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lawlibrary Maryland Law

Kinship Care Resources

“Informal kinship care” means a living arrangement in which a relative of a child, who is not in the care, custody, or guardianship of the local department of social services, provides for the care and custody of the child due to a serious family hardship. (Md. EDUCATION Code Ann. §4-122.1 and Md. HEALTH GENERAL Code Ann.  §20-105)

A new page on the topic of  kinship care has been added to the AACPLL Self Help and Pro Bono WIKI .  Here you will find links to Maryland code sections and COMAR as well as information provided by various agencies.  The forms and information sheet handout available in the Anne Arundel County Family Self Help Center are also included.

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lawlibrary Maryland Law

Maryland Sentencing Guidelines Revised

The most recent issue (Vol. 7, No. 1) of the Guidelines E-News published by the  Maryland State Commission on Criminal Sentencing Policy reports on the revised Guidelines Offense Table, Appendix A of the Maryland Sentencing Guidelines Manual.  The revisions contain two new offenses added to the table as a result of legislation from the 2011 Session regarding manslaughter and weapon crimes.  These offenses are in addition to the five offenses added in November.

The Maryland Sentencing Guidelines are also available in COMAR at 14.22.01 -.02.

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lawlibrary Maryland Law

Keeping Current with Maryland Rules of Procedure

Michie’s 2012 Maryland Rules of Procedure have just been published by LexisNexis.  These new volumes are current through November 7, 2011.  Supplements containing interim changes are usually published in June.  The West’s rules are published on a different schedule with the new editions published around March and the supplements around October. (The three volume annotated version was not supplemented last year.)

In the last few years we have seen many rules changes especially with those rules adopted in response to the foreclosure crisis.  The adoption of new rules has on occasion caused the printed volumes and even the online versions to become outdated.

How do you know if you are looking at the most current rules?  The easiest way is to check the webpage of the Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure for proposed rules and recent rules orders and compare the information with the currency date of the rules you are using.

LexisNexis publishes the Advance Court Rules Service to update the bound annual volumes and supplement.  A number of pamphlets are published throughout the year to update the annual volumes and the supplements. Proposed rules are also included.  However, being a printed source it may not be received in time. For example, Pamphlet #6 of 2011 was received on December 1, 2011 but contained rules that were effective November 1, 2011.

There are online sources for the rules as well. Lexis provides free, unannotated rules at www.michie.com. The Maryland Rules are also a database on the paid, password required, www.lexis.com. Still, it is important that you note when they were last updated for either source and compare that date with the most recent the date of the most recent Rules Order.  Each of the online Lexis provided rules have a statement at the beginning of the rule stating that the rules are current through a particular date.  You can also see the history of that rule by scrolling down to the end of the rule to find the history information in parenthesis. With Lexis.com there is also the option of clicking on the information icon next to the database for currency information.

Lexis.com also has a rules orders database containing databases for all states.   Each state has a number of years that can be selected. The list provided within the year is not organized for easy determination of the date of the most recent rules report. The official Rules Committee would be your best choice as there is a disclaimer\notice with the Lexis.com Rules Orders database that states: “Though LexisNexis seeks complete coverage of orders that serve to update rules of court, customers are advised to contact court clerks for the text of applicable rules.”  It would be best to check the Rules Committee webpage rather than ask the Clerk of the Court.

Maryland Rules are found on Westlaw in the Maryland Court Rules database. The currency of the database can be found in the database scope information and is also found at the end of each rule with the history.   Westlaw also has a Maryland Rules Update Orders database containing only those rules orders that came after the currency date of the Court Rules database.  The orders are not dated and are in a list in order by West’s own numbering system.  Like the Lexis.com database it is not easy to determine what the dates are.

You can keep track of Maryland Rules changes by visiting the Rules Committee webpage and making sure that whatever source of the Maryland Rules you are using reflects the changes in the most recent Rules Order.  If it does not, you can easily check the order to see it the rule you are relying upon has changed.

The Law Library monitors the Rules Committee webpage and prints the Rules Orders to be kept in the “Rules Orders” binder.  The binder is shelved with the Maryland Rules.

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lawlibrary Maryland Law

July 2011 Rules Update – Update for Rule 4-281

Maryland Rule 4-281 in the June 2011 Supplement to the Lexis Maryland Rules of Procedure has been updated incorrectly.  The text includes a section (c) that was proposed but not adopted.   Section (c) should be crossed out in the supplement per the Rules Committee.

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lawlibrary Maryland Law

National Inventory of Primary Legal Materials

The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) believes that the public should have “no-fee, permanent public access to authentic online legal information on government Web sites” as stated in the Government Relations Office Issue Brief, AALL Working Groups to Ensure Access to Electronic Legal Information.

The Government Relations Office of AALL has coordinated a major project, the National Inventory of Primary Legal Materials, to collect information on the availability of all primary legal materials in the United States at every level of government from the judicial, legislative and executive branches.  Once information from all fifty states, D.C. and the Federal Government is collected, it “will be analyzed and used by experts working with  LAW.gov, the Law Library of Congress and AALL public policy committees according to the Issue Brief.  The data will provide a picture as to the availability of primary legal material.  The inventory collects such information as the availability of online and print versions and whether the material is copyrighted.  Other information collected for the inventory for online materials include provisions for authentication, preservation and permanent public access.

Authentication ensures that online  information is, in fact, the law.  This is done through the use of certifying marks and the establishment of chain of custody of the electronic document.  A more detailed description of authentication can be found in the Executive Summary of the AALL State-by-State Report on Authentication of Online Legal Resources Full Report.

It is important that electronic online legal materials be preserved by an appropriate government entity.  Print resources are easily preserved by court libraries and archives by storing the books in a proper environment.  Digital information presents a problem.  The technology for methods and media for accessing electronic information can change quickly.  Preservation would involve making sure that the digital information migrates to new platforms as technology changes.  The preserved information should remain accessible to the public permanently. The above principles were outlined in  the AALL policy paper, Principles and Core Values Concerning Pubic Information of Government Websites.

Maryland law librarians formed a Working Group to address the issues of authentication, preservation and permanent public access.  The Working Group has contributed to the National Inventory of Primary Legal Materials by collecting the information for Maryland primary legal materials.  The project was completed as of June 1, 2011.  All of the information was entered into a Google spreadsheet for the sate, county and municipal levels all of the  branches of Maryland government.  The Maryland Inventory Spreadsheet will be added to the information collected by other state working groups to form the National Inventory of Primary Legal Materials.

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Maryland Law

Notice on Cell Phones and Other Electronic Devices in Maryland Courts

A Notice on Cell Phones and Other Electronic Devices was posted on mdcourts.gov to explain the new rule effective January 1, 2011.  Cell phones and other electronic devices such as cameras are now allowed in Maryland courts with restrictions as of today.

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lawlibrary Maryland Law

New Maryland law for traffic tickets in effect on January 1, 2011

The new law will require that trials must now be requested for payable traffic tickets.  Trial dates will no longer be automatically assigned.  Links to information follows:

Judiciary press release

Link to judiciary website information: New Traffic Ticket Process

Text of  CH 196 of the Laws of 2010 (HB 829)

Text of Transportation Article 26-201 and 26-204

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Maryland Law

Cell Phones Allowed in Maryland Court Facilities Per Rules Adopted October 20, 2010

The rules proposed by the 165th Report of the Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure were adopted, some with amendments, by the Maryland Court of Appeals today, October 20, 2010.

New Rule 16-110 would allow cell phones and other electronic devices to be brought into Maryland court facilities.  A camera is included in the definition of  an “electronic device.”    Although electronic devices can be brought into a court facility there are still restrictions on their use.  Electronic devices can be used to send and receive phone calls and electronic messages and for any other lawful purpose.  There can be no use of cameras or recording equipment  in a court facility except in accordance with the rules and an electronic device shall not interfere with court proceedings or the work  of court personnel.  Violation of provisions of the rule governing certain uses could result in the confiscation and retention of the electronic device by security personnel.

Rule 16-109 was changed to reflect provisions of new rule 16-110.  Other rules  changed per this rules order were 1-322, 4-216, 2-242, 5-404, 5-804,  16-901, and Rule 13 of the Rules Governing Admission to the Bar of Maryland.  The rules order can be found at the Maryland Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure website.

A binder containing copies of Rules Orders that are not yet in the West or Lexis rules volumes is kept on the shelf with the rules.

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lawlibrary Maryland Law

Maryland Regulations for Foreclosure Procedures for Residential Property

The Commissioner of Financial Regulation proposed emergency regulations for Foreclosure Procedures for Residential Property that were effective July 1, 2010.  COMAR 09.03.12 was published in the Maryland Register on July 16, 2010.  The text of the regulations in 37:15 Md. R. 986-997 (July 16, 2010) can be found at the Maryland Register Online and on the Commissioner’s website. The regulations consist of forms for the Notice of Intent to Foreclose, a Preliminary Loss Mitigation Affidavit, a Final Loss Mitigation Affidavit, a Request for Mediation, a Loss Mitigation Application (includes hardship affidavit) and Instructions, a preprinted envelope, Notice of Foreclosure Action, and instructions provided by the Maryland Office of Administrative Hearings.

The Office of the Commissioner of Financial Regulation provides these forms on their website in Word format.  It states that the forms are provided as a convenience for mortgage lenders/servicers and that consumers should obtain the forms directly from their mortgage lender/servicer.

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lawlibrary Maryland Law

Maryland Court of Appeals Adopts Emergency Foreclosure Rules

The Daily Record reported that the Maryland Court of Appeals approved the foreclosure rules changes in the 166th Report of the Maryland Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure yesterday, October 19, 2010.  The report can be found on the Rules Committee website.  The rules were proposed at an emergency meeting on Friday October 15, 2010.  The report proposed new rule 14-207.1 and amended rules 14-207 and 1-311.

The rules changes are necessary in light of the recently revealed problems with affidavits in foreclosure actions.  New rule 14-207.1 deals with court screening of pleadings and papers filed in an action to foreclose a lien, the reviewing of affidavits and the designation of special masters or examiners to screen pleadings and papers.  Rules 14-207 and 1-311 are amended to reflect language in the new rule.