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Maryland Association for Justice Announces New Group for Civil Rights Attorneys
New resource will help attorneys prosecute civil rights violations, and expand access to justice, through collaboration, training, and outreach.

By BRANDON CORBETT
Maryland Association for Justice

Columbia, Md. (June 29, 2020)—The Maryland Association for Justice (MAJ), the largest statewide specialty bar association in Maryland, with more than 1,200 dues-paying members, is announcing the establishment of a Civil Rights and Constitutional Law Section.

The Civil Rights and Constitutional Law Section is dedicated to the protection and expansion of the civil rights of everyone in the State of Maryland. Section lawyers fight the persistent and systemic injustice caused by police and correctional misconduct, unlawful discrimination and all forms of government wrongdoing.  The Section will maintain a special focus on underserved and underprivileged populations.

We encourage all MAJ members and attorneys across the region who have an interest in fighting for the preservation of our civil rights to join this section. Dues for this section will be waived for the remainder of 2020.

“Today, we are at the start of a new phase of the movement in our society, both in Maryland and across the country, to address systemic racism, particularly within law enforcement,” said MAJ President Amy Orsi of the Law Offices of Markey & Orsi. “As we stand on the front lines to protect individuals and families from wrongdoing and abuse, we will not remain complacent while members of our communities are subjected to hate and violence.  Holding governments accountable for their unconstitutional actions against the citizens of this State remains paramount to meaningful reform of systemic racism.”

Black lives matter. This immutable fact will only be truly recognized when the victims of civil rights violations are empowered to hold police officers and agencies truly accountable for their actions in courts of law. We stand against discrimination and racism in all its forms and will continue in our pursuit of justice and equality for all.  Equal protection under the law is not just a catch phrase, it should be the aspiration of every trial lawyer in this State. 

MAJ supports ending immunity doctrines and unfair damage caps that deny justice to victims of police violence and governmental misconduct and preclude any incentive for reform.

The Section will be led by Baltimore trial and appellate attorney and two-time Trial Lawyer of the Year Award winner Cary J. Hansel of Hansel Law, PC and staunch civil rights advocate and litigator Megan Benevento of Joseph, Greenwald & Laake, PA in Greenbelt.  Serving as an advisor and honorary chair will be University of Baltimore School of Law professor F. Michael Higginbotham.

The current officers are:

Honorary Chair F. Michael Higginbotham, a Yale-educated lawyer, is the current Joseph Curtis Professor of Law at the University of Baltimore School of Law. Professor Higginbotham’s areas of scholarship and publication include constitutional law, human rights and race relations.  Professor Higginbotham serves as a legal advisor to Senator Ben Cardin and frequently appears as a commentator on CNN and MSNBC. His most recent book, Ghosts of Jim Crow, examines race discrimination in America today.  Professor Higginbotham is the former President of the Public Justice Center, the former chair of the Maryland Attorney General’s Task Force on Electronic Weapons.

Chair Cary J. Hansel has been a Maryland civil rights lawyer for 20 years.  Mr. Hansel has obtained some of the State’s highest verdicts in police and correctional misconduct cases.  His appellate career includes some of Maryland’s most-cited civil rights cases, including the creation of a new cause of action to fight patterns of police misconduct.  Mr. Hansel is being honored this year for his civil rights work with the Maryland Daily Record’s “Leadership in Law” Award.

Chair Megan Benevento is a civil litigation attorney, with a specific emphasis on civil rights litigation. She has represented victims of police misconduct across Maryland and Washington, D.C. and has held local, state, and federal governments accountable to the constitutional rights of all. She has been recognized by the Daily Record as one of Maryland’s “Very Important Professionals” under the age of 40 for her litigation and legislative advocacy.

Vice Chair Larry Greenberg has been representing Marylanders who have been injured by the negligence of others for over 25 years. He is a past president of MAJ and is an adjunct professor at the University of Baltimore, School of Law. He has won multiple awards for his work in the legal community.

Vice Chair James L. Rhodes has been practicing law in excess of 20 years.  He has successfully fought and had cases reported in the court of special appeals and court of appeals aiding in the fight for civil rights. He is a native of Baltimore City and dedicates his time in the city, volunteering personally as well as professionally advocating for victims of civil rights violations.

Vice Chair-Elect Michael Winkelman has practiced as a civil trial and appellate lawyer for more than 22 years in Prince George’s County.  He practices civil rights work throughout Maryland and the District of Columbia and has lectured and published on civil rights issues in Maryland.  He has also participated as amicus curiae on civil rights matters at every Court level in Maryland.

Student Chair Tiana Boardman is a student at the University of Baltimore School of Law.  Ms. Boardman has worked for 5 years as a civil rights paralegal.  She was recently awarded the prestigious J. Franklyn Bourne Scholarship.  Ms. Boardman’s advocacy includes a recent National Public Radio interview during her participation in protests following George Floyd’s murder.

Current members can join the MAJ Civil Rights and Constitutional Law Section by visiting www.mdforjustice.com/JoinCRCL. For non-members, to join MAJ and the Section at no additional cost for the remainder of 2020, please take advantage of our Summer Sale of 50% off normal dues at www.mdforjustice.com/SummerSale.

For questions and more information, please contact MAJ’s Offices at 410-872-0990 or info@mdforjustice.com.

 

Originally founded as the Maryland Trial Lawyers Association in 1954, the Maryland Association for Justice (MAJ) is the preeminent specialty bar association in the state representing plaintiff attorneys and those that work to uphold the civil justice system. MAJ represents over 1,200 trial attorneys throughout the state of Maryland. MAJ advocates for the preservation of the civil justice system, the protection of the rights of consumers and the education and professional development of its members. More information is available at MDforJustice.com.

 

 

 

 

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RATP Dev USA Begins Operations as New Contract Provider for TheBus

By PAULETTE L. JONES
Prince George’s County Department of Public Works and Transportation

Largo, Md. (July 1, 2020)—The Prince George’s County Department of Public Works and Transportation (DPW&T) selected a new contractor, RATP-Dev USA, for the County’s transit system, known as “TheBus”.  Effective, July 1, 2020, RATP-Dev USA will assume day-to-day control over the County’s transit operations and maintenance functions.  This multi-year contract includes a five-year base period and two option periods of three years each.  

This change builds upon the new direction the County is taking to reimagine transit services so that it better meets the needs of County residents and to implement new transportation options for neighborhoods beyond the fixed route network.  RATP-Dev USA is committed to improving the passenger experience through reliable service and enhanced maintenance protocols.

“We understand the importance of providing a reliable, safe and efficient transit system for Prince Georgians,” said Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks.  “RATP Dev USA has a proven track record for delivering successful operations and maintenance services, and they will provide groundbreaking technologies and services to our County that will serve our residents well.”

Beginning July 1, RATP Dev USA will be responsible for all aspects of the fixed route system including maintenance of the 97-bus fleet. Service will be provided through a combination of traditional ‘big’ buses and smaller, more flexible vehicles that will enhance service efficiency. Extensive safety, cleaning and social distancing protocols are in place that will provide for a safe transportation experience for riders and operators.

“A well-functioning and efficient transit service is a win-win for residents, commuters and employers in the County.  It provides mobility for workers, students, and seniors and improves the quality of life for communities throughout the County.  Our residents expect and deserve a first class, customer service focused transit system, and I am excited to welcome RATP Dev USA as our partners in delivering it,” said DPW&T Director Terry Bellamy.

RATP Dev USA has managed and operated transit systems throughout the U.S. since 1972, and today supports over 40 cities and communities throughout North America.

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Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives Announces Volunteer Maryland 2020–2021 Applications Extended to Support Nonprofits During COVID-19 Relief
AmeriCorps Members Address Critical Needs for Maryland Communities

By PRESS OFFICER
Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (July 2, 2020)—Volunteer Maryland, an AmeriCorps program and unit of the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives, today announced they will be extending their application deadline for the 2020–2021 service year to support organizations and the communities they serve on the road to recovery from COVID-19. Any Maryland 501(c)(3) nonprofit, government agency, or school in need of volunteers is eligible to apply to become a Volunteer Maryland Service Site.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all of us, and more Marylanders than in recent memory are experiencing job loss, food insecurity, and other heightened needs as a result,” said Sharon Lewis, Director of Volunteer Maryland. “Maryland nonprofits, government agencies, and schools are meeting these needs in new and innovative ways. Partnering with Volunteer Maryland can help these entities serve more Marylanders by expanding their volunteer program capacity and helping Maryland continue on the road to recovery.”

Volunteer Maryland Service Sites host Volunteer Maryland AmeriCorps members for an eleven-month term to serve as Volunteer Coordinators. Volunteer Coordinators serve full time and help organizations address critical community needs by building and expanding their volunteer program capacity. Currently, there are AmeriCorps members at 17 Service Sites across Maryland addressing education, economic opportunity, environmental stewardship, disaster relief and services to veterans. For the 2020–2021 service year, Maryland plans to place 20 AmeriCorps members.

Nonprofits, government agencies, and schools interested in partnering with Volunteer Maryland to become a Service Site are encouraged to apply by July 30th. Interested organizations may contact Nathan Cabrera, Volunteer Maryland Outreach Manager at nathan.cabrera@maryland.gov to learn more.

 

Volunteer Maryland has built more than 350 partnerships with nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and schools across Maryland, placing and training more than 700 Volunteer Coordinators to bridge the gap between communities facing critical problems and citizens who want to volunteer to solve those problems. These partnerships have resulted in over 135,000 volunteers mobilized to serve 2 million volunteer hours in communities around the state. Learn more by visiting our website at volunteer.maryland.gov and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

 

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