Duane “Shorty” Davis stood before the judges of the Maryland Court of Appeals, the highest court in the state, and told them he was an ex-felon. He was the one who left a toilet outside a courthouse in Towson, triggering a bomb scare, he reminded them. He’s had hostile encounters with the Baltimore Police Department, he recounted.
Tag: court of appeals
Assault weapons are not protected by the Second Amendment, a federal appeals court ruled yesterday in a case involving Maryland’s ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
After the Maryland Court of Appeals ruled that pit bulls and pit mixes are “inherently” — and by implication, uniquely — dangerous dogs, making owners and landlords strictly liable for these dogs, the Maryland General Assembly failed to reach a legislative solution in a special session. Now the state’s highest court is backpedaling on the ruling, slightly. So slightly, in fact, that it only underscores the court’s lack of understanding on the issue.
Maryland’s Court of Appeals recently ruled that collecting DNA from criminal suspects — suspects, mind you — after being charged violates their constitutional rights. And now it seems everyone — Gov. Martin O’Malley, as well as “police chiefs and prosecutors from the D.C. suburbs to Baltimore County” — is asking Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler to challenge the decision, and defend the brave new world that is the routine DNA harvesting of citizens not convicted of a crime.
Sure, it looks like it’s inevitable that one day we will trade in our social security cards for electronic tracking devices implanted in our skulls, but can we at least try to stem the tide a little bit? Do we really want to jump face first into a dystopian future?
Of course, proponents of DNA collection of criminal suspects argue that it helps detectives solve crimes, terrible crimes like rape or murder. But the challenge for law enforcement agencies has always been to track down criminals while not infringing on our constitutional rights. That’s not new. What’s new is the opportunistic collection of DNA.
Gov. Martin O’Malley likes to present himself as “tough on crime,” but perhaps “tough on privacy” would be more to the point.