.

Del. Cluster: Does Annapolis Have the Criminal's Back or Yours?

The Maryland legislature gives criminals more rights and, at the same time, strips law abiding citizens of their rights.

Over the last couple weeks, we have seen an in our neighborhoods, and as a retired sergeant from the Baltimore County Police Department, I am always on the alert to legislation that affects the
criminal justice system and the law abiding citizens of Maryland.

These past several years I have seen a disturbing trend: the Maryland legislature gives criminals more rights and, at the same time, strips law abiding citizens of their rights. I want to take some time in this article to go over some of the bad pieces of legislation that passed last year and more bad pieces of legislation that are being considered this year, relating to crime and the criminal justice system.

Last year in Annapolis, the Democratic majority passed legislation that allowed persons with a sentence of life in prison, which includes about 2,500 murderers and rapists, the right to parole after a certain period of time. They also gave people that are in the United States illegally the right to in-state
tuition. Another piece of legislation that thankfully failed was legislation that would stop a business owner from checking the criminal backgrounds of persons they want to hire.

This year, the trend continues to help the criminals of Maryland. There is legislation filed that would not allow the police to charge a person with first-degree murder, but with a lesser charge, if that person was not the actual person who physically committed the crime. This would greatly impact the way we handle crimes like we saw happen in , where four individuals were just . Under this legislation only one of these individuals could be charged with first-degree murder, even though all four were involved in planning the crime.

Another piece of legislation under consideration would not allow a district court commissioner to issue a warrant for the arrest of any individual if the application is requested by any ordinary citizen like you or me, for a misdemeanor crime. Police don't witness every crime and citizens help police in our
communities. Not allowing citizens to petition the court will lead to more petty criminals not being brought to justice and make the police work harder to get them off the streets.

A third piece of legislation we are hearing is to issue citations, just like a traffic ticket, to persons who commit crimes like theft, destruction of property, etc., and in some case domestic violence, instead of the police arresting that suspect. Can you imagine the police not arresting a spouse who just committed certain acts of domestic violence, but being given a ticket and not removing them from the house of the victim? I know from my years of police work that this will lead to more violence and even more severe crimes.

We, the law abiding citizens, need to stand up and speak out and say enough is enough and tell our legislators that we will not stand for the shenanigans going on in Annapolis any longer. We need to tell the legislators it's about time to take care of the needs of those who obey the law and not those who break the law.

If you are interested and want to read more about the goings on in Annapolis, please contact me at john.cluster@house.state.md.us or go on my website at www.johncluster.com.

Del. John Cluster is a retired sergeant from the Baltimore County Police Department who had worked in the patrol division and detective division, as well as running the SWAT team in Baltimore County. He currently represents Legislative District 8, covering parts of Parkville, Perry Hall, Carney, Overlea and Rosedale communities.

Paul Amirault February 13, 2012 at 07:04 PM
Delegate Cluster, your comments regarding the parole law passed last year are extraordinarily misleading. Your insinuation is that Democrats are going to release 2,500 murderers after a certain period of time. That is not what that legislation does at all. When a convicted of a crime with a life sentence, it is given either "with" or "without" the possibility of parole. The law as I understand it is that if the Parole Commission recommends parole for a convict who was sentenced "with the possibility" of parole, the Governor has 180 days to veto that recommendation or the parole becomes effective. Both Glendening and O'Malley have simply refused to act on the recommendations of the Parole Commission for purely political considerations, afraid of potential ramifications. This in in direct contradiction of the original sentence.
Hatall February 13, 2012 at 07:50 PM
Delegate Cluster has mis-stated, mislead, or under stated many of the laws cited in this article. He has largely attempted to scare the public into reacting to certain laws. Delagate Cluster, perhaps you should give them the actual site to the legislation or note the actual wording of the legislation. I am no fan of allowing criminals to control our society, but I am more concerned with the criminal conduct of the elected officials in terrorizing the public with this misleading information
Jimmy February 13, 2012 at 11:09 PM
Wether misleading or not, criminals have more protection under th elwa than the law abiding citizens. With search warrants being reversed because of technicallities, not being allowed to bring up past violent crimes in court or any number of things that stack the odds a violent criminal will be aquitted, the everyday law abiding citizen doesn't stand a chance. When will the honest man catcha break?
Paul Amirault February 13, 2012 at 11:23 PM
But that said, Del. Cluster has no need to nor should he mislead anyone.
Donna McDonough February 14, 2012 at 04:10 AM
Thanks to the previous folks about misleading info. I would appreciate Del. Cluster referencing the actual bill numbers for these items as I would like to read the actual bills as they are written. I prefer not to have the editorialized versions. That way I can decide if this is legislation that warrants comment. Thanks in advance to the Patch and Del Cluster for making this info available to the public.
Marty Warren February 14, 2012 at 09:37 PM
Rather than having the conversation focus on the laws that were passed LAST year. I'd like to focus on the legislation currently in Annapolis. Del. Cluster said: 1. There is legislation filed that would not allow the police to charge a person with first-degree murder, but with a lesser charge, if that person was not the actual person who physically committed the crime ======================================== If thats true, it MUST be stopped 2. Another piece of legislation under consideration would not allow a district court commissioner to issue a warrant for the arrest of any individual if the application is requested by any ordinary citizen like you or me, for a misdemeanor crime. =============================== Why? It seems to me, one of the few benefits would be to reduce the case load, AN UNEXCEPTABLE REASON. 3. A third piece of legislation we are hearing is to issue citations, just like a traffic ticket, to persons who commit crimes like theft, destruction of property, etc., and in some case domestic violence ================================= Please publish the names of ANY indiviual who supports that. Perhaps we can publicly humiliate them into reconsidering I hold govenor O'Malley in such a low regard, ALL OF THIS SEEMS BELIEVABLE
Paul Amirault February 14, 2012 at 10:52 PM
Marty, the other poster's comment is dead on. As the Delegate mislead us with his very first comment about last year his credibility can be reasonably called into question. He's got you riled up and we haven't seen a draft Bill yet. Give us the Bill numbers so we can look them up online. That's not asking for much.
Marty Warren February 14, 2012 at 11:07 PM
Hey Paul, According to Microsoft Word, this is a 611 word article. Most people are focusing on 34 words (Last year in Annapolis, the Democratic majority passed legislation that allowed persons with a sentence of life in prison, which includes about 2,500 murderers and rapists, the right to parole after a certain period of time). i don' want those 34 words to distract from the meaning of the article. I know you LEAN to the left and you know I"M SO FAR TO THE RIGHT I'M HORIZONTAL ;-). Remember when during a republican debate Staphanopolis asked Romney about "States banning contraception"? No one knew why stephonopolis would ask such a stupid question, knowing no states wanted to ban contraception. I'm convince Stephanopolis got his talking points from the white house in light of current events regarding the catholics providing insurance and obama. My point is, I'm tired of all the "SLIGHT OF HAND", smoke and mirrors and word games being played. In every other election I would shaken my head and smiled, but not this one. I feel compelled to do everything I can to get obama and as many liberals as possible out of government. Thats why I'm so riled up. Anxiously awaiting your response ;-)
Paul Amirault February 14, 2012 at 11:18 PM
Marty, Delegate Cluster used "sleight of hand" in those 34 words as you call them. I simply want the truth and some Bill numbers so,I can go look. Then we can make our own opinions about what is and isn't in the Bill. Del. Cluster was trying to make political points attcaking Democrats and got caught in a lie. His other points may be accurate, now show me they are. The original post had nothing to do with contraception but I would (and most women I bet) would love to have a rational discussion about that as well.
Marty Warren February 14, 2012 at 11:29 PM
Remember, you agreed to shake my hand if we ever met and I'm going to hold you to that. The "slieght of hand" I was referring to was IMO, you trying to focus on the 34 words instead of the other 577 words. When I mentioned contraception, I was referring to how biased the media truly is. I've always know it and the liberals have always denied it. We now know that Media Matters was writing the script for MSNBC for several years,(See The Daily Caller before you scoff) People mistakenly believe the people on TV are journalists, but they're not , they're PAID POLITICAL HACKS. If you would be so kind, lets focus on the other 577 words. I outlined in my previous post 3 of the most outrageous bills I've heard of in awhile. What are your opinions on the 3 main points he was trying to make. (I'm trying to not let you change the subject)
Paul Amirault February 14, 2012 at 11:30 PM
PS you made a funny with your smiley face, ;-) it is leaning left!
Paul Amirault February 14, 2012 at 11:41 PM
Absolutely I would. Now let's be honest, would you agree with me MSNBC clearly is leftist and Fox News is as biased in the other direction? <[:-)). & ((-:]> Agreed? But here is my point, the Delegate intentionally stated falsely about the very first bill he mentioned or he didn't really know what was in the bill.. If someone fails to tell me the truth or doesn't know e truth with their very first statement, IMO although I haven't questioned the truth of his other statements, I now would like to see the bills If I had not checked the very first bill you probably would have believed him. I didn't believe him because what he stated seemed irrational. Why do you believe him now on the other bills?
Marty Warren February 15, 2012 at 12:52 AM
Absolutely agreed about fox news and msnbc. My point is, Fox news was never in direct contact with the white house under bush but it appears stephanopolis does talk directly to the white house and does exactly what he is told THEN tells everybody he's a journalist when in fact he is a paid political hack. Back to the article. We've covered the 34 words at great length. What is your opinion on the other 3 points?
Paul Amirault February 15, 2012 at 01:00 AM
Two words, "Murdoch" & "Ailes". Still having to find the bills the old fashioned way with search terms. Tedious.
Paul Amirault February 15, 2012 at 01:13 AM
Senate Bill 495 proposal: (B) A MURDER IS NOT IN THE FIRST DEGREE IF IT IS: (1) COMMITTED WITHOUT PRIOR KNOWLEDGE OF THE INTENT TO MURDER; CRIME. (2) COMMITTED UNDER DURESS; OR (3) COMMITTED BY A PERSON WHO WAS NOT A PRINCIPAL IN THE CRIME. Although the Delegate was not precise there are issues in this proposal by only one Sen. Gladden. I can understand the Bill's premise, but proving someone had prior knowledge could be very difficult. Poor wording and i don't think good wording can be found. The person would be charged with 2nd degree in the proposal. If you come to a crime with guns, someone might just get killed. 1st degree is okay with me.
Paul Amirault February 15, 2012 at 01:18 AM
House Bill 95 filed 2, delegates (6) A COMMISSIONER MAY NOT ISSUE AN ARREST WARRANT BASED SOLELY ON AN APPLICATION FOR STATEMENT OF CHARGES FILED BY A PERSON OTHER THAN A PEACE OFFICER OR STATE’S ATTORNEY. Delegate is accurate here, but I disagree with him. If you need to arrest someone by going to court, bring a police officer with you. This could result in many false accusations. Dial 911 and get a cop.
Paul Amirault February 15, 2012 at 01:24 AM
HB 119 last one about citations, hearing cancelled no bill available. Now Marty, if the Delegate had provided us Bill numbers you and I would have a lot less to disagree about. With all due respect to the Delegate as he was a long term police officer of which I respect every bit of that job. He could have written his post much better.
Marty Warren February 15, 2012 at 01:37 AM
Got it. Thanks for the info
Greg Redmer February 15, 2012 at 04:01 PM
The point is Paul if the police did not witness the misdemeanor offense they can't go to the commissioners office. It's up to the victim to swear out a warrant or summons. If by law the victim can't then misdemeanors will go uncharged.
Paul Amirault February 15, 2012 at 04:39 PM
Greg, I understand your point. My concern is what % of false arrests are you willing to tolerate? Can't unring that bell. I'm a believer if you need the person arrested, dial 911.

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »