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In the Media: Bringing Social Justice to Judge Race; Hogan Backs off New Baltimore Jail Plan

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A digest of Baltimore news from local sources.

From the AFRO American: Public Defender Oppenheim Looks to Bring Social Justice Issues to Judgeship Race

"Baltimore City Public Defender Todd Oppenheim is running for judge with social justice in mind. That’s something he says doesn’t happen very often. 

“'It’s an anomaly,' he said in an interview with the AFRO. 'Obviously, a judge can’t commit to a position, and I think that’s what my opponents really take a strict interpretation of, but everyone’s philosophy is certainly relevant to how they’re going to be as a judge.'

"Oppenheim is one of two candidates challenging a group of six sitting judges for a seat in the Baltimore Circuit Court. The other is current District 1 City Councilman James B. Kraft. 

"Current circuit court judges Shannon E. Avery, Audrey J.S. Carrion, Michael A. DiPietro, Karen Chaya Friedman, Wanda Keyes Heard and Cynthia H. Jones are all running together, and are collectively known as the Sitting Judges. 

"The six judgeship candidates who receive the most votes in the April 26 primary will go on to appear on the Nov. 8 ballots. The winners will serve 15-year terms."

Full Article

From the Washington Post: Md. Lawmakers Accuse Gov. Hogan of ‘Assaults on…Our Black Communities’

"Maryland’s African American lawmakers on Thursday blasted Larry Hogan for policies they said are hurting black communities, the first time the Republican governor has faced such explicit racial condemnation from Democrats since taking office last year.

"During a news conference, lawmakers tore into Hogan and reiterated long-standing objections to actions by his administration, including the governor’s decision to kill the Red Line light-rail project in Baltimore and fund transportation projects elsewhere and to withhold extra education funding last year that was slated for Baltimore City and Prince George’s and other counties.

"They accused Hogan of neglecting the black residents who make up 30 percent of the state’s population in favor of those who live in the rural, mostly white areas that overwhelmingly voted for him in 2014.

"Hogan spokesman Douglass Mayer called the criticisms 'a new low' in Annapolis, where Democrats hold large majorities in both legislative chambers, and Hogan’s defeat of the state’s longtime lieutenant governor in 2014 came as a shock to the Democratic establishment.

"Del. Barbara A. Robinson (D-Baltimore), leader of the black caucus, singled out Hogan’s plans to fund a new Baltimore City jail while deferring projects at historically black colleges, saying she 'absolutely' believes his actions are racially motivated.

“'Instead of coming to Baltimore and saying what Baltimore needs, he needs to listen to what the people in Baltimore say we need,' Robinson said."

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From the Baltimore Sun: Hogan Backs Off Plan to Build New Baltimore Jail

"Responding to criticism from lawmakers Thursday, Gov. Larry Hogan said money he proposed for a new Baltimore jail should instead pay for projects at state universities.

"In a letter to leaders of the General Assembly's budget committees, Hogan asked that $18.3 million budgeted to design a new jail be spent elsewhere because 'there is clearly no longer support for this project in the General Assembly.'

"Hogan asked lawmakers to keep $16.6 million in the budget for demolishing buildings at the jail site, where he shuttered facilities dating to the Civil War last year.

"The governor cannot move the money himself — the legislature controls changes to state construction spending after the governor introduces his budget.

"The Baltimore Sun reported Thursday that Hogan's spending plan delayed five college projects, including two at historically black universities in Baltimore, to begin building a $480 million jail in the city. The proposal incensed Democratic lawmakers, including the Legislative Black Caucus."

Full Article