December 7 // Court program helps criminal defendants enter job training, forge new paths

Judge Nicole Pastore-Klein picked up a thick yellow folder documenting Tyronne Fowler’s criminal record and smiled at the 28-year-old man sitting in the front row of her Baltimore courtroom Tuesday. His infant daughter, girlfriend and sister sat beaming proudly on the benches behind him. Fowler, of Cherry Hill, was one of nearly 30 men and women who completed the District Court’s fledgling jobs training and placement program and took part in the courtroom “graduation” ceremony. In exchange, they saw their probation periods cut short, were granted probation before judgment, and had their required meetings with probation officers reduced. (Balt. Sun)

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Frosh endorses Baker in his bid for Maryland governor

Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh on Wednesday became the second high-profile Democrat from Montgomery County to endorse Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III in his bid for Maryland governor. “Just look at what he did in Prince George’s County, and I think it tells you what he can do for the state,” Frosh said in a video released by the campaign. “When he took office, the county was struggling. Crime was up, foreclosures were at a record high, and the county was engulfed in a scandal. The county is now thriving. Unemployment is down, crime is way down. Rushern has the ability, the intelligence, and the experience to make Maryland a better state.” (Wash. Post)

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Sen. Ben Cardin may get independent challenger backed by Centrist Project

An independent political group seeking to elect a handful of candidates to shift the balance of power in the U.S. Senate will support Montgomery County businessman Neal Simon in a bid to unseat Democratic incumbent Sen. Ben Cardin if Simon runs. “I can confirm we’re aware that Neal is thinking about running for U.S. Senate,” Centrist Project Executive Director Nick Troiano said. “We see him as a man of conscience and philanthropy and a very successful business career –someone who has deep experience in solving complex problems.” (Md. Reporter)

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Anne Arundel County Executive Schuh asks Roy Moore's Senate campaign to return donation

County Executive Steve Schuh has asked for a refund of $1,000 he gave to controversial U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore from Alabama, the same day his donation was made public by a progressive political blog. At an event Wednesday, Schuh confirmed the previously undisclosed donation and said his decision to ask for the money back was unrelated to a report in the “Arundel Patriot.” “My contribution was in connection to the Severna Park fundraiser a few months ago, before I found out he was a creeper,” Schuh said. “Since the time that became clear, I have asked for my money back.” (Capital)

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Whistleblower who approached Rep. Cummings claims Flynn promised Russian sanctions would be 'ripped up'

President Donald J. Trump’s former national security adviser told a business associate that U.S. sanctions imposed on Russia would be “ripped up” by the new administration, according to a whistleblower account made public Wednesday in a letter written by Rep. Elijah E. Cummings. Michael T. Flynn, who pleaded guilty last week to lying to the FBI, was communicating with former business associates “within minutes” of Trump’s inauguration, according to the letter — reassuring them Russian investments would soon be available as the Trump administration lifted sanctions. (Balt. Sun-AP)

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An easier, stealthier way to search for conflicts of interest among Md. legislators

For years, the Maryland General Assembly has thrown up bureaucratic hurdles for residents interested in learning about their lawmakers’ potential conflicts of interest. Lawmakers are required to list their sources of income and business holdings in annual forms. But seeing those documents required a trek to the State Ethics Commission in Annapolis. And anyone who wanted to view conflict-of-interest forms had to provide their name and home address to the ethics panel, which then forwarded that information to the officials’ whose filings are being pulled. Now there is another way to get the information, without leaving your computer or having your name sent to the person you are checking on. (Wash. Post)

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Thousands rally outside Capitol to demand DACA solution; at least 2 Md. lawmakers arrested

Nearly 200 protesters were arrested Wednesday on the steps of the U.S. Capitol after thousands gathered to demand legislation protecting young, undocumented immigrants whose work permits are being revoked by the Trump administration. Those arrested after refusing to disperse included at least two lawmakers from Montgomery County: County Council President Hans Riemer (D-At Large) and state Del. Ana Sol Gutiérrez (D-Montgomery). Coordinated by local and national immigrant rights groups, the protest was the latest effort to pressure U.S. lawmakers to find a way to replace Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the Obama-era program that allowed some 690,000 immigrants brought to this country as children to receive two-year renewal work permits and shielded them from deportation. (Wash. Post)

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December 6 // Hogan wants to double the sentence for repeat offenders who commit a felony with a gun

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said Tuesday that he plans to introduce emergency legislation in January that calls for tougher sentencing for repeat offenders who commit a felony using a gun, part of a crime-fighting package to stem the violence in Baltimore and across the state. Hogan wants to double the minimum criminal penalty, increasing it from five years to 10 years, without parole or probation. (Wash. Post)

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