From the overturning of Roe v. Wade to the striking down of New York’s concealed carry laws, it has been a busy month for legal news. Let’s take a look at a few smaller stories you might have missed along the way:
The Scent of Reasonable Suspicion
The Court of Appeals of Maryland has ruled the police may stop and question anyone they think smells of marijuana. In its 4-3 decision, the Court stated, “The drug’s aroma provides police with ‘reasonable suspicion’ …permitting the officers to conduct a brief ‘investigatory’ stop.”
The decision does not give the police carte blanche to detain or search citizens, though. Since the possession of fewer than 10 grams of marijuana is no longer a criminal offense In the state of Maryland, officers must quickly end their stop if they do not obtain information that gives them probable cause to believe the individual possesses more than 10 grams of pot or has committed a different crime.
If you ever find yourself the victim of one of these questionable stops, remember you are under no obligation to answer any of the officer’s questions.
Police Accountability in Baltimore?
Baltimore City Council has established a police accountability board. The administration believes the move will help to restore trust between the local community and the Baltimore Police Department.
The 17-member board’s primary duties will be reviewing police complaints and recommending discipline for officers who are accused of misconduct. Appointments to the board are subject to the approval of the mayor.
Will the creation of this board really improve police accountability and reduce misconduct? Only time will tell.
Relaxing the Rules
In a recent blog, I questioned the constitutionality of Maryland’s gun laws. It seems someone in the Governor’s Office has taken notice!
Last week, Gov. Larry Hogan ordered his administration to ease the state’s rules for carrying a concealed handgun. Specifically, he asked them to alter the section of the licensing regulations that requires residents to show “a good and substantial reason” for seeking a permit.
Marylanders will now be able to obtain a concealed carry permit for any (or no) reason.
If you were recently charged with a firearms offense in the state of Maryland, please do not hesitate to call Shapiro Zwanetz & Lake at (410) 927-5137. Our experienced defense lawyers are ready to help you fight for your freedom!