recorded telephone messages themselves.

The Election Day 2010 messages told Democratic voters in Baltimore City and Prince George’s County — while the polls were still open — that they did not need to vote because O’Malley’s victory was well in hand, Maryland State Prosecutor Emmet C. Davitt argued on the second day of the trial.

2. Silver Spring man ordered to stop acting like a lawyer — by Daily Record Staff

A 33-year-old businessman from Silver Spring has been ordered by the Consumer Protection Division of the Maryland Attorney General’s office to stop acting as a lawyer and offering credit services when he is not licensed to perform either.

Corey W. Hankerson and The Equity Law Group LLC, “preyed on consumers by offering legal assistance and credit services when he was not licensed as a lawyer or as a credit services professional,” the division alleged.

3. Live blog from Defending Childhood Task Force — by Danielle Ulman

A panel on the consequences for youth and society exposed to daily violence hit hard on some areas that might be ineffective in helping kids to turn things around.

Patrick McCarthy, president and CEO of the Annie E. Casey Foundation said he finds institutions for juvenile delinquents wholly ineffective. Many youths come out of these programs with worse behavior than when they started, he said.

Sonja Sohn, an actress most famous for her work on The Wire, also started the ReWired for Change outreach program to rehabilitate at-risk youth involved in criminal activity. She told her very personal story of abuse.

4. Court of Appeals overturns murder conviction — by Steve Lash

Maryland’s top court overturned a former U.S. Army ranger’s murder conviction Tuesday, saying he was denied sufficient opportunity to pursue his defense that the fellow ex-ranger he allegedly shot to death had actually killed himself.

In remanding for a new trial, the Court of Appeals said unanimously that Gary James Smith must be permitted to introduce testimony regarding Michael McQueen II’s purported suicidal depression on Sept. 26, 2006, when he died violently in the Gaithersburg apartment the two men shared.

5. Court of Appeals: Fake ID not obstruction — by Danielle Ulman

Maryland’s top court has reversed a lower court’s finding that a man obstructed or hindered the performance of a police officer when he gave the officer a fake license.

The Court of Appeals said in an opinion Tuesday that the state failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Gerald Thomas Titus Jr. had impeded the investigative process used by Cpl. Mario Devivio of the Carroll County Sherriff’s Department.

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