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Archive for the ‘Maryland Law’ Category

Ask A Lawyer In The Library: Wednesday Wrap-Up

Posted by johnjeffreyross on August 2, 2017

The Ask A Lawyer In The Library program is a civil, non-family law, self-help program sponsored by The Anne Arundel Bar Association and the Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service.  Every Wednesday, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., you can talk with a volunteer attorney for up to 20 minutes.  No appointment is necessary, but sign-up is required at the law library’s information desk.  Sign-up begins at 10:45 a.m., and time slots are determined by a lottery.

On Wednesday, August 2, 2017, the Law Library hosted another successful Ask A Lawyer In The Library program.  Mike Ragland and Jack Paltell, both retired, were on hand to assist five people who requested help with issues such as filing a civil action for fraud, drafting and execution of a deed pursuant to a divorce decree, a real-property issue, a lien on property and foreclosure procedure.jack-and-mike

The next program date is Wednesday, August 9, 2017. In addition, the Ask A Lawyer In the Library program is also hosted at two Anne Arundel County Public Library branches: the Glen Burnie Regional Library on the 3rd Wednesday of the month (from August until May), and the Eastport-Annapolis Neck Community Library on the last Tuesday of every month. The programs at these public library branches are held from 4:30 to 6:30. Sign-up at both locations is at 4:15 p.m., and time slots are determined by lottery.

More information about the program is available at http://circuitcourt.org/legal-help/lawyer-in-the-library.  The Ask A Lawyer In The Law Library program is a limited legal advice service.  The program is not a substitute for representation.

Do you have a family law matter?  Family Law matters are best addressed by the Family Law  Self-Help Center which is located in the back of the Law Library.  For more information: http://www.circuitcourt.org/legal-help/family-law

Do you have a criminal case?  The Office of the Public Defender provides legal services to eligible individuals.  Information about the Office fo the Public Defender is available at http://www.opd.state.md.us

Need help with the District Court matter such as landlord/tenant, small claims (less than $5,000), consumer matters, or return of property (replevin and detinue)?  The District Court Self-Help Resource Center provides limited legal services for people who are not represented by an attorney.  Services are provided in-person in Glen Burnie, Upper Marlboro and Salisbury. More information is available at http://www.courts.state.md.us/legalhelp/districtselfhelpctr.html

Help with family and civil questions is available by phone and online chat from the Maryland Courts Self Help Center, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 8:00 p.m.  More information and a link for chat can be found here: http://www.mdcourts.gov/selfhelp/index.html#maryland

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New Laws in Effect on July 1, 2017 in Maryland

Posted by Joan Bellistri on June 30, 2017

Many of the laws passed in the 2017 session of the Maryland General Assembly go into effect on Saturday, July 1.  According to the  Department of Legislative Services General Assembly of Maryland Dates of Interest 2017 most laws will go into effect on October 1 but the bills that  are budgetary, tax, and revenue bills will go into effect on July 1.

Maryland public libraries are happy that there will now be a Maryland State Law Library Agency beginning July 1, 2017.  HB1094/CH338 and SB587/CH337 will make the agency governing public libraries an independent agency rather than a division of the Department of Education.

Other state agencies got new names.  There is now a Health Department instead of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene per SB82/CH214.  HB103/CH205 renames the Department of Human Resources to be the Department of Human Services; and the Child Support Enforcement Administration will become the Child Support Administration.

An article in the Baltimore Sun, “Laws to take effect on Sat.”  also provides a good overview.  Articles in the Capital and U.S. News & World Reports cover the same list of bills.  The list includes Planned Parenthood funding (HB1083/CH28 and SB1081/CH810) and the Taxpayer Protection Act (SB304/CH379).

For a full listing of laws in effect on July 1, please see the “2017 Chapters – Effective July 1, 2017” published by The Department of Legislative Services. “The 90 Day Report,” also published by the Department, provides a review of all legislation passed in 2017.

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What’s new…

Posted by Joan Bellistri on June 28, 2017

The following titles have been recently shelved.  Come and check them out.

ADR Collection – Purchased with funds from the Maryland Judiciary’s Mediation Conflict Resolution Office.

Children come first : mediation, not litigation when marriage ends / Howard H. Irving.  (ADR HQ814 I788)

Families change : a book for children experiencing termination of parental rights / by Julie Nelson ; illustrated by Mary Gallagher.   (ADR HV881 .N43 2007)

Mediation preparation : how to prepare for mediation / by Joe B. Hewitt. (ADR HM1126 .H4 2015)

Self-help preparation for Family Court Services (FCS), child custody mediation, child custody evaluations / Dr. Miguel Alvarez and Dr. Lori Love.   (ADR KF547.A9 A4 2009)

Maryland Titles

Using and drafting trusts in estate planning / [John P. Edgar [and others].  (KFM1340.A75 M38 2016)

Will drafting in Maryland / Danielle M. Cruttenden … [and 4 others].  (KFM1344 .W68 2017)

Maryland construction law deskbook, second edition / Joseph C. Kovars, editor ; Michael A. Schollaert, editor ; Construction Law Section, Maryland State Bar Association.  (KFM1355.8.B8 M42 2017)

Workers’ compensation manual / Theodore B. Cornblatt. (KFM1542.A62 W67 2015)

2011 Civil practice & procedure in the District Court of Maryland. (KFM1730 .C58 2010)

General U.S.

Environmental law / by William H. Rodgers, Jr., et al. (KF3775 .R59 2016)


Cataloging legal literature / Melody Busse Lembke, Melissa Beck.  (LIB REF Z695.1.L3 E65 2016)

Data visualizations and infographics / Sarah K. C. Mauldin.  (LIB REF Z678.93.G73 M38 2015)

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Maryland Libraries and 2017 Maryland Legislative Session

Posted by Joan Bellistri on April 11, 2017

The Maryland Legislative Session ended at midnight last night and Maryland librarians can be happy with the outcome. There were two bills in the 2017 Legislative Session of special interest to libraries.  Both bills passed both houses unanimously and are on the way to becoming law.

Maryland Libraries – Reorganization of Governance Structure  (SB587/HB1094)

Under the current or soon to be previous law, libraries were a part of the Maryland Department of Education with K through 12.  Now there will be a separate, independent agency on the same level as the Department of Education and the Department of Higher Education.  Maryland will now have a State Library Agency headed by the State Librarian with a State Library Board made up of citizens appointed by the Governor. This way there will be an agency devoted solely to the issues of libraries that will ensure that funding intended for libraries is used for libraries.

UELMA (SB137/HB165)

The LLAM (Law Library Association of Maryland) information sheet states: The Maryland Uniform Electronic Legal Materials Act (UELMA) provides online legal material with the same level of trustworthiness traditionally provided by publication in a law book. It is the People’s insurance policy that official electronic legal materials are  authenticated, by providing a method to determine that it is unaltered;  preserved, either in electronic or print form; and accessible, for use by the public on a permanent basis.  This means that if a publisher of Maryland legal material such as the code, regulations or case law would cease to be published in print, the publication would become official and would have to be authenticated, preserved and accessible.  As long as the print exists, the provisions will not be activated.  However, if and when the time comes, Maryland is ready to make sure that this important information is still available.


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New Maryland rule addresses standards for pre-trial release (cash bail)

Posted by Joan Bellistri on February 23, 2017

The rules order for the 192nd Report  of the Court’s Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure dated 2/16/2017 recommended the adoption of proposed new Rule 4-216.1 and amendments to current Rules 4-212, 4-213, 4-213.1, 4- 214, 4-215, 4-216, 4-216.1, 4-216.2, 4-217, 4-349, 5-101, and 15-303 and Form 4-217.2 of the Maryland Rules of Procedure. The new rules and amendments are effective July 1, 2017.

Rule 4-216.1 “is designed to promote the release of defendants on their own recognizance or, when necessary, unsecured bond.”

You can find rules orders here: http://mdcourts.gov/rules/ruleschanges.html

An article published in the Baltimore Sun on 2/7/2016, “Maryland Court of Appeals: Defendants can’t be held in jail because they can’t afford bail,” provides a discussion of the rule and the cash bail system.


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Keeping Current with Maryland Rules of Procedure

Posted by Joan Bellistri on October 12, 2016

The “Maryland Rules”  regulate the practice, procedure, and judicial administration of Maryland courts. These Rules are based on the recommendations of the Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure Rules and adopted by the Maryland Court of Appeals.

The most recent Rules Order is dated June 6, 2016 and was effective July 1, 2016 and is the implementation of the 178th Report. Among other changes, this rules order involves a major reorganization of the titles in the rules dealing with Court Administration; Judges and Judicial Appointees; and Attorneys. A printout of the 178th Report can be found in the law library shelved with the Maryland Code and Rules.  It consists of 553 pages!  The full text of the new rules can also be found in Maryland Advance Reports, September 2, 2016,  #36.

The Maryland Rules of Procedure are available in a number of formats from different publishers. It is important to note that even though the most recent Rules Order is dated June 6, 2016 not all of these formats reflect those changes. Basically, the online versions and one print version are current:


  • Lexis rules online (lexis.com and free  reflects the 178th Report Rules Order of 6/6/2016
  • Westlaw rules online (WestlawNext and free reflects the 178th Report Rules Order of 6/16/2016
  • Maryland Advance Reports, September 2, 2016,  #36 contains the text of the rules affected by the June 6, 2016 Rules Order.
  • West Maryland Rules of Court (print) with supplement reflects the 178th Report Rules Order of 6/6/2016


  • Maryland Rules (print) published by LexisNexis are current only through  4/4/2016
  • Annotated Code of  Maryland Rules (print) are current only through 2/1/2016

To make sure the rules you are using are current, it is a good idea to  check the postings on the webpage of the Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure Rules at Mdcourts.gov and compare with the “current as of” information in whichever version you are using.

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New Maryland Laws in Effect Today, October 1, 2016

Posted by Joan Bellistri on October 1, 2016

The 2016 supplement to the Maryland Code has arrived in the law library reflecting the more than 300 laws that will go into effect today. “Noah’s Law”  or the Drunk Driving Reduction Act of 2016 is mentioned in most news stories on the new laws. “Noah’s Law”(SB945/CH512) requires “the Motor Vehicle Administration to require a person who is convicted of specified offenses relating to driving under the influence of alcohol to participate in the Ignition Interlock System Program for specified periods of time….” Now the first offense rather than the second will require use of the device.

The Justice Reinvestment Act (SB1005/CH515) creates the Justice Reinvestment Oversight Board and makes changes that relate to sentencing, criminal penalties, and inmate rehabilitation. One of the many changes pertains to expungement. New code section 10-110 of the Criminal Procedure Article will allow for the expungement of certain misdemeanors after 10 years. However, this and most of the provisions will not take effect until next October 1, 2017.

SB771/CH579 puts restrictions on certain consumer debt collection actions including  “that certain actions may not revive or extend a certain statute of limitation and  prohibiting a debt buyer or a certain collector from initiating a certain consumer debt collection action unless the debt buyer or the collector possesses certain documents.”

The provision that there be corroborating witness in a divorce action as states in section 7-101 of the Family Law Article was removed per SB359/CH379 and HB274/CH380.  The disability of a parent in a child custody action was addressed by SB765/CH423. It states that “in any custody or visitation proceeding, the disability of a party is relevant only to the extent that the court finds, based on evidence in the record, that the disability affects the best interest of the child; requiring in a specified custody or visitation proceeding, the party alleging that the disability of the other party affects the best interest of the child to bear a specified burden of proof…”

For a detailed summary of the laws passed by the 2016 session see the 90 Day Report:  A Review of the 2016 Session prepared by the Department of Legislative Services or check out the article in the Baltimore Sun today, “New Maryland laws go into effect today.”




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The Maryland General Assembly is in Session!

Posted by Chi Song on January 13, 2016

The Maryland General Assembly reconvenes today at 12:00 p.m. As Maryland’s legislative body, the General Assembly’s 47 Senators and 141 Delegates represent Maryland’s 47 districts.

Do you know who represents you? If not, check out these resources.

  • Legislator List – This page lists legislators by name and includes links to each legislator’s individual page on the General Assembly’s website. In addition, if you click on the “Who represents me?” link, you can find your elected officials based on your address.
  • You can also view your legislators by district or by county.
  • You can find information about the Senate’s Leadership and Officers as well as the address roster for current Senate members here.
  • Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr., is the President of the Senate, and Michael E. Busch is the Speaker of the House of Delegates.

Do you want to learn more about the General Assembly and this year’s legislative session? Then check out their website at mgaleg.maryland.gov! Here are some highlights, but check out their website as it has a wealth of information.

There is a lot of information available on the website, which may be difficult for new users to navigate. For assistance, check out these video tutorials to help you navigate the General Assembly’s website, including how to find bill testimony, how to find budget testimony, how to contact committees, and how to view or listen to current proceedings.

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The 2016 Edition of Michie’s Maryland Court Rules is available!

Posted by Chi Song on January 8, 2016

The 2016 Edition of Michie’s Maryland Court Rules is available at the Law Library!  The 2016 edition includes amendments adopted through October 20, 2015 and supersedes and replaces all previous editions and supplements.  The Maryland Rules are the rules of practice and procedure followed by Maryland courts and apply to all Maryland courts, unless noted otherwise.  Michie’s Maryland Rules are annotated, meaning that there are explanatory notes and comments added to the rules by the publisher’s editorial staff. Annotation sources include Maryland case law, the Maryland Law Review, the University of Baltimore Law Review, the University of Baltimore Law Forum and Opinions of the Attorney General.

If you are new to the Maryland Rules, the People’s Law Library has an online video tutorial on reading the Maryland Rules through Westlaw, which is available at http://www.screencast.com/t/My0FU44NZbwL.

Can I access the rules online? Yes, the current Maryland Code and Rules (without annotations) are available online, free of charge, through LexisNexis and Westlaw.  In addition, you can access the Law Library’s online subscriptions to LexisNexis and WestlawNext in-person at the library.

What about the superseded Maryland rules? The Law Library maintains copies of the superseded Maryland Rules from 1980 to the present in its collection. If you need to reference the superseded Maryland Rules, please drop by the Law Library’s service desk, and we can assist you in locating the appropriate resources.

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Marital Settlement Agreement

Posted by Chi Song on November 12, 2015

Thanks to a change in Maryland law that went into effect last month, the Law Library has experienced a notable increase in the number of people requesting assistance with marital settlement agreements. The change in Maryland Law provides for an absolute divorce on the grounds of mutual consent if certain conditions are met. One of these conditions is the submission of a written settlement agreement that resolves all of the issues relating to alimony and the distribution of property.

What is a marital settlement agreement? A marital settlement agreement, also commonly referred to as a separation agreement or a property settlement agreement, is a written document that is a binding contract between a married couple in preparation for divorce, that they enter into voluntarily in order to address the division of their property, alimony and other relevant topics.

For background information, including negotiating and enforcing a marital settlement agreement, check out this article on the People’s Law Library.

Do you need to find a sample agreement? The Law Library can assist with you with locating samples that you can use as a starting point for drafting your marital settlement agreement. Please note, however, that the library cannot advise you as to what you should or should not include in your settlement agreement.

Do you need help with your marital settlement agreement? The Maryland Courts Self-Help Center (Phone: 410-260-1392) and the Family Law Self-Help Center (Phone: 410-280-5374) may be able to help. Please remember that the self-help centers can only provide limited legal assistance, so they may not be able to review your agreement in its entirety.

For more information, please contact the Law Library!

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