The Howard County Police Department announced this week that it has unveiled a smartphone app called "iWatch." The technology allows Maryland residents to send the police department crime tips through a number of means: text, photo, email and even video.
Today, the U.S. Supreme Court is deciding whether to hear a case that asks if authorities have the right to take DNA samples from people accused of serious crimes or whether it infringes defendants' Fourth Amendment rights.
When you are charged with a crime, it can be tempting to delete information connected with the crime, make up new stories and create evidence for those stories, or change the information available to make yourself look better to a jury or judge. Yet, if you are considering doing any of this in your case, think again. Falsifying court records is a separate crime that can increase your penalties and lead to a "guilty" verdict.
Even though our state has classified "hazing" as a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail, a $500 fine or both -- you can be certain that hazing rituals still take place at the University of Maryland and other colleges in the Silver Spring area. In the vast majority of cases, no one is seriously injured, no one dies and no one is charged with a violent crime. In the stories that make the news, however, serious injuries and deaths are almost always involved.
The criminal justice system is based on the idea that a suspect is presumed innocent until proven guilty. In order to avoid unduly punishing someone who awaits a trial, courts are required to provide a speedy trial; they are not allowed to make someone languish in a jail or prison cell for long periods of time before a trial. While someone accused of a violent crime may expect to spend some time in a cell while he or she awaits trial, recent budget cuts to the criminal justice system is forcing many suspects to spend unreasonably long periods of time behind bars before they even get to trial.