January 2010 Archives

On January 19, 2010 while on patrol on westbound I-70, east of Maryland Route 85 in Frederick County, Maryland, a state trooper saw two people in a Nissan Maxima who were not wearing their seat belts. The officer stopped the car and smelled marijuana. Even though the original stop was just for a seat belt violation, under these circumstances the law allows the officer to search the driver and the passenger for suspected drugs. This is called a search incident to arrest. A search of the passenger uncovered marijuana in his pocket. Next the officer arrested the passenger and then had the right to search the car. A search of the car revealed two pounds of marijuana in two zip lock bags inside a duffle bag. Wear your seat belts.

If you, a family member, or someone you know has been charged with a crime or if you would like more information on car accidents, please contact Portner & Shure.

Violation of Probation: Beware

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Defendants are often released from jail, or given suspended jail time and placed on probation to the Court. When they are given the terms of the probation, they are instructed if they violate any of those terms they may receive all the underlying jail time. The penalties for a violation often depend on how the judge who did the underlying sentence views a violation. Many judges automatically impose the underlying jail time because they view probation itself as a second chance.

An example of a harsh sentence for a violation is reflected in a recent case rendered by Judge Tisdale in the Circuit Court of Frederick County. In 2006, Colin Johnson stabbed his girlfriend. He was found guilty of first degree assault and sentenced to serve 5 years of a 20 year sentence. After being released, the defendant sent a text message to the victim. The text was not threatening or inflammatory. In fact, it read "sorry about all this. Call me when you get a chance." The victim and the defendant had a child together. Nevertheless, the Court imposed the entire fifteen years for the violation.

If you, a family member, or someone you know has been accused of violating probation or if you would like more information on car accidents, please contact the Maryland attorneys at Portner & Shure

A Look at Mianda

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The Maryland Court of Appeals recently took a look at what is an interrogation for purposes of a suspects right to a Miranda warning. The law in this area states that if a person is being held for an interrogation he must be read his Miranda rights.

In Prioleau vs. State, CA No. 40 Sept. Term 2008, the Court held that a police officer did not violate a suspect's Miranda rights by asking him "what's up". Specifically, the Court held that it was not reasonable to expect the words "what's up" to elicit an incriminating response. As a result, it was not necessary to read the defendant his Miranda rights.