After an auto accident, many of our clients are scared and confused by the overwhelming legal process. Clients come to us with worries of their case that arise from every angle. We always tell our clients that the most important step is recovery and treatment. Any stress or anxiousness with regard to their case can only hinder their ability to recover. The attorneys at Portner & Shure make sure that clients focus on their treatment while we, the professionals, take care to pursue every avenue for compensation.

 

While most attorneys rarely look beyond the obvious opponent, the other party to the accident, the attorneys at Portner & Shure take a closer look at accidents to ensure that every party is held responsible for the accident. Besides the other driver, we look to parties such as the automobile manufacturer who may have produced or assembled a faulty vehicle, the parts manufacturer who may have produced a faulty part used in the vehicle, and the government who may have failed to maintain or may have constructed a poorly designed road.

 

Recently, General Motors recalled 8.5 million vehicles due to ignition switch problems. These recalls came too late after 13 drivers and passengers had died due to these issues. Now, the CEO of the manufacturing company that produced the ignition switches claims that he holds no responsibility for the deaths. It is easy for auto accident attorneys to provide a cursory look and choose the easiest way to process your case in an assembly-line manner, but the attorneys at Portner & Shure take the extra step to closely examine all avenues of compensation so that you, the client, can recover from your injuries. 

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After a car accident, it is wise to call the police so that they can make a report of the accident. In the report, the officer will jot down information such as where the accident occurred, who was involved, witnesses that were present, the extent of the vehicle damage, the injuries sustained by the parties, and, sometimes, which party was at fault. This is very helpful when it comes time to determine liability later on, but what happens if the police report is incorrect? Or worse, what if the information on the report points to you as the one who is liable?

There are many ways in which one can handle a tricky police report, but it is wise to contact an experienced auto accident attorney to take care of the situation for you. When the police report is working against you, your case is beyond a cut-and-dry case and it is important to have a knowledgeable lawyer to assist the situation.

The first step in handling an incorrect police report is to make a request to have the report amended. This request would include a statement of facts of the pertinent details of the accident and your attorney would ask that your version of the incident be attached to the original report. It will be entirely up to the officer's discretion whether or not to include your version of events into the report, so it is essential that an attorney make the request for you. 

If the police report suggests that you are the party at fault, your attorney can take steps to defend you. Your lawyer can attack faults on the report like information that was taken from the other party or an unreliable witnesses. Another way to fight a police report is to attack the experience and training to analyze skid marks or vehicle positioning.

The attorneys at Portner & Shure are ranked amongst the best in Greenbelt, Maryland and around the DC Metro area. In fact, Jonathan Portner is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, has been featured in TIME magazine's 2013 Excellence in Law, and is a member of The National Top 100 Trial Lawyers organization. We strive to listen and communicate with our clients through our multilingual paralegals and provide the best legal services with our knowledgeable attorneys and legal team.

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"Operation Cross Country" by the FBI netted more than 280 arrests of pimps around the country, including four in Prince George's County.

Rebecca Wu, a spokesperson for the FBI, says local, state and federal law enforcement partners and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children took part in the week-long operation, which became the largest and most successful Operation Cross Country. The investigation included 106 cities.

FBI Director James B. Comey said this was the eighth time the FBI coordinated an operation against sex trafficking. The nationwide campaign targeted places ranging from casinos, to truck stops to pornography stores.

"Targeting and harming America's children through commercial sex trafficking is a heinous crime, with serious consequences," Comey said in a press release. "Every child deserves to be safe and sound. Through targeted measures like Operation Cross Country, we can end the cycle of victimization."

Two teen girls from the Washington D.C. metro area were rescued by the FBI, including a 16-year-old girl from D.C. found in a Rockville motel. More than 160 others were rescued nationwide. 

"One was returned to their parents and one was taken to social services for help," special agent in charge Steve Vogt said.

Four pimps were arrested in Prince George's County and another was found in Baltimore County. They will face federal charges.

 

Human Trafficking Laws in Maryland

Maryland law directly addresses sex trafficking, without the need to show force, fraud, or coercion, through Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 11-303 (Human trafficking). Under Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 11-303(a)(1), it is illegal for a person to knowingly

(i) take or cause another to be taken to any place for prostitution;
(ii) place, cause to be placed, or harbor another in any place for prostitution;
(iii) persuade, induce, entice, or encourage another to be taken to or placed in any place for prostitution;
(iv) receive consideration to procure for or place in a house of prostitution or elsewhere another with the intent of causing the other to engage in prostitution or assignation;
(v) engage in a device, scheme, or continuing course of conduct intended to cause another to believe that if the other did not take part in a sexually explicit performance, the other or a third person would suffer physical restraint or serious physical harm . . .
. . . .

 If the victim of the conduct described in Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 11-303(a)(1) is a minor, the defendant is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment up to 25 years, a fine not to exceed $15,000, or both. Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 11-303(b), (c)(2).

Pursuant to Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 11-303(e), "A person who knowingly benefits financially or by receiving anything of value from participation in a venture that includes an act described in subsection (a) or (b) of this section is subject to the same penalties that would apply if the person had violated that subsection." If the offense involves a minor, that person also will be guilty, without regard to the use of force, fraud, or coercion, of a felony punishable by imprisonment up to 25 years, a fine not to exceed $15,000 or both. Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 11-303(e)(1), (c)(2). 

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The FBI and the Metropolitan Police Department are looking for a suspect in connection with five separate bank robberies in the DC metro area.

According to a news release from the FBI, the man attempted to rob the Wells Fargo bank in the 3200 block of Pennsylvania Avenue SE around 12:30 p.m. Friday.

Later that day, he attempted to rob another Wells Fargo, this time in 1st Street NE. Minutes later, the FBI said he robbed a TD Bank in the 1200 block of 1st Street NE.

Officials say the same man is wanted in connection with a June 6 bank robbery, as well as an attempted bank robbery June 7. 

Authorities are offering a $5,000 award for information that leads to this man's arrest.

If you have any information about any of the robberies, please contact the FBI at 202-278-2000 or call the Metropolitan Police Department at 202-727-9099.

Maryland Robbery Laws

Maryland courts have adopted the common law definition of robbery. The common law defines robbery is, "the felonious taking and carrying away of the personal property of another from his person by the use of violence or by putting in fear." Under Maryland law, robbery is the taking of someone else's rightful property through force or through the threat of force. As a violent crime, robbery is prosecuted as a felony. The penalties for robbery in Maryland depend on the circumstances of the crime.

  • Robbery - taking the victim's money or property through force or threat of force; maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.
  • Armed Robbery - using a weapon (gun, knife, or other item that can be used as a weapon) to perpetrate a robbery; maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Even if you only claim to have a weapon in your possession, your conviction could result in up to 20 years. Yes, an empty threat of a gun is enough to elevate the sentence.
  • Carjacking - stealing a person's vehicle through means of force, threat of force, or weapon; maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.

A robbery conviction can lead to decades behind bars. Upon release, a convicted felon faces numerous restrictions, including prohibition from owning a firearm, lengthy probation, and limitation of employment and housing options. A felony conviction carries negative ramifications that can last a lifetime. 

You have rights and it is your attorney's job to help protect those rights throughout the criminal process. If you are charged with a robbery offense or carjacking, call the law offices of Portner & Shure today to discuss the details of your case and how we might be able to help. No criminal defense lawyer can guarantee results, but we can guarantee to fight tirelessly on your behalf. Our highly-experienced attorneys will be able to help you analyze your case and the evidence against you to determine what steps to take in mitigating the impact of the charges on your life.

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Jeffery Bolger, a 22-year veteran police officer in Baltimore City, was arrested Wednesday after allegedly slicing a restrained dog's throat and leaving it to die. A second Baltimore officer, 24-year veteran Thomas Schmidt, has been suspended while the department investigates his role in the slitting of a dog's throat, a 7-year-old shar-pei named Nala, while the animal's owner says it took her days to find out how the dog died.

Court documents say Officer Thomas Schmidt held the dog down while a fellow officer Jeffery Bolger slit the animal's throat on Saturday. Schmidt has been suspended with pay during the investigation, Baltimore Police spokesman Jeremy Silbert said. Bolger faces felony animal cruelty charges.

Maryland law treated all crimes against animals as misdemeanors until 2002, when the first felony statute went into effect. Aggravated cruelty to animals carries a potential sentence of up to three years and involves deliberate intent to harm an animal.

Despite the law change, many animal abuse cases are still pursued as misdemeanors. That means such cases tend to stay in District Court, even if more serious charges could have been brought to Circuit Court, where most felonies are handled.

In Maryland, Cruelty or Neglect of an Animal is defined as: "overdrive or overload an animal; deprive an animal of necessary sustenance; cause or procure such actions; if an animal is in a person's charge or custody they may not inflict unnecessary suffering or pain on the animal or unnecessarily fail to provide the animal with nutritious food in sufficient quantity, necessary veterinary care, proper drink, air, space, shelter, or protection from the weather."  This is a misdemeanor with a fine up to $1000 and/or imprisonment for up to 90 days. 

Aggravated Cruelty to Animals is defined as: "intentionally mutilate, torture, cruelly beat, or cruelly kill an animal; cause, procure, or authorize such action; or except in the case of self-defense, intentionally inflict bodily harm, permanent disability, or death on an animal owned or used by a law enforcement unit."  This is a felony which carries a fine of up to $5000 and/or imprisonment up to 3 years.  Exemptions are made for veterinary and husbandry practices, research; food processing, pest elimination, training, and hunting as long as the person uses the most humane method reasonably available; normal human activities in which pain to animals is incidental and unavoidable.

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District of Columbia Fire and EMS crews were called to the apartment building in the 2300 block of 24th Street SE around 9 a.m. Wednesday after a woman fell through a loose floor board. The woman has been transported to an area hospital in serious condition.

Under Maryland law, if a landlord fails to repair serious or dangerous defects in a rental unit, you have the right to pay your rent into an escrow account established at the local district court. The escrow account can only be set up by the court.

The law is very specific about the conditions under which rent may be placed in escrow. Rent escrow is not provided for defects that just make the apartment or home less attractive or comfortable, such as small cracks in the floors, walls or ceiling.

You must give the landlord proper notice and adequate time to make the repairs before you have the right to place rent in escrow. In order to withhold rent for conditions that constitute a threat to life, health or safety you must notify the landlord by providing actual notice or by certified mail, or the landlord must receive notice of the violations from an appropriate government agency such as the local housing department.

The landlord then has a reasonable amount of time after receipt of the notice in which to correct the conditions. If the landlord fails to do this, you may go to court to file a rent escrow action asking to pay the rent to the court.

The serious or dangerous conditions include, but are not limited to:

  • Lack of heat, light, electricity or water, unless you are responsible for the utilities and the utilities were shut off because you didn't pay the bill.
  • Lack of adequate sewage disposal; rodent infestation in two or more units.
  • Lead paint hazards that the landlord has failed to reduce.
  • The existence of any structural defect that presents a serious threat to your physical safety.
  • The existence of any condition that presents a serious fire or health hazard.

Besides rent escrow, a tenant can report the landlord to local authorities. Under a law that was passed by the Maryland General Assembly in 1986, every county in the state must adopt a housing code that meets minimum statewide standards. Some counties and Baltimore City already have comprehensive housing and building codes that are enforced by local authorities. The local authorities will investigate your complaints and, if the landlord is cited for violations, repairs will have to be made.

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A motorcyclist was killed when his motorcycle crashed with a car in Ellicott City, Maryland Howard County police said.

Police say an officer saw the motorcyclist speeding in the westbound lane on U.S. 40 around 11:15 a.m. Tuesday. Authorities say the officer tried to stop the vehicle, but stopped following it to avoid a high-speed pursuit.

Witnesses told police the driver sped through the red light at U.S. 40 and Normandy Drive and was running a red light at U.S. 40 and Rogers Avenue when he was struck by a 2001 Saturn sedan making a legal left turn on a green arrow from U.S. 40 onto Rogers Avenue.

The motorcyclist was pronounced dead at Howard County General Hospital. The driver of the car was taken to the hospital as a precaution but had no serious, physical injuries.

Motorcycle riders experience significantly higher rates of fatal injury as compared to motor vehicle occupants. In 2011, motorcycle riders were more than 30 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a motor vehicle traffic crash and 5 times more likely to be injured. Motorcyclist fatalities have decreased in Maryland over the past five years, but still account for 16% of all traffic fatalities. According to the CDC, after reinstating their universal helmet law, Maryland saw motorcycle deaths drop by 37%. Maryland ranks #5 in the nation for lives saved and economic costs saved due to helmet use.

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When a person has their head under water, they struggle against the force and will do anything to come up for air. For criminal defendants a plea deal can seem like they are gasping for air and the force they struggle against is their own attorney.

Attorneys are required to protect the rights of their clients, including the right to go to trial. Attorneys are required to listen to their clients and allow their clients to participate in their own defense. While an attorney can certainly advise their clients of the pitfalls of a trial and conviction, they must allow the voice of their clients to be heard and recognize their clients' choice to go to trial.

Very often attorneys meet their client, review the charging documents and then advise their client that they will plead the case out. That approach may infringe upon the rights of the accused. The criminal defendant has the absolutely right to stand trial. Certainly, an attorney should consider all factors such as a defendant's prior criminal record and the nature of the crime, and then advise their clients of the best course of action, including a plea deal, if appropriate.

Plea agreements are an invaluable asset in the criminal justice world. They can be used to scale back the amount of time in jail that a Defendant is facing, if convicted. However, a lawyer should also advise clients of their right to stand trial. Attorneys should review all of the evidence and discuss strategy with their clients before attempting to make plea agreements.

At Portner & Shure, P.A. our success with criminal cases is in reviewing all of the details, all of the evidence, and then making a decision as to whether our clients should stand trial, or consider a plea agreement. Portner & Shure counsels its clients on all options and the consequence of each option. More importantly, Portner & Shure allows our clients to be a part of the defense team and is not afraid to try a case.

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A 37-year-old Gaithersburg man is accused of ordering a $1,000 hit on his fourth ex-wife, Montgomery County Police say. Perhaps, the fact it was his fourth ex-wife was a clue in itself.

Detectives say they received information last Tuesday Ndokey P. Enow wanted to hire someone to kill his ex-wife. An undercover Montgomery County Police officer posing as a hitman met with Enow at Four Corners in Silver Spring several days later, offering his services to Enow for $1,000.

Enow then showed the "hitman" photos of his wife and where she lived. Just after the meeting concluded, Enow was arrested and charged with solicitation to commit first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder.

Enow confessed to the crime during police questioning. He is being held without bond.

The law in Maryland is that an attempted crime occurs when the defendant takes a substantial step, beyond mere preparation, toward the commission of the crime and that they intend to commit that crime. A defendant cannot be charged with both an attempt to commit a crime and the actual crime itself because by definition an attempt means that the person tried but was not successful in carrying out the criminal act. In Maryland, the maximum punishment for an attempt cannot exceed that of the punishment for the underlying offense.

Attempted murder in the first-degree is covered by Maryland Criminal Law Code § 2-205. According to this code, any individual who attempts to commit first-degree murder can be found guilty of a felony. The associated penalty is imprisonment of up to life.

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More than 290 million people visited a theme park in the U.S. in 2010, enjoying 1.7 billion rides. According to the National Safety Council's most recent survey of conditions at parks, 1,299 people were injured. That figure included injuries like twisted ankles and scraped knees

Roller coasters are sophisticated machines with thousands of coordinated moving parts, elaborate computer programs, and advanced safety features. Most roller coasters employ multiple layers of safety technology, such as:

  • Physical rider restraints such as lap bars, shoulder harnesses, and seat belts
  • Sensors to track each coaster's position in relation to the overall track layout
  • Multiple braking systems throughout the track
  • Redundant physical safety systems such as anti-rollback devices and pressurized brakes

Despite these sophisticated safety systems, accidents can happen on roller coasters. While technological failures do account for some of these mishaps, rider errors are also responsible for many problems. Some of the most common causes of injuries at theme parks include:

  • Mechanical failures (due to missing safety pins, broken welds, overstressed structural components, exposed wires, malfunctioning safety restraints and other examples of poor maintenance)
  • Operator error (carelessness, poor training, stopping rides too abruptly and failing to inspect the ride's condition regularly throughout the day are all examples of this)
  • Reckless behavior by other guests (park employees should be trained in how to respond when guests jeopardize the safety of others through reckless conduct)

Amusement park accident claims can involve several responsible parties, multiple insurers and a variety of complex legal issues. The highly-experienced attorneys at Portner & Shure work closely with engineering and safety experts to prove exactly how and why the amusement park accidents that injured our clients actually happened.

We manage our caseloads carefully to ensure that each individual or family we represent gets the personal attention, responsiveness and support they may need from us throughout the legal process -- including the help they need to resolve medical care and insurance-related issues. 

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