Inmates ask Washington County Circuit Court to reduce mandatory minimum drug sentences

Robert Crosby wants about three decades shaved off his state prison sentence and has filed paperwork with the Washington County Circuit Court in hopes of getting his 40-year sentence reduced. Provisions of the Justice Reinvestment Act (JRA) that went into effect on Oct. 1 mean the end of mandatory-minimum sentences for repeat drug offenders. It also means everyone who received one of those sentences can petition the courts to have the sentence modified. "Our records show about 60 inmates are eligible" from Washington County said Assistant State's Attorney Elizabeth Camuti, who has been filing most of the state's responses to those petitions. So far, about 30 inmates serving mandatory minimum sentences of 10, 25 or 40 years have filed modification petitions, she said. (Herald-Mail)

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$43M assistance to Towson Row developers to be discussed at council work session

The Baltimore County Council will meet Tuesday to discuss a proposal to grant nearly $43 million in tax incentives and support to the developers of the stalled Towson Row project. Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz is proposing the assistance to development companies Greenberg Gibbons and Caves Valley Partners, who have proposed a $350 million mixed use project in downtown Towson called Towson Row. Kamenetz is asking the Baltimore County Council to approve the deal. (Balt. Sun)

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At Baltimore City Hall, 1-year-old girl is unofficial 16th council member

During her first year of life, the daughter of Baltimore City Councilwoman Shannon Sneed has napped, laughed and gurgled from the dais through votes, budget work sessions and public hearings. Baby Rae accompanied her mom to support legislation in Annapolis and slept through Mayor Catherine Pugh’s inauguration. She’s known to cry out during testimony against bills her mom supports. Some people joke she should have her own City Hall ID. Sneed’s colleagues refer to the baby as the 16th member of the City Council. “She’s a part of our family,” says City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young. (Balt. Sun)

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Compass Rose Theater moving, not without drama

Compass Rose Theater has had some unconventional homes. The Annapolis-based professional theater company started in an empty McDonald’s in Eastport in 2011. In the last four years, the theater housed itself on Spa Road in what used to be a rug cleaning building. On Sunday night, Compass Rose’s founder announced the company plans to finally move into a brand new theater. Lucinda Merry-Browne, founder and producing artistic director, unveiled plans for Compass Rose’s next moves at a theater event. (Capital)

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Harford delegate seeks court review of community center in 'Muslim' development

A Harford County state legislator and a group of Joppatowne residents are seeking judicial review of the county government’s approval of plans to build a community center in the controversial Ansar Housing Complex along the Gunpowder River in Joppatowne. It is the latest piece of legal maneuvering in recent months over the development of Ansar, which has been marketed as a “mini-peace village” for members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. Harford County and the Ansar community builder, Gemcraft Homes, of Forest Hill, are already embroiled in federal lawsuits. The writ filed this week invokes a 2004 consent decree that ended prior litigation over the development. (Aegis)

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Prosecutor who raised early questions about Gun Trace Task Force officer speaks out

A former Baltimore prosecutor who raised questions three years ago about a police sergeant who is now charged with robberies and planting evidence says she “told anyone that would listen” that the officer was corrupt. Molly Webb, a former assistant state’s attorney, said she was notified in 2014 by a defense attorney of troubling closed-circuit TV footage that appeared to conflict with the accounts of Detective Ben Frieman and Sgt. Wayne Jenkins in charging documents in a 2014 case. Webb hadn’t received the footage from police. (Balt. Sun)

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As violence mounts, trust in Baltimore police wavers

Staggered by a succession of crises — civil rights violations, corruption convictions and the unsolved killing of a homicide detective — the Baltimore Police Department is closing out its dismal year with a depleted force struggling to contain soaring violent crime while also trying to restore wavering public trust. While the department flails, city, state and federal officials appear to be operating from competing playbooks — a lack of coordination that law enforcement professionals warn could deepen distrust. When Gov. Larry Hogan came to Baltimore Tuesday to announce a crime-fighting plan for the city, Baltimore officials stayed away. Mayor Catherine Pugh thanked Hogan, but said the plan offered nothing new. (Balt. Sun)

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December 8 // Md. pays steep price for site with access to the Patuxent River

A one-time mobile home park in such poor condition that many of its dwellings violated livability codes is slated to be transformed into one of Maryland’s newest waterfront parks as well as offices for the Department of Natural Resources. But some are questioning whether the state paid too much for a tract with marginal ecological value that had little chance of ever being developed. (Bay Journal)

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