Tag: corruption

Assault Lands Remorseless Baltimore Cop in Jail

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baltimore cop to serve jail time for assault

After two years in which to consider his assault of a handcuffed drug suspect in October 2011, Officer Anthony Williams showed absolutely no sense of remorse at his sentencing. “I shouldn’t be in this situation; I did nothing wrong,” he said. “Would I change what I did that day? No.”

What did he do that day?

Corrupt Balto. Corrections Officer Says She “Ruined Her Life”

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jail-cell

Adrena Rice, a 25-year-old single mother, became the first corrections officer (out of 27!) involved in the Baltimore prison scandal to be sentenced, getting hit with three and a half years in federal prison, nearly the maximum recommended sentence.

According to WJZ, Rice admitted her guilt and voiced her remorse after being sentence, saying her involvement with incarcerated members of the Black Guerrilla Family gang — which included smuggling drugs and cellphones and even sleeping with three of them — ruined her life.

WaPo Blasts Md.’s Ridiculous Campaign Finance Rules

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Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown and state Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler
Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown and state Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler

The Washington Post‘s editorial board recently took aim at Maryland’s campaign finance rules as they pertain to the upcoming gubernatorial election. And I have to admit, it’s all pretty ridiculous.

So that special interest money doesn’t influence legislation — pardon me, to give the appearance that special interest money doesn’t influence legislation — Maryland has strict rules against state officials raising money while the legislature is in session.

So both state Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler and Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown will begin an imposed three-month fundraising hiatus on Jan. 8. But wait a second, Brown’s running mate, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman isn’t a state official. So he can continue to fundraise, right? How about we just say he can’t “coordinate” with Brown?

Can a Website Curb Maryland’s Political Corruption?

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Maryland-Code-Lightbox-copy

For all of Maryland’s virtues, the state has some major corruption issues. For one, Maryland received low marks for corruption prevention in a Corruption Risk Report Card last year (which include grades of “F’ in executive accountability, legislative accountability, and public access to information). Oh, and then there was expanded gambling and a notorious Congressional gerrymander, both of which were steamrolled into existence and disingenuously argued for. There’s also the illegal arrangement that state and local governments have with their speed camera operators. Oh yeah, there’s also the issue of accountability in the comic-book-worthy prison scandal.

There’s a non-profit that would like to help us with those issues. OpenGov Foundation, a self-described “scrappy little non-profit, non-partisan outfit working to open government,” has launched an open-data website on Maryland law. Marylandcode.org makes state codes and laws easily accessible. It’s also an Application Programming Interface, which means it’s set up to allow programmers to create free apps that use the information in various ways. 

“You Call This Prison?”

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Media outlets nationwide are looking with understandable disbelief at the Baltimore Prison Scandal.  Baltimore already suffers from an image as a crime-ridden cesspool of corruption, and the charges of inmates fathering babies with guards, expensive vodka delivery to gang leaders and more only makes matters worse.  As the below article posted this morning on The Daily Beast points out, details of the prison scandal would “strain the credulity of HBO.”   We have to agree. -The Eds.

(Published April 26 at 4:45 a.m. on The Daily Beast)

By David Freelander

To call Gary Maynard embattled doesn’t do full justice to the word.

Maryland Prison Chief Gary Maynard. Photo courtesy The Daily Beast.
Maryland Prison Chief Gary Maynard. Photo courtesy The Daily Beast.

The secretary of Maryland’s Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services watched this week as the agency he has run for the last six years turned into a national laughingstock after federal officials indicted 13 women who, as guards at the Baltimore City Detention Center, acted like little more than underlings for members of a dangerous prison gang, the Black Guerrilla Family. Four of the correctional officers became reportedly pregnant by the leader of the gang, and two of them had his name tattooed onto their bodies—one on her neck, the other on her wrist.

But in a nearly 90-minute conversation in his office, Maynard, whom state lawmakers have called on to step down, vigorously defended his tenure, saying that it was he who brought in federal investigators once it was revealed that the gang so controlled Baltimore’s jail.

Maryland and the Long, Hard Road to Government Transparency

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Opening of the State of Maryland legislature Annapolis, Md

Sure, Maryland was recently praised for the availability of information on its government websites, the state is generally regarded as opaque and susceptible to corruption. But that doesn’t mean the General Assembly isn’t taking baby steps toward transparency. In an article in Maryland Reporter, Len Lazarick lays out the state’s recent attempts at lifting the veil.

No Way: Maryland Gets High Marks for Government Transparency?!

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Maryland+State+House

This doesn’t seem right. Just ten months after a nonpartisan study ranked Maryland 40th among states in corruption prevention — citing “unchecked Democratic control, a revolving door between lobbyists and government officials, failure to correct audit findings, and limited data access across the board” — a new study has given Maryland a “B+” for transparency, putting us in a five-way tie for first place. 

In Baltimore County Even the Parking Lot Legislation “Lacks Transparency”

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Maryland is notorious for its propensity for corruption, so it seems only fitting that even Baltimore County’s new parking lot bill has been criticized for its lack of transparency.

Under the new measure, large shopping centers (upwards of 100,000 square feet) would be able to put in a request with the director of Baltimore County’s Department of Permits, Approvals, and Inspections to reduce the required size of their parking lot by up to 40 percent. The legislation would effectively eliminate the period of public comment that currently accompanies such requests, but why?

Speaking of Public Information… Annapolis Gets Slightly Less Opaque

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Currently, Maryland is one of a minority of states in which the occupations and employers of large contributors to political campaigns are not disclosed to the public. Thankfully, our otherwise flailing General Assembly managed to pass a bill to rectify the situation, requiring campaigns to collect that kind of information about anyone giving more than $500. If Gov. Martin O’Malley doesn’t veto it, it will go into effect June 1.

According to an article in The Baltimore Sun, the bill’s sponsors think a veto would be unlikely (and pretty audacious considering the measure passed 46-0 in the Senate, 89-45 in the House).

The bill is just one of several passed this legislative session that might help Maryland raise its corruption grade from a shameful D- to a disgraceful D, or maybe even a lackluster C-. Also awaiting a gubernatorial signature is a bill “requiring that the ethics disclosure forms filed by legislators and other high-ranking officials be made available online.” And coming up for referendum in November: a constitutional amendment that would boot from office elected officials immediately upon conviction of a crime.

So even if our budget falls to pieces, our legislators can’t compromise on a gaming bill, at least they’ve made government a little easier to keep an eye on.

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