Maryland Misdemeanors and the Right to a Public Defender
Might new rules mean fewer Marylanders go to jail for shoplifting or smoking marijuana? Some say yes, in light of the recent Court of Appeals ruling granting all persons arrested the right to access to a lawyer before being jailed. Citing the high cost of providing poor people with public defenders immediately after an arrest (for example, at a bail hearing), some lawmakers say rewriting legislation to reduce penalties for various misdemeanors is the answer. Kojo explores the right to legal representation and the legislative battle in Annapolis.