Issues to Watch

Fighting for a Second Chance: Maryland to Hear Cases Claiming Unconstitutionality of State Parole System in Resentencing Juvenile “Lifers”


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Dominic DiMattia*

On October 19, 2017, the Maryland Court of Appeals granted three petitions for writs of certiorari in cases seeking to overturn life without parole sentences dealt to individuals for crimes they committed as juveniles.  Petitions for Writ of Certiorari: September Term, 2017, Md. Cts., http://www.courts.state.md.us/coappeals/petitions/201710petitions.html (last visited Jan. 18, 2018).  A recent line of United States Supreme Court cases decided within the last decade has forced states to retroactively provide new sentences to juvenile “lifers.” (more…)

Issues to Watch, Uncategorized

“Error: Website Inaccessible.”


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“Error: Website Inaccessible.”

Adrianne C. Blake*

When President George H. W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) into law in 1990, its purpose was to ban employment discrimination and to “eliminate[] unnecessary physical barriers to commercial and government buildings.”  Mark Pulliam, Is Your Company’s Website Accessible to the Disabled? You’d Better Hope So, L.A. Times (June 11, 2017, 4:00 AM), http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-pulliam-ada-websites-20170611-story.html.  The ADA was “the nation’s first comprehensive civil rights law addressing the needs of people with disabilities, prohibiting discrimination in employment, public services, public accommodations, and telecommunications.”   (more…)

Issues to Watch, Uncategorized

Protecting Domestic Violence Victims: Expanding the Court’s Interpretation of Grave Risk


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Protecting Domestic Violence Victims: Expanding the Court’s Interpretation of Grave Risk

                                                                                                                        Emily Schmidt*

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is a multilateral treaty that provides the procedure for returning children to their home countries following abduction out of the country.  Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction art. 1, Oct. 25, 1980, 1343 U.N.T.S. 98.  The intentions behind the drafting of the treaty were both to “secure the prompt return of children wrongfully removed to or retained” in any State that is a signatory, and to “ensure that rights of custody and of access under the law” in one State are recognized in other States.  Id.  In other words, the treaty promotes returning children to their homes and works to prevent venue shopping in custody cases.  In order to return a child to their home country, the left behind parent petitions for their return. (more…)

Issues to Watch

State Laws Legalizing and Decriminalizing Possession of Marijuana and Fourth Amendment Searches


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State Laws Legalizing and Decriminalizing Possession of Marijuana and Fourth Amendment Searches

                                                                                                                        Joseph Samuels*

Across the United States, states continue to either decriminalize or legalize possession of marijuana. Marijuana Overview, Nat’l Conf. St. Legislatures (Aug. 30, 2017), http://www.ncsl.org/research/civil-and-criminal-justice/marijuana-overview.aspx.  As more states change their position on the legality of marijuana, courts across the country must consider whether law enforcement officers have reasonable suspicion to conduct a search when either the officer or a police dog detects the odor of marijuana.   See, e.g., People v. McKnight, No. 16CA0050, 2017 WL 2981808, at *1 (Colo. App. July 13, 2017); Norman v. State, 156 A.3d 940, 943 (Md. 2017); Robinson v. State, 152 A.3d 661, 665 (Md. 2017); Commonwealth v. Overmyer, 11 N.E.3d 1054, 1055 (Mass. 2014). (more…)

Issues to Watch, Uncategorized

A New First Amendment Fight: Politicians Blocking Comments on Social Media


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A New First Amendment Fight: Politicians Blocking Comments on Social Media

Katrina Smith*

It is no surprise to hear about fights brewing on social media, but this time the fight is about the First Amendment implications of social media use by politicians and, instead of being online, it is in the courtroom.  Recently, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia decided a significant First Amendment case when ruling that the Chair of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors violated resident Brian Davison’s First Amendment rights.  Davison v. Loudoun Cty. Bd. of Supervisors, No. 1:16cv932 (JCC/IDD), 2017 WL 3158389, at *11 (E.D. Va. July 25, 2017), appeal docketed sub nom. Davison v. Randall, No. 17-2002 (4th Cir. Aug. 29, 2017). (more…)