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Legal Trends: Are Justice Reforms in Maryland Working?

Oct. 19, 2022

WATCH FREE REPLAY

In recent years, Maryland lawmakers have passed a variety of measures designed to reform the criminal and civil justice system, including new bail policies, juvenile justice reforms, access to counsel and measures to strengthen police accountability. The Maryland Judiciary also has examined its own rules in these areas.

Have these new laws and rule changes had an impact? Are they accomplishing what advocates intended? Have there been unintended consequences?

This webinar will focus on the real-world consequences of these measures and examine what additional civil and criminal justice reforms may be considered in Maryland.

Sponsored by:

MSBA

Panelists:

Natasha Dartigue
Doyle L. Niemann
Reena Shah
Natasha Dartigue
Maryland Public Defender
Doyle L. Niemann
Chief of Operations,
Prince George’s County State’s Attorney’s Office
Reena Shah
Executive Director,
Maryland Access to Justice Commission

Natasha Dartigue:

Natasha Dartigue began her appointment as the Maryland public defender on July 1, 2022. She has been with Office of the Public Defender (OPD) since 1996. During her tenure, Dartigue has represented clients in the juvenile, district and circuit court divisions of OPD’s Baltimore city office. She previously served as a felony trial supervisor and the deputy district public defender for Baltimore city. Prior to joining OPD, she clerked in the Baltimore City Circuit Court for the late Judge Roger W. Brown. Dartigue is a graduate of the Howard University School of Law, where she was a member of the Howard Law Journal and served as 3L Class vice president.

Dartigue is a first-generation American and the proud daughter of Haitian immigrants. She is a strong believer in the power of community and serves as an advocate and leader throughout Maryland. She is a member of the Board of Governors for the Maryland State Bar Association (MSBA), past president of the Monumental City Bar Association, past co-chair of the Bench Bar Committee of the Bar Association of Baltimore City (BABC), current co-chair of the BABC Criminal Law Committee, member of the Alliance of Black Women Attorneys and an executive mentor for Innovation Works. She also serves on the board of the Baltimore Bar Foundation, the Monumental City Bar Foundation and the Board of Trustees for Loyola Blakefield. For her accomplishments and public service, Dartigue has received various recognitions and acknowledgements, including service awards from the Maryland Office of the Public Defender, National Association of Public Defense and the Baltimore City Department of Recreation & Parks; the Government Lawyer of the Year by the Bar Association of Baltimore City, and the Leadership in Law Award and 2018 Top 100 Women from The Daily Record. As she continues to use her platform to amplify the voices of the often unheard and advocate for all Maryland communities, The Daily Record honored Dartigue with the 2022 Influential Marylander Award.

Doyle L. Niemann:

Doyle L. Niemann is an American prosecutor, public administrator, and former politician who represented District 47 in the Maryland House of Delegates from 2003 to 2015. He currently serves as chief of operations for the Prince George’s County State’s Attorney’s Office in the administration of State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy.

Niemann has more than 24 years experience as a prosecutor in the State’s Attorney’s Office, handling felonies, misdemeanors and juvenile cases. He is a national expert on fraud and financial and economic crimes.

Niemann served for 12 years in the Maryland House of Delegates, representing a diverse, multiethnic district. He served eight years on Environmental Matters and four years on the Appropriations Committee; he was the chair of the Housing and Real Property Subcommittee. Floor leader on all housing-related bills and national leader on foreclosure-related issues. He chaired and participated in task forces and work groups to study identity theft, child welfare, technical education, foreclosure prevention and remediation, juvenile delinquency prevention and diversion, towing.

Niemann has more than 25 years of nonlegal, executive-level experience in management positions in the corporate and nonprofit arenas, with responsibility for marketing, public relations, client relations, research, and staff supervision. Niemann has practical experience with local government and the political process, including six years of service on the Prince George’s County Board of Education and four years on the Mount Rainier City Council, as well as four years on the Prince George’s Democratic Central Committee.

Reena Shah:

A longtime advocate of social justice and social change, Reena Shah has served as executive director of the Maryland Access to Justice Commission (A2JC) since November 2015. She was recently named by Attorney General Brian Frosh to chair the legislatively mandated Access to Counsel in Evictions Task Force and previously served as the vice chair of the Maryland attorney general’s COVID-19 Access to Justice Task Force. A2JC unites leaders to drive reforms and innovations to make the civil justice system accessible, equitable and fair for all Marylanders. Under Shah’s leadership, the A2JC has grown its visibility, influence and capacity through its institutional partnership with the MSBA and other high-level partnerships, including with the Office of the Attorney General.

Prior to coming to A2JC, Shah was a staff attorney in the Housing and Consumer Law Unit and then the first director of the Human Rights Project at Maryland Legal Aid. She went to law school after a few years in public policy and international development, during which period she worked on Capitol Hill for U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), in a local Kenyan nongovernmental organization, and as a Peace Corps volunteer in Nepal.

Shah earned a B.A. from The George Washington University, an M.P.A. from Princeton University, and a J.D. from University of Maryland Carey Law School. Reena is active in her community, having served on the boards of the Women’s Law Center of Maryland and Maryland Carey Law School. She was recognized by the Daily Record in 2021 as one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women and is the recipient of the Diane Kinslow Award at Maryland Legal Aid for outstanding service to her clients and The Daily Record’s Leading Women award. Shah is married with three children. She loves to travel and embraces adventure.