Author: University of Baltimore Law Review Staff

Issues to Watch

Has Canine Racism Reached the End of Its Leash?: The Impending End of Breed Specific Legislation


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*Raquel L. Flynn

In a time where pet ownership has become increasingly popular, more and more people are turning to shelters and rescue dogs to find their forever companion.  See, e.g., Zac Ezzone, Local Animal Shelters Reporting Higher Live-Release Rates Amid Montgomery County Investigation, Community Impact (Oct. 3, 2018, 8:00 AM), https://communityimpact.com/houston/lake-houston-humble-kingwood/city-county/2018/10/03/local-animals-shelters-reporting-higher-live-release-rates-amid-montgomery-county-investigation/.  However, with most of the adoptable dogs in shelters being “pit bull” mixes, potential dog owners are turned off from adopting those animals due to local laws.  Zach Barrett, Are Pit Bulls Man’s Best Friend or Too Dangerous?, St. Joseph News-Press (Feb. 4, 2018), http://www.newspressnow.com/news/local_news/are-pit-bulls-man-s-best-friend-or-too-dangerous/article_e4beaabd-9825-5635-86e3-fe3a4c1b9da5.html.  But, over the last few months, many counties have voted down, or even outlawed, breed specific legislation (BSL).  See, e.g., Dominic Trimboli, Michigan Senate Passes Bill Banning Breed-Specific Legislation, Ogemaw Herald (May 15, 2018, 9:30 AM), http://www.ogemawherald.com/stories/michigan-senate-passes-bill-banning-breed-specific-legislation,107012.  As more dog activists across the country are speaking up, BSL may become a thing of the past in many areas, including in local counties such as Prince George’s County, Maryland.  See id.; Andrea Swalec, DC-Area Pit Bulls Are in Special Need of ‘Forever Homes’ Amid Bans, NBC Wash. (Aug. 17, 2018, 7:01 PM), https://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Pit-Bulls-Are-in-Special-Need-of-Forever-Homes-Amid-Bans-491119241.html. (more…)

Issues to Watch

Does Memory Matter?  Implications of Dementia on the Imposition of the Death Penalty


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*Bridget Mentzer

I.  Vernon Madison’s Crime

In 1985, Vernon Madison was convicted of killing a Mobile, Alabama, police officer.  Matthew Vadum, Supreme Court Considers Whether Dementia Makes Death Penalty Cruel, Epoch Times (Oct. 3, 2018), https://www.theepochtimes.com/supreme-court-considers-whether-dementia-makes-death-penalty-cruel_2677601.html.  The officer was guarding Madison’s then-girlfriend following a domestic dispute, when Madison snuck up behind the officer and shot him twice in the head.  Id.  Madison was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death.  Id.  Madison and his attorneys filed many appeals in the following years, all unsuccessful.  Id.  Madison’s situation changed, however, in 2015 following a series of debilitating strokes.  Id.  These strokes left Madison with significant brain damage leading to long-term memory loss, as well as other chronic conditions that “have rendered him bewildered and confused most of the time.”  Transcript of Oral Argument at *3, Madison v. Alabama, 2018 WL 4746437 (Oct. 2, 2018) (No.17-7505); see also Vadum, supra. (more…)

Issues to Watch

It’s Time to Reform the Supreme Court, But How?


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*Andrew M. Harvey

During the past few months, there has been a highly contested debate regarding the Supreme Court.  Michael Klarman, Why Democrats Should Pack the Supreme Court, Take Care Blog (Oct. 15, 2018), https://takecareblog.com/blog/why-democrats-should-pack-the-supreme-court; Lee Drutman, It’s Time for Term Limits for Supreme Court Justices, Vox (June 27, 2018, 3:57 PM), https://www.vox.com/polyarchy/2018/6/27/17511030/supreme-court-term-limits-retirement.  It has been said that “democracy doesn’t matter” anymore, and the only true goal is “holding and accumulating power.”  Klarman, supra.  To combat this issue, individuals from both parties have introduced proposals for changing the current composition of the Supreme Court.  See generally Klarman, supra; Drutman, supra.  Two of the proposals that have received the most attention are judicial term limits and court-packing. (more…)

Issues to Watch

It’s Not as Easy as It Looks: Why the NCAA Refuses to Pay College Athletes What They Rightfully Deserve


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*Liam Edward Rhodes

I.  Plenty of Money to Go Around

To pay, or not to pay, that is the question.  Traditionally, the thought of paying college athletes additional compensation in addition to receiving free cost of attendance was vehemently criticized by those who wanted to protect amateurism and the integrity of college athletics.  Ivan Maisel, Paying Players Might Create Havoc, ESPN (July 15, 2011), http://www.espn.com/college-sports/story/_/id/6768571/legal-issues-arise-paying-student-athletes.  Receiving more than the already large price tag of up to $250,000 in tuition, room and board, school supplies, medical care, physical training, and various educational fees may seem excessive to the ordinary fan.  Id.  However, a mere $250,000, which is only the best-case scenario, pales in comparison to the amount of revenue many top college programs generate from athletics.  See NCAA Finances, USA Today, http://sports.usatoday.com/ncaa/finances/ (last visited Jan. 18, 2019). (more…)

Issues to Watch

A Long-Standing Double Jeopardy Exception Is in Jeopardy of Being Overruled by the Supreme Court


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*Emma J. Dorris

I.  INTRODUCTION

The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that “no person shall . . . be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb.”  U.S. Const. amend. V.  This constitutional protection, which prohibits the government from prosecuting individuals twice for the same crime, is known as the Double Jeopardy Clause.  See David Cole & Somil Trivedi, It’s Time to Close a Loophole in the Constitution’s Double Jeopardy Rule, aclu (Sept. 12, 2018, 11:30 AM), https://www.aclu.org/blog/criminal-law-reform/its-time-close-loophole-constitutions-double-jeopardy-rule.

However, almost one hundred years ago, in United States v. Lanza, the Supreme Court upheld the federal prosecution of defendants who had already been tried and convicted in state court for the same crime, holding that “an act denounced as a crime by both national and state sovereignties is an offense against the peace and dignity of both and may be punished by each.” United States v. Lanza, 260 U.S. 377, 382 (1922).  This has come to be known as the “separate sovereigns” exception and it “allows state and federal prosecutors to bring separate charges for the same alleged crime.”  Cole & Trivedi, supra.  The Supreme Court recently heard arguments on December 5, 2018, for Gamble v. United States, a case that directly challenges the separate sovereigns exception to the Double Jeopardy Clause.  Gamble v. United States, SCOTUSblog, http://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/gamble-v-united-states/ (last visited Jan. 18, 2019). (more…)