UB law professor explains consent decree between DOJ, city police

In mid-January, just before leaving office, then-U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch came to Baltimore and joined Mayor Catherine Pugh and Police Commissioner Kevin Davis for a press conference at City Hall to announce the signing of a consent decree for the Baltimore City Police Department. But just what is a consent decree?

“It’s an agreement between the Department of Justice and a municipality, like in this case the city of Baltimore. But what is different from your typical contract is that it is made a part of a case,” said Professor David Jaros, an associate professor in the University of Baltimore School of Law. “So it’s as if the case is filed in court,” continued Jaros. “And it’s going to go to trial, but instead there’s just an agreement that this is a settlement, and a consent decree usually involves one side, the defendant, agreeing to take certain steps to remedy the problem.” Jaros explained that those steps are overseen by an independent monitor, and can be enforced by the courts. If a municipality is found to not be in compliance with the terms of the consent decree, it can be held in contempt.

Baltimore was not a reluctant defendant forced to
the bargaining table, but really seemed to be a partner
in the negotiation of the consent decree, in many
respects, and there seems to be I think at this point
some optimism that the city is truly committed to
eradicating this kind of problem —David Jaros

The consent decree results from a more than year-long investigation by the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division into the police department’s practices following the April 2015 in-custody death of Freddie Gray and the riots that erupted following his funeral. That investigation culminated with a release of a report in the summer of 2016 that contained damning conclusions about the practices of Baltimore police officers in regards to their treatment of minority residents. The report concluded that for many years and on a routine basis, police unconstitutionally and illegally stopped and detained African-American and Hispanic residents.

Jaros explained that the Civil Rights Division got involved in Baltimore as part of its mandate to protect the civil rights of citizens. “And when there are violations, they are empowered to go in and sue, and so it is their mandate to try and protect the civil liberties of people like the citizens of Baltimore, for whom the consent decree actually stated that their rights under federal law were being violated by the Baltimore Police Department.” He added that consent decrees have the potential to be a very useful tool in protecting civil rights because it allows the Justice Department and a local police department to work out very specific solutions to the problems in a specific community, without having to go to court.

Following the release of the report, the Department of Justice and the city began negotiating on the terms of the consent decree. Jaros explained that the report really outlined the issues that established how the police department was violating federal law with its practices.

“And so that report was sort of the first step towards getting to sort of the practical solution side of things, which was the consent decree. And that report involved everything from detailing the use of excessive force by police officers to the unconstitutional arrest and seizure of citizens, and in particular of minorities,” Jaros said. “And it detailed that there was a pattern and practice, and those are key sort of magical words that trigger the law, the constitutional rights of Baltimore citizens.” Jaros says the key part of the consent decree was establishing requirements for the police department and the city to ensure that the violations of residents’ civil rights wouldn’t continue in the future.

Jaros says it’s too early to tell if this consent decree will make a difference in the lives of minority Baltimoreans. In the past, Jaros said the Justice Department’s report described problems with how Baltimore police officers are trained and how the resources police officers need to do their jobs well have historically not been available to them. He also described how consent decrees between the Justice Department and other police departments, regarding civil rights violations, have historically had mixed results. Jaros says a key factor is the willingness of municipalities to abide by the agreements and provide the resources that their police departments need for training and to do their jobs properly. He commended the city government for its willingness to work with the Justice Department on the consent decree.

“Baltimore was not a reluctant defendant forced to the bargaining table, but really seemed to be a partner in the negotiation of the consent decree, in many respects, and there seems to be I think at this point some optimism that the city is truly committed to eradicating this kind of problem,” Jaros said. He acknowledged that the city has a lot of social challenges and issues to address in its inner-city neighborhoods, and challenges in policing tend to follow along with those issues in inner cities. Jaros said the consent decree is simply a step in the right direction, and not a cure-all for the challenges and issues the city faces.

Maryland Men Win in Second Straight Trip To Baltimore

jon-and-ernie-grahamAfter playing a game in Baltimore in December 2015 for the first time in 17 years, the Maryland men’s basketball team returned to Royal Farms Arena on December 20 against the Charlotte 49ers. With one of the top scorers in program history serving as an honorary captain on the anniversary of a record-setting night, the Terrapins struggled in front of a crowd that was on their side.

A layup by Ivan Bender of Serbia gave Maryland a 7-5 lead just over three minutes into the game. However, that two-point lead quickly turned to a two-point deficit as the 49ers’ Andrien White hit a three-pointer from the right elbow, was fouled by Maryland’s Kevin Huerter, and then made the free throw to complete the four-point play. That started an 8-0 run by the 49ers that gave them a 13-7 lead. Bender and Michal Cekovsky got increased playing time because of an injury to starting center Damonte Dodd.

Upper Marlboro native Jon Davis then gave the 49ers their largest lead of the game at 32-22 by finishing a pass from Braxton Ogbueze for a layup with 5:42 left in the first half. Turnovers and an inability to hit open jump shots and finish layups plagued the Terrapins throughout the first half, but they fought back as the half came to a close.

After Najee Garvin committed an offensive foul with nine seconds left, Melo Trimble drove down the court, but missed a layup. Cekovsky finished the ensuing scramble by tipping in the ball to beat the halftime buzzer and pull Maryland to within 37-36 at halftime. Anthony Cowan had nine points and Cekovsky scored eight to lead the Terrapins in the first half. Maryland shot just one for six from the three-point line, and turned the ball over 13 times, leading to 14 points for Charlotte. Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said Charlotte’s zone defense caught his team off-guard.

“We didn’t expect them to start in zone. We’ve been practicing in zone a lot, and it showed in the second half,” Turgeon said. “They did some things a little bit different in their zone, and we were just kind of standing around, and we just couldn’t really get any rhythm. The turnovers were disappointing…the no-look passes and throwing to guys that weren’t there.” Turgeon added that injuries and illness racked the team in the week leading up to the game.

The Terrapins got off to a fast and furious start in the second half, scoring on each of their first three possessions, capped by Cekovsky finishing off an alley-oop from Huerter. The layup gave Maryland a 42-39 lead and forced Charlotte to call a timeout just under a minute into the second half. The Terrapins retook the lead with an 11-2 run over a 3:42 stretch on a jumper by Bender and back-to-back-to-back three-pointers by Huerter and Cowan for a 56-49 lead with 11:15 left. Another three by Jared Nickens just over 30 seconds later extended the lead to 60-51. A goaltending call on an attempted layup by junior guard Melo Trimble gave Maryland a 67-55 lead when a media timeout was called with 7:32 left in regulation. However, the 49ers wouldn’t go away.

Davis scored 6 straight points for the 49ers to pull them to within 69-61, but L.G. Gill set up Nickens for a three-pointer that stretched the Maryland lead back out to 72-61 with just under six minutes left in regulation. Trimble and Brantley then hit back-to-back threes to give the Terrapins an 83-64 lead with 3:47 remaining, effectively putting the game out of reach. Maryland

closed out the game on a 16-9 run over the last five and a half minutes and cruised to a 88-72 win before a paid crowd of 7,139, improving to 12-1 heading into Big Ten play. Trimble finished with 21 points (17 in the second half) to lead the Terrapins, while freshman Anthony Cowan added 16. Cekovsky, Huerter and Bender each finished with 10. Davis led all scorers with 28 points for the 49ers.

This was the second straight year that Maryland has played a game in Baltimore, which is home to a significant portion of the team’s fan base. Turgeon praised the crowd in Baltimore.

“It’s the best crowd we’ve had in three or four games, so I was proud of that. Our guys like coming over here. Every time I come to this city, there are so many Terp fans over here that make you feel special, so we’ve enjoyed it the last two years. Of course, we won both games, which helps, and we’ve had great crowds, so it’s been a lot of fun,” Turgeon said.

During the first media timeout of the second half, honorary captains Ernie and Jon Graham were recognized. Ernie currently ranks 13th on the all-time scoring list at Maryland. On December 20, 1978, Graham set Maryland’s single-game scoring record by scoring 44 points as the Terrapins defeated North Carolina State 124-110 in the season opener of the 1978-1979 Atlantic Coast Conference at Cole Field House. Jon, a graduate of Calvert Hall College in Towson, played for two years at Penn State before transferring to Maryland for his senior season last year.

Maryland will begin its Big Ten schedule on Dec. 27 against Illinois at the Xfinity Center in College Park.

“Unleash the Beach” looking to get off the leash

Last year, Joe Napoli, now a senior Business Entrepreneurship major in the Merrick School of Business, was named a winner in the “Rise to the Challenge” business pitch competition in the “Undergraduate Student – New Business Idea” category. Napoli’s idea was “Unleash the Beach,” a kennel for pet owners vacationing in resort areas like Ocean City and Rehoboth Beach on the Delmarva Peninsula, but are staying in condos that don’t allow pets. However, after Napoli found what he thought would be a good location just outside Ocean City, “Unleash the Beach” is still looking to get off the leash after Napoli went to visit the site and meet the property owner during his vacation at the beach this past summer.

“The property owner had some other business, so he didn’t show up at the scheduled time, so I inspected the property a little closer, and realized it was rather dilapidated on the inside, and I decided that I needed to take a look at another location,” Napoli said. He felt that the building just off U.S. Route 50 was going to need a lot of work to get it up to satisfactory condition, and decided it would be more worthwhile to find another property. Napoli thinks he may have found another possible location not too far away.

“Currently I’m taking a look around Bishopville, looking towards the upper Ocean City area. There are a lot of condos up there, and I feel that those people would really appreciate a good kennel business where they could bring their pets along,” Napoli said. He hasn’t found a suitable location in the Delaware resort area, but plans on opening one kennel in the Ocean City area, and then opening up another kennel either in the north end of Ocean City or near Rehoboth.

The famous saying in buying and selling real estate is “Location, Location, Location.” Napoli says he’s finding that to be very important as he tries to launch his startup.

“Location is everything when you’re setting up a business. Looking at a high-visibility area, as my previous property was around Route 50, I’m thinking that word of mouth and a good startup campaign, once we get started in a nice, visible area, will really bring people in,” Napoli said.

As part of his work on launching “Unleash the Beach,” Napoli has been surveying the Delmarva kennel market. This means looking into how much capacity kennels have for vacationers’ pets, and how much they charge on a nightly basis.

“I’ve been visiting other kennels in the area, and seeing their accommodations and how many pets they can hold,” Napoli said. “I’m thinking about expanding the number up from I proposed during the ‘Rise to the Challenge’ competition.” He’d initially proposed a kennel with space for 25 to 30 pets, but he’s found that many kennels at the Delmarva beaches have capacities of 50 to 60 pets, and are charging pet owners $50 a night. He also plans to offer a webcam service that will allow pet owners to check in on their pets.

For aspiring entrepreneurs who are looking to start new businesses, it’s important to make good use available resources, and taking advantage of available resources. Napoli says it’s critically important to learn your marketplace.

“If there isn’t a market for your business, you’re dead in the water before you get started,” Napoli said, adding that business owners and mentors with SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) have been very willing to provide him with information and advice as he looks to start his own business.

“The kennel owners I’ve talked to and the other entrepreneurs with SCORE have really been helpful with getting my business off the ground,” Napoli said. “They’re very forthcoming with information.” He encourages aspiring student entrepreneurs at UB to just ask for help and use the resources that are available within the university.

Lawsuit seeking to merge UB, Morgan State dismissed

Judge calls proposal “neither educationally sound nor practical”

A U.S. District Court judge has dismissed a 2007 lawsuit over duplication of degree programs, brought by a group of current and former students of Maryland’s Historically Black Universities (HBUs), against the Maryland Higher Education Commission and the former state Secretary of Higher Education. While not named as a defendant in the lawsuit, the University of Baltimore was mentioned several times in the plaintiffs’ arguments.

The Coalition For Equity and Excellence in Maryland Higher Education, a group composed of current and former students from Maryland’s four HBUs – Bowie State University in Prince George’s County, Coppin State University and Morgan State University in Baltimore, and the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore in Princess Anne (Somerset County) – filed the lawsuit on Dec. 31, 2007 in the U.S. District Court for Maryland. Joining the coalition as plaintiffs in the suit was a group of nine students from Morgan State and UMES. The Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) and then-Chairman Kevin O’Keefe, along with James Lyons, the Secretary of Higher Education under former Gov. Martin O’Malley, were named as the defendants in the class-action suit.

The suit alleges that certain degree programs referred to as Predominantly White Institutions are duplicating what is offered at the Historically Black Universities, in violation of the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause, the landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the 1992 Supreme Court decision in United States v. Fordice out of Mississippi. The plaintiffs also accused the state of failing to live up to its obligations in a 2000 agreement with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights to “enhance Maryland’s historically Black colleges and universities.” On Feb. 2, U.S. District Court Judge Catherine Blake dismissed the lawsuit, and ordered both sides to mediate out of court. Judge Blake ordered attorneys for each side to file proposals for remedies by Feb. 19. After that, she scheduled a conference call or a meeting in her chambers to discuss the schedule for a possible trial.

One of the remedies the Coalition proposed in its filing was for Morgan State to take over the University of Baltimore. UB President Kurt Schmoke says this proposal went beyond the focus of the lawsuit, which was the duplication of programs, in the view of Judge Blake.

“A proposal to merge two universities together, in her view, went beyond the narrow focus on program duplication. That was just an extreme response to the program duplication issue,” President Schmoke said. In her ruling, Judge Blake wrote that, “any numerical benefit as to the racial identifiability of the resulting student body would be outweighed by its academic and financial cost.”

“We were asked to submit an affidavit responding to the plaintiffs’ proposed remedies, and we showed how there would be a detrimental financial impact on the university by this merger,” President Schmoke said. “For example, the fact that we currently have a relationship with the UB Foundation, which is a separate nonprofit entity, which provides things like the Fund for Educational Excellence and it provides grants. If we were to merge into Morgan, the UB Foundation has no obligation to continue to support us. They are a separate entity, and so we would lose access to a foundation that has been working with us historically, providing substantial resources to faculty and students, and that would be a financial detriment to the university.”

Morgan State University has had a Master’s in Business Administration program since 1964. In 2005, the MHEC approved the UB/Towson MBA, which started in 2010. President Schmoke explained that the Morgan administrators’ argument wasn’t with UB, but instead with Towson getting an MBA. He said Morgan wanted business students who graduated from Towson to enroll at Morgan for its MBA program.

“The only way that the state allowed Towson to do that was to attach itself to the existing UB MBA program,” President Schmoke said. The plaintiffs cited the approval of the UB/Towson MBA as one of several examples going back to the late 1970s of the MHEC approving degree programs at PWI’s. These include the approval of the undergraduate marketing and exercise science programs in 2001, and the business program in 1978 at Salisbury University, which allegedly duplicated the programs offered at UMES. The graduate Public Health program at University of Maryland-Baltimore was approved in 2006, and the plaintiffs allege that program duplicates the program offered at Morgan State. However, President Schmoke described how UB has formed a partnership with Coppin State for a joint Master of Science program in Human Services Administration, a program that UB doesn’t offer on its own.

Jonas, brother! Historic winter storm slams Baltimore, northeast

 

Three Feet of Snow Measured in Parts of Maryland

By Andrew R. Koch

Business Manager

In a typical winter, Baltimore averages just over 20 inches of snow, as measured at BWI-Thurgood Marshall Airport. Nearly 150 percent of that amount fell in one storm, and the Baltimore-Washington region is still struggling to get back to normal.

A powerful snowstorm, named Jonas by The Weather Channel, slammed much of the East, with significant snow falling from as far south as Tennessee, the Carolinas and Georgia to as far north as Boston. However, the storm dealt its biggest blow to the Mid-Atlantic. 29.2 inches of snow fell at BWI, the official National Weather Service observation site for Baltimore, between Jan. 22 and Jan. 24. That set the record for the most snow ever to fall on Baltimore in a single storm, breaking the old record of 26.8 inches set during a snowstorm in February 2003.

The storm began in Maryland just before the afternoon rush hour on Jan. 22. That afternoon, businesses, schools and government offices closed early. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan joined nine other states and Washington, D.C. in declaring a state of emergency. The emergency declaration enabled the mobilization of the state’s National Guard to respond to what was predicted to be a snowstorm of historic proportions. The storm brought gusty winds and whiteout conditions to much of the interior Mid-Atlantic, paralyzing all modes of travel. BWI, Reagan National and Dulles International Airports were closed all weekend long. Saturday, Jan. 23 brought the storm’s peak intensity. That’s when the heaviest snow bands and strongest winds hit the region. Those snow bands saw snowfall rates as high as two to three inches per hour, triggering episodes of the “thunder snow” phenomenon and making it impossible for snow plow drivers to keep streets and highways passable. Around 8:30 p.m., Gov. Hogan, using powers available to the Governor of Maryland in a state of emergency, ordered the closures of Interstate 70 between the Baltimore Beltway and Interstate 81 in Hagerstown, and Interstate 270 between the Capital Beltway and I-70 in Frederick after several tractor-trailers jackknifed and blocked the highways. The interstates remained closed until Sunday morning, Jan. 24 so the tractor-trailers could be towed off the interstates, and plow crews could make them passable.

Even well into the new week, Baltimore City and surrounding county governments are struggling to get things back to normal, as streets are still narrowed by large snow banks. The Jan. 27 morning rush hour was particularly bad, as drivers trying to get back to work for the first time since the snowstorm encountered snowplows and front-loaders trying to clear the snow, along with the narrowed streets. Many residents in neighborhoods throughout the Baltimore Metro area complained about their neighborhoods barely being plowed or not being plowed at all. Several tourist attractions in Baltimore, including the Maryland Zoo, Lexington Market and the American Visionary Art Museum, were closed. Many public school systems were closed through Wednesday, and the start of the spring semester at area universities, including the University of Baltimore, has been delayed. The university’s Office of Facilities Management said power went out in two campus buildings, and the heavy snow damaged part of the roof over the internet café on the top floor of the Academic Center. The storm even delayed move-in weekend at the University of Maryland-College Park.

With snowfall totals as high as 38 inches in the mountains of western Maryland, and just over 36 inches in Hagerstown and Montgomery County, some structures are simply unable to handle the weight of the snow. Porch collapses were reported at properties on 30th and 41st Streets in Baltimore City. According to media reports, at least three people died in Maryland after suffering heart attacks while shoveling.

While inland areas were hit hardest by the heavy snow, the snow changed to rain at the coast. Tropical storm to hurricane-force wind gusts whipped up battering waves that caused storm surge flooding and severe beach erosion from Assateague Island to the Delaware Bay and the Jersey Shore. The ocean breached the sand dunes in some areas of the Delaware coastal resort area, causing closures along some stretches of Coastal Highway. In Ocean City, all roads from U.S. Route 50 to the Inlet were closed due to flooding, and in New Jersey, residents along the coast said the flooding in the resort towns there was even worse than Superstorm Sandy.

Maryland Women Celebrate 10th Anniversary of National Championship

 

 

The fifth-ranked Maryland Lady Terrapins started off 2016 by celebrating the 10th anniversary of their national championship, when Head Coach Brenda Frese’s team came from behind to defeat Duke 78-75 in overtime at what was then known as the Fleet Center in Boston. The first 2,006 fans at the Jan. 2 game against ninth-ranked Ohio State received commemorative T-shirts as they made their way inside the Xfinity Center. During timeouts, videos were played on the scoreboard as players from that championship team shared their thoughts on Frese and their championship season. However, at the end of the day, Maryland wasn’t able to celebrate a fifth straight win against Ohio State.

Maryland bounced back from a tough loss, coming up just short against defending national champion Connecticut, 83-73 in the Maggie Dixon Classic at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 28. Brionna Jones scored 24 points against the Huskies. The Terps responded with a 79-63 win two nights later in their Big Ten opener at Illinois. Jones had another big game, scoring 16 points and grabbing a career-high 19 rebounds.

Maryland held Ohio State scoreless for the first 4:05 of the first quarter. Ohio State finally got its offense untracked, but the first quarter was a sloppy one for both teams, as they combined for 13 turnovers. Maryland led 18-14 after the first, led by seven points from Shatori Walker-Kimbrough. The Terrapins stretched that lead out to 28-20 with a 10-3 run over a three-minute stretch, capped by a layup from Walker-Kimbrough with six and a half minutes left in the second quarter, forcing Ohio State to call a timeout as the crowd of 10,119 roared its approval. However, the Buckeyes held the advantage for the rest of the quarter, cutting Maryland’s lead to 40-37 at halftime. Redshirt senior guard Brene Moseley led all scorers with 13 points and five assists.

Early in the third quarter, Jones found herself in foul trouble after getting called for her third foul on Ohio State’s first possession of the quarter. That triggered a 9-0 run by the Buckeyes to take a 46-42 lead as Maryland called a timeout with 7:42 left in the period. That timeout appeared to spark the Terrapins, as Moseley set up back-to-back three-pointers by Kristen Confroy and Walker-Kimbrough, and then made a free throw to put Maryland back up, 49-47 with just under seven minutes left in the third. Ohio State closed out the quarter on a 7-2 run to take a 61-57 lead into the final 10 minutes.

A three-pointer by the Buckeyes’ Ameryst Alston stretched Ohio State’s lead to 70-63 with 7:11 left in regulation. Walker-Kimbrough responded with a three of her own that cut the Buckeyes lead in half and pulled Maryland to within 72-69 with 3:11 left. However, that was as close as the Terrapins (12-2, 1-1 Big Ten) would get the rest of the way as they lost to Ohio State (10-3, 2-0 Big Ten) 80-71. Kelsey Mitchell of the Buckeyes led all scorers with 27 points, and the Buckeyes outscored the Terrapins in the paint, 34-14. Moseley scored 20 and dished out 10 assists off the bench. This was Maryland’s first ever loss in the Big Ten after 22 straight wins, and snapped a 28-game home winning streak. Buckeyes head coach Kevin McGuff acknowledged the significance of the win, but didn’t want his players to make it out to be more than it really was.

“I have a tremendous amount of respect for Maryland, and what Brenda and her staff have been able to accomplish here, so it’s a great road win against a great team. At the same time, we gotta take it for what it is: one Big Ten win,” McGuff said. “So we got to get back to work, make sure we continue to get better. As I told the team, we’re going to see Maryland again, and they’re going to be better, because they have a great team, and they always improve throughout the year, so if we’re not improving, and we’re not better, it’s not going to go our way.”

Frese chalked up the uncharacteristic play of her team to the effects of playing three games in less than a week.

“It definitely looked like you saw the effects and the impact of three games in six days. It’s not an excuse in terms of how we played. Like I told our team in the locker room, when you want to be a championship team, we want to compete for titles, there’s going to come a time in the tournament where we got to play three games in three days,” Frese said. “I thought there were a lot of uncharacteristic plays of us with fatigue today, which is the mental side of the game for us as a team that we got to improve on.” Frese credited Ohio State for coming out with more energy in the second half, and said her team played loose with the ball, committing 20 turnovers. With all the hype about celebrating the 10th anniversary of Maryland’s national championship, Walker-Kimbrough took responsibility for the loss.

“Today…I don’t think I came out ready to play, and so I’ll take this loss for my team. I have to come out better, and play a lot better,” said Walker-Kimbrough, who scored 16 points, but only shot six of 17 from the floor, and committed seven turnovers.

Maryland’s next game will be at home on Jan. 7 against Nebraska (9-3, 0-1 Big Ten) for “Basketball Bingo” Night.