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Dennis M. Sweeney

Jan 2, 2011

Dennis M. Sweeney: How many strikes are enough?

Last September, three men were tried together in Baltimore City Circuit Court for the murder of former Baltimore City Councilman Kenneth Harris. Given that the charges carried the possible sentence of life imprisonment and there were multiple defendants, Judge David Ross, a retired judge recalled to handle the case, was faced with a daunting challenge: […]

May 31, 2010

June 1 marks anniversary of having women on Maryland juries

In February 1931, when Sara Whitehurst stepped from a specially chartered train in Annapolis with 200 other women from Baltimore, she was optimistic that a long-sought priority of Maryland women’s social, professional and business groups would soon be accomplished. Whitehurst was president of the Maryland State Federation of Women’s Clubs, and her Baltimore delegation was […]

Mar 28, 2010

Editorial Advisory Board: Fair and square for girls

House Bill 394 is a simple bill giving a simple directive to the Department of Juvenile Services: Provide the girls you serve with “a range and quality of services substantially equivalent to those offered to males.” It is hard to believe that in this, the 21st century, there needs to be a parity mandate for […]

Dec 27, 2009

Sweeney: What is the Wright way to question potential jurors?

On a Monday morning in most circuit courts in Maryland, a visitor can observe the process of jury selection.  Scores of potential jurors — in serious cases, as many as 150 — are brought from the jury assembly room to courtrooms for the questioning and selection process. At this point, the trial judge faces the […]

Oct 19, 2009

Judge on the Jury: Hearkening, then and now

In the winter of 1892, the schooner Martha E. Moore was discovered by the authorities to have been illegally dredging for oysters within the “prohibited waters” of the Chesapeake Bay. The Anne Arundel County Grand Jury indicted the schooner master, Thomas Givens, for a violation of the General Oyster Law of the State and, after […]

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