Gary S. Bernstein, P.A.

Call Toll-Free: 866-435-2795

Locally at: 410-415-9219

Category: Criminal Defense

Update On Dumbest Case Ever

15 minute not guilty verdict of felony and gun and PBJ for possession of marihuana, after a day and half in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City.  Juror number 5 walks out after the verdict and gives my client a thumbs up!.  First alternate gives my client  her juror's notes when she is excused where she wrote,  "the gun charge is a joke," "guilty of possession."  I have worn people out complaining about this case.  Over 2 years ago a self-medicating guy gets busted for growing pot.  The police stumble on it because they have a warrant for his idiot former roommate who did not show up on traffic court.  He has 43 plants in different stages BUT NOT ONE with a smokeable bud.  All stalks and leaves, and the police Sgt. stated you do not smoke the leaves.

Inexplicably, the State decides not to pursue a manufacturing charge, but instead pursues a possession with intent to distribute marihuana.  Now when the case originated, I thought it was a PBJ for Manufacturing.  Because he had a shotgun he had just bought for skeet shooting and it was mounted on the wall, the prosecutor says he needs permission from his supervisor to drop the gun charge, DRUG TRAFFICKING WITH A FIREARM- MANDATORY WITHOUT PAROLE. During one of the 12 postponements the trial judge we had today told the prosecutor to talk to someone because my client was not a jail guy.  Apparently the then Deputy State's Attorney, George Hazel, who has someone secured a lifetime appointment to the federal bench, could only be reached by email (by his own prosecutors), and after a thorough review decided my client could plead to the felony alone and take 2 years in jail.  The now federal judge did not realize they were pursuing the wrong charge!  I had pointed out there was not a baggie or scale recovered in the house, and I was met by a "he must have run out, before the matter was forwarded to the now judge."  I also provided them with the receipt for the shotgun.  It was for skeet shooting, and self defense if they were burglarized again, since the police blew them off the last time and refused to investigate.  That never happened when I was a prosecutor, but the city police department today is a disgrace.

The police Sgt. testifies that there was not one piece of evidence showing that a my client distributed this marihuana.  Not a $5.00 baggie, not a $10.00 baggie.  NADA.  He did however have a kazillion smoking devices and baggies with residue of what my client had bought and smoked.  This big time dealer slept on an air mattress that I had the Sgt. say was not filled with cash, had no jewelry, not even a watch.  Bail $150,000.00, which is why we have such a problem in Baltimore City.  The Sgt. then told the jury there was no smokeable weed on the 43 plants.  My client testifies that there would have been buds in October or November- 7 months after the arrest!  He admitted everyone in the house smoked weed, and that he had shared his "product" in the past.  The State's theory was that WHEN (I countered with IF) the plants produced buds, he would have shared it, and therefore he was guilty of the felony!  Since the gun was nearby he was guilty of that too.  My client had been growing weed for 17 months and the gun was bought 40 days before the arrest.  It never had anything to do with the weed, because NOBODY KNEW he was growing it.  The Sgt. had been in that area investigating drug traffic for 2 years and never heard of my guy.  

Of the 400 cases they can try in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, this is one of them.  People charged with violent offenses go free because witnesses disappear while we try a guy who might share marihuana with his roommates.  For those non-growers, there are male and female plants. You throw away the males.  You could not tell the gender at the time of the arrest.  The State had no idea and no one to say that you could get any shareable marihuana out of these plants.  Why, because you don't have a f…… clue until they start to produce male and female growth, and then you keep the females  My client was the expert and explained it completely to the jury.  If they keep their notes and want to, they know how to grow marihuana.  

My client is employed, and as I told the prosecutor 2 years ago, and then he remarked to the jury today my client had a job making more money than the prosecutor.  This was insane.  I have no satisfaction winning this case because I would have turned in my law license if I lost.  Why it took them longer than 5 minutes is beyond me.  I questioned whether I should even mention the name of a federal judge because I am sure the Marshalls, etc,, monitor every mention made of a federal judge.  I hope they do, because he should see his "product."  He is in Greenbelt and I never go there, so he will never have to recuse himself if he reads this.  Meanwhile someone charged with a violent crime gets postponed for 2 months and waits for his day in court, and the witnesses live in fear another day.  

Another fine job by the consigliores of the Gregg Bernstein run State's Attorney's Office.  Now that his Deputy who made the decision here is gone, hopefully he is finished on June 24th when the primary election is over.     


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.  

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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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