Wednesday, January 4, 2012

It's A Puzzlement

The Maryland Court of Appeals has held that a defendant who qualifies for appointed counsel is entitled to representation at the bail hearing that takes place at an initial appearance. While other related proceedings may go forward, the defendant must be afforded the opportunity to have counsel before the bail is set. The court interpreted the state's Public Defender Act to require the result.

A concurring and dissenting opinion refers to the "otherwise righteous" majority opinion as "turn[ing] a deaf ear to the pleas of the Office of the Public Defender" and invokes Yul Brynner as the Pharoah in the movie The Ten Commandments:

So it is written; So let it be done.

The concurring/dissenting opinion would impose a modest stay to consider the budgetary and logistical issues that will result from the majority's ruling. (Mike Frisch)

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