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Sunday, November 5, 2006

CrimProf Andrew D. Levy Discusses Defense Strategies Behind Request for Unsealing Child Records

AlevyFrom baltimoresun.com: University of Maryland School of Law CrimProf Andrew D. Levy discusses the possible reason the attorney representing a 35-year-old Harford County man accused in the killing of an Baltimore woman asked that records documenting childhood abuse and neglect of the suspect be unsealed.

A grand jury recently indicted Charles Eugene Burns in the killing of Lillian Abramowicz Phelps, 43, of Elkton. Her body was one of four found in remote areas around Aberdeen in recent months - crimes that authorities have said might be linked.

In a motion, the defense asked a judge to unseal records from the Harford County Department of Social Services describing abuse and neglect of Burns as a minor. A family member said that Burns' biological mother had several children and was unable to care for him. Burns bounced from home to home before being adopted, the family member said. 

Levy said the motion could indicate that the defense is considering an insanity defense in the assault cases. "It's possible that they are at least considering or investigating whether there is a possibility of an insanity defense," Levy said. "Evidence of his terrible childhood would not be admissible on the issue of whether he committed these murders." Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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