Gary S. Bernstein, P.A.

Call Toll-Free: 866-435-2795

Locally at: 410-415-9219

Category: Criminal Defense

State Drops Case Today

I try not to take a case from another lawyer.  I think it is professional courtesy, unless the lawyer is a moron.  A client came to me about two months ago and wanted to switch lawyers.  His lawyer (the partner) is very good and a friend of mine.  I told him no, but he insisted because the lawyer was passing him off to a member of their team and he had no confidence in the associate.  I asked why, and he explained the associate had done no work on the case, had not interviewed the driver of the vehicle, and had not subpoenaed the driver.  I sent the client back to the partner to tell him this was unacceptable and that he hired him and expected him to represent him.  The partner told him he was too busy to handle the case. 

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Baltimore County Not Guilty

I finally got to try a case that was almost a year old and had been snowed out twice.  I had commented on this case when I did the MVA Hearing and the officer denied my client a phone call to her attorney, and the ALJ took no action.  Today we showed up with our three witnesses and credit card receipts to attest to the amount of alcohol consumed.  They never got on the stand.  The officer could not remember simple facts and could not identify the photos of the street and sidewalk where the SFSTs were requested to be performed.  I took the clear copy of the mugshot from the State, and introduced it to show my client looked better than she did in court.  Obviously bright eyed and no sign of impairment.  Take a look on line of Nick Nolte's mugshot, and you see what really f…ed up looks like.

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A Nice Thank You

When I got out of court today, I had this email.  I have redacted the name and employer, but if you do these cases correctly, this should happen:

Hello Gary,

I would like to thank you for everything you have done for me.  You helped me turn a troubling time around, and I have grown exponentially as a person.  Today I accepted a full time job with_____, a government agency that works ________.  I am very excited and grateful for your part in getting me this job.  I have to pass a security clearance, and as you recommended I was honest about my DWI, and they said it shouldn't be a problem.  Once again thank you so much, and perhaps when I am back in Towson I can take you out to lunch, assuming you ever get some free time.

 

Seminar for District Court Public Defenders

I have been contacted by two separate supervisors in Baltimore City to give a DUI and Serious Traffic Seminar to their new District Court lawyers.  DUI is more complicated than many other types of criminal cases.  The science and the technical aspects are different than in a drug case or assault, or theft case.  The issues with charging documents comes up more in traffic matters.  If you do not know the law and the rules of criminal procedure, you wind up being bullied by the judges and the prosecutors.  Because of the sentencing difficulties with so many judges in the City, you have to avoid them by demanding a jury trial, otherwise you are looking at an appeal.  I file a written demand so that I do not get locked in to the District Court or waste a morning going to court for a 30 second proceeding.  The public defenders can read the judge's schedule just like everyone else.  If they want to stop being treated like door mats, they have to file written demands when they can see there is no reason to keep the case in the District.  If the entire docket is wiped out, so be it.  You have to represent your client whether you are getting paid by them or the State.  You also do not have to agree to amendments to charging documents that change the character of the offense.  Make them dismiss the case and write your client the correct ticket, unless you are going to be able to get a favorable result in front of this particular judge.  Jury demand, in writing, an over charged driving while suspended and let them fix it downtown in the Circuit Court.  They can dismiss and recharge or file the correct charge.  Get the case into a courtroom where you have a judge that you feel will treat your client the fairest.  You do not represent the judge, and you try to please them, but you have to do your constitutional duty for your client.  The police have to learn to do it correctly. When they do, you may be stuck, but until then, don't roll over.  

Contested Judicial Elections

I do not use my Blog as a political forum except as to laws the General Assembly has or needs to pass.  Today, a lawyer blogger (Page Croyder) filed to run for Circuit Court in Baltimore City because she believes one of the male judges up for re-election is "horrible" and sexist.  There will be 7 present judges running for re-election.  The ballot is printed alphabetically.  The "horrible" male judge is number 4 on the ballot.  The blogger will be either number 3 or 4.  NO ONE except lawyers knows a damn thing about the judges.  ZERO!!!  Every election I get calls from every non lawyer I know asking me who to vote for.  I have campaigned for years and you get a few seconds at the polls to try to explain why to retain the Sitting Judges.  When there are 3 or 4 running, it is still difficult to point out the challenger even when the ballot has these few names.  You can explain some of the backgrounds of the 3 or 4 Sitting Judges.  Now there will be 8 names, and the voter will have a little more difficult time, skipping over one name in the middle of an election ballot.  The last named judge (Julie Rubin), who I have never met nor appeared before, is already beloved.  She is off the chain brilliant and runs a wonderful courtroom.  I know her dad, who is a fine lawyer, and the acorn did not fall far from the tree.  The "horrible" judge is a mortal lock to be re-elected.  There is no way he loses because of ballot position.  The end result is that a female judge who is already thought of as one of the best judges in Baltimore City will be off the bench.  Insane!  Judge Rubin can do more to restore to the court whatever dignity Page thinks is lost by the presence of the male judge, than Page will ever be able to do.  People have tried in the past to run against 1 judge, and it never, never, works.  The last on the ballot gets defeated, and Page knows this.  This is a train wreck in the making, and I just felt the need to say something publicly, in addition to expressing this on the private Maryland Criminal Defense Attorneys' list serve.  If you live in Baltimore City, make sure you make a note to vote for Julie Rubin and not Page Croyder.

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Contact Information

  • Gary S. Bernstein, P.A.
  • 29 W. Susquehanna Avenue, Suite 700
  • Towson, Maryland 21204
  • Toll Free: 866-435-2795
  • Locally: 410-415-9219
  • Fax: 410-823-0610

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