Presentation on theme: "Maryland Judiciary. Separation of Power Executive Legislative Judicial."— Presentation transcript:
Separation of Power Executive Legislative Judicial
Circuit Court Jury District Court No jury Court of Appeals Court of Special Appeals
Imagine yourself in this simple situation. You walk out of your classroom and see a 19 year old student writing with a pencil on the wall.
There is a bomb
There is a
The teacher notes that: the student is wearing an armband the student drops a roach What are the rights of the student? What are the rights of the school?
You call the principal and explain what you saw. This sounds like a simple case, but well see what happens.
The principal takes a picture of the writing on the wall, brings the student to his office and calls the students parents and the police. Principal takes no further action. Police interview student; read student Miranda warning; student admits to writing on wall. Charges are filed.
Charging Statute Felony: to threaten to explode a destructive device Misdemeanor: willfully disturb or otherwise willfully prevent the orderly conduct of the activities, administration, or classes of any institution of elementary, secondary, or higher education.
Arrested District Court Commissioner Circuit Court Jury District Court No jury Court of Appeals Court of Special Appeals
Judicial officers, appointed by the Chief Judge Available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year Independent judicial officers Commissioners have two primary responsibilities: Reviewing Applications for Statement of Charges to determine whether probable cause exists to issue charging documents; and Conducting initial appearance hearings on arrested individuals to decide the conditions of pre-trial release District Court Commissioners
Chief Judge 34 Court locations 1600 employees, including – 112 Judges, 10 year appointment – 254 Commissioners 12 Administrative Judges, Commissioners, and Clerks Headquarters – Chief Clerk, 4 Assistant Chief Clerks THE FACE OF DISTRICT COURT
Where most people experience the judicial system Pro se litigants No jury trials… litigants interact directly with judge District Court
A wide variety of cases come to this court. Motor vehicle and boating violations Small Claims Civil lawsuits up to a certain $ amount Misdemeanors and felonies Landlord and tenant disputes Domestic Violence, and Peace Orders Specialized courts District Court
Case Filings by Type District Court CASES LT 531,384 CIVIL 206,272 CRIMINAL 201,779 TRAFFIC 1,389,518 2,328,953
Baltimore County 1971 Magistrate located in a used car dealership and repair shop District Court--- then and now
Budget Operational: $125,000,000 Capital: Rockville, Centerville, Cumberland, La Plata, Catonsville, Baltimore City Judicial independence Judicial salaries (NY) Facilities/operations
Evidence Police officers statement that student admitted to writing There is a bomb. Teachers eyewitness testimony that he/she saw student write on the wall Criminal case Beyond reasonable doubt.
When a case is appealed, it moves to circuit court, where the case is retried. District Court Appeals
The face of Circuit Court 24 locations; one in each county, one in Baltimore City Funded by city or county Handles approximately 300,000 case per year 146 judges, appointed & must run in special election Chair of judicial conference
Circuit Court Handles Major civil cases Serious criminal cases All juvenile & family cases Hears all jury cases and Appeals from District Court De Novo Jury trial Beyond reasonable doubt Specialized courts
The court finds the student guilty of breaking the Maryland law that makes it a misdemeanor to: willfully disturb or otherwise willfully prevent the orderly conduct of the activities, administration, or classes of any institution of elementary, secondary, or higher education. What do you think? Circuit Court
The boy and his lawyer dont think so and decide to appeal his case to the Court of Special Appeals. The basis of the appeal was a legal argument that the incident did not fall within the statute, because there was no evidence of any actual disturbance or disruption of school activities… Court of Special Appeals
The face of Court of Special Appeals Intermediate appellate court Handles any reviewable judgments 13 judges, but generally hears cases in panels of 3 10 year appointment; retention elections
Court of Special Appeals Standard of Review Abuse of Discretion – evidentiary issues De Novo--- legal interpretation
Statutory Interpretation Plain meaning of words Legislative intent Legislative record Newspaper commentator Court of Special Appeals
When do you have Judicial activism? Ignoring the law Enacting law from bench Interpretation
In this case, the Court of Special Appeals agrees with the boy saying that the boys action did not constitute a disturbance or the prevention of orderly activities in the school. Essentially the court says that the boy simply wrote on the wall. What do you think? Court of Special Appeals
The States attorney and the school disagree with the Court of Special Appeals and decide to take the case to the highest court in the state, the Court of Appeals. Court of Appeals
The face of Court of Appeals Chief judge Highest court Hears cases by way of certiorari 7 judges Hears oral arguments Legislative intent
The Court of Appeals upholds the decision of the Court of Special Appeals. Statutory interpretation Legislative intent--- newspaper articles Court of Appeals
Case reversed. Court of Appeals rejects the states argument. It states: there is a level of disturbance that is simply part of the school activity, that is intended to be dealt within the context of school administration … The only sensible reading of the statute is that …there must not only be an actual disturbance, but the disturbance must be more than a minimal one.
What do you think? Maryland Appellate Court Opinions may be found at District Court website: