Archive for Maryland

Man charged with killing pregnant girlfriend; no charges yet in death of unborn child

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On June 20, Baltimore County Police responded to a home in the Rosedale area of Baltimore County after a 911 call from a resident who found her daughter severely injured. The victim, later identified as Summer Shemida Smith, was declared dead on the scene. Smith was 33 years old and lived at the home with her mother. Media reports indicated that her pregnancy was full-term. Her unborn child also died. After an autopsy the next day, police announced that Smith’s death was the result of homicide. At the time, police did not announce autopsy results for her unborn child.

Today, September 2, a report from The Baltimore Sun reports an arrest has been made:

Baltimore County police have charged a 32-year-old man with first-degree murder in the stabbing death of his pregnant girlfriend in June.

Kenneth Walter Worrell III of the 5800 block of Lillyan Avenue is alleged to have stabbed Summer Shemida Smith, 33, who was nine months pregnant. The Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s office is reviewing the case to see if additional homicide charges could be filed in the death of the unborn child.

The report indicates DNA via blood on a receipt dated 6/20 was found in Worrell’s car. Will prosecutors actually file charges for the death of the unborn child? Logic would indicate that they should  in light of Maryland’s fetal homicide laws since previous reports indicated the pregnancy was full-term.

Maryland has a fetal homicide law (§ 2-103) which says that a defendant can be prosecuted for manslaughter or murder if (via NCSL.org) the perpetrator “intended to cause the death of the viable fetus; intended to cause serious physical injury to the viable fetus; or wantonly or recklessly disregarded the likelihood that the person’s actions would cause the death of or serious physical injury to the viable fetus.”

Under Maryland law (§ 2-209), viable “means that stage when, in the best medical judgment of the attending physician based on the particular facts of the case before the physician, there is a reasonable likelihood of the fetus’s sustained survival outside the womb.”

MoCo, PG Counties lead MD in release of unaccompanied immigrant children

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Newsbusters reports:

The “Office of Refugee Resettlement” in the government’s Department of Health and Human Services has released a county-by-county list of 29,890 unaccompanied children sent “to safe settings with sponsors (usually family members).” Year-to-date, the number, according to an HHS state-by-state list, is 37,477. This has occurred “while they await immigration proceedings.”

Now that they’re out in the general population, we’re still supposed to believe that the majority of these “children” (more on that later) will ultimately be deported. After all, that’s what White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said on July 7

If you look at the list referenced above you will see that the top counties in Maryland are Montgomery and Prince George’s County.

Other counties missing from the list may still have received under 50 immigrant children since January 1:

The following table shows county-level data for unaccompanied children released to sponsors by the counties where the sponsors live, where 50 or more children have been released since January 1, 2014.  This data covers 126 counties nationwide, and comprises 29,890 of the 37,477 total children released to sponsors in this period.  ACF will update this data each month.

Here’s the complete list for Maryland via the Office of Refugee Resettlement:

  • Prince George’s County 960
  • Montgomery County – 816
  • Baltimore City – 264
  • Baltimore County – 206
  • Anne Arundel County – 145
  • Frederick County – 139
  • Howard County – 102

Whooping cough outbreak in both VA & MD in DC suburbs

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Cases of pertussis (whooping cough) have been found in Washington suburbs in both Virginia and Maryland.

From a WTOP report on Montgomery County:

Several Montgomery County School kids have come down with pertussis, also known as whooping cough, and county officials are worried the illness could spread to other students.

Dr. Ulder J. Tillman, health officer for Montgomery County, says they are aware of three confirmed cases and nine suspected cases of the respiratory disease at four county schools and a couple private schools.

Tillman says the students affected range in age from 9 to 18 years old.

All of the students who came down with whooping cough attended the same camp in Pennsylvania.

The schools in Montgomery County (Rockville and Potomac) where the confirmed or suspect cases were found include Robert Frost Middle, Julius West Middle, Cabin John Middle, and Cold Spring Elementary.

Another WTOP report discusses a confirmed case of pertussis in Fairfax County. This case involved a student at the Gesher Jewish Day School who also attended the camp in Waynesboro, PA. Capital Camps sent an email warning parents of children who attended the camp between July 21 and August 10.

 

Funeral Arrangements for Cookie Harris Announced

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A lot of people in Maryland were shocked yesterday about the sudden death of Cookie Harris.

Here’s an announcement on the details of her funeral and visitation arrangements:

A funeral mass will be celebrated for Cookie Harris, wife of Congressman Andy Harris, on Monday, September 1 beginning at 11am at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen. Private interment to follow.  Visitation will occur Sunday, August 31 from 1pm until 8pm with a vigil beginning at 7pm at Ruck Funeral Home, 1050 York Road, Towson, MD 21204.
The family prefers in lieu of flowers, that donations be made in the memory of Cookie Harris to the Pregnancy Center North, 6805 York Road, Baltimore, MD 21212 where she was a regular volunteer and board member.

More on the funeral arrangements from Ruck Funeral Home:

On August 28, 2014 Sylvia “Cookie” Harris (nee Payne) beloved wife of Andy Harris; devoted mother of Joseph, Rebecca, Irene, Jessica and Daniel; loving grandmother of Charles and Abigail; beloved daughter of Drs. Charles and Sylvia Payne; dear sister of Betsy McGinnis and Charles, Stephen, Mark and Andrew Payne; also survived by many nieces and nephews.

Friends may call at the family owned Ruck Towson Funeral Home, Inc. 1050 York Road (beltway exit 26) on Sunday from 1 to 8 PM where a Vigil Service will be held at 7 PM. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen on Monday at 11:00 AM. Interment private. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Cookie’s name may be made to the Pregnancy Center North; 6805 York Road, 2nd floor; Baltimore, MD 21212.

Juveniles charged with burning down Tom Clancy’s home

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WBAL:

Two male juveniles in southern Maryland have been charged with arson for setting the fire that burned down the unoccupied estate of Tom Clancy in Calvert County.

The two boy, ages 12 and 14, have been charged with Arson 2nd Degree for their involvement with igniting the blaze that destroyed a two story unoccupied wood frame dwelling of the famed writer’s estate.

The fire marshal says the fire last [F]riday was brought under control withing 15 minutes but caused $149,000 in damages.

I’m not sure whether Clancy was still living in the Calvert County home much before his death last year or if he was living in his luxury penthouse in Baltimore primarily. I do remember there were reports when he was still married to his first wife that she purchased him a restored Sherman tank that was on the grounds of the mansion. There were even news reports discussing the house itself, which was the inspiration for the waterfront home that Clancy protagonist Jack Ryan owned in some of Clancy’s novels.

Pro-life leader Cookie Harris, wife of Rep. Andy Harris, passes away

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WBFF reports:

FOX45 has confirmed that Sylvia “Cookie” Harris, wife of MD Congressman Andy Harris, has died. Republican Andy Harris represents the 1st district of Maryland. This is a developing story; Stay with FOX45 for details.

WBAL-TV reported later that she died of a heart attack earlier today.

Cookie Harris was a native of Puerto Rico and attended Notre Dame of Maryland University. Andy and Cookie Harris had been married for over 30 years and have five children and two grandchildren. She has been active in Maryland Right to Life as their director of special events. I first met Mrs. Harris at a Students for Life event that the congressman was the speaker for in the DC area a few years ago. I know I had seen from her emails and online activity that she was again coordinating the volunteers for the MD RTL table at the Maryland State Fair in Timonium this week.

WBAL.com has several statements including some of the ones listed below. They also have the release from the Congressman’s office:

“Sylvia “Cookie” Harris, beloved wife of over 30 years to Congressman Andy Harris, devoted mother of five and grandmother to two, and devout Catholic, unexpectedly passed away on Thursday, August 28. The family is thankful for the thoughts and prayers that so many have offered already and appreciates privacy during this time.”

Archbishop William Lori of the Archdiocese of Baltimore made the following statement (via Catholic Review):

“Mrs. Harris was a tireless supporter of life and fully dedicated herself to the belief that all human life is sacred. Though her death is a tremendous loss, especially to those in the pro-life community, her legacy will continue to live on in the countless lives she not only touched, but possibly saved, through her efforts to build a culture of life in the Archdiocese of Baltimore.”

Jeffrey Meister, legislative director for MD RTL, posted the following on Facebook:

Cookie was a vivacious woman and friend dedicated to the pro-life movement. I often worked with her on numerous projects and events. She will certainly be missed.

Here’s what MD RTL posted on Facebook:

It is with heavy hearts we must say our dear friend and coworker Cookie Harris has passed away today. She served as the Director of Special Events, working intimately to put together a successful annual banquet, biannual convention, and the Maryland State Fair, which continues through Labor Day. She will be missed.

Diana Waterman of the Maryland GOP made the following statement:

“It is with deep sadness and regret that The Maryland Republican Party has been informed of the passing of Mrs. Sylvia “Cookie” Harris, wife of Congressman Andy Harris (Md-01). Mrs. Harris, a mother of five and grandmother of 2, was a devout catholic and strong advocate of the Maryland Right to Life organization. We are shocked and saddened by the news, Cookie was a truly wonderful person and the MDGOP’s thoughts, prayers and support go out to her family.”

Statement from Maryland Senate Republican Caucus:

“‘Cookie’ had a visible presence in Annapolis advocating on the issues she was so passionate about. All of the Senators had a wonderful relationship with her because of her political views and her never-tiring activism. Our thoughts and prayers are with Congressman Harris and the family.”

A statement from GOP candidate for Governor Larry Hogan:

“Words cannot adequately express how heartbroken Yumi and I are to learn of Cookie Harris’s sudden and tragic death. Our deepest condolences and prayers are with Andy and his children Joe, Becky, Irene, Jessica and Danny.”

Governor Martin O’Malley’s statement:

“We extend our deepest condolences to Congressman Andy Harris on the tragic loss of his wife, Sylvia ‘Cookie’ Harris. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Harris family.”

Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown:

“I want to offer my deep and heartfelt condolences to Congressman Harris and his entire family on the tragic passing of Sylvia ‘Cookie’ Harris. The thoughts and prayers of my family, and of all Marylanders, are with the Harris family at this difficult time,” Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown said in a statement issued by his office.

A Baltimore Sun story has the below reactions:

“She was vivacious, and so outgoing and giving — she would help anyone with anything,” said Ellen R. Sauerbrey, a former state lawmaker and two-time Republican nominee for governor. “Being the wife of a person running for office is not easy, but Cookie was always very supportive.”

[...]

State Sen. Joseph M. Getty, a Carroll County Republican, called her “a true partner of Andy in his political endeavors.”

“But she was also frequently seen in Annapolis as an advocate for the issues she was passionate about.”

[...]

“She was a very fine woman,” said former Rep. Helen Delich Bentley. She said she would remember Mrs. Harris on the campaign trail with kids in tow and a broad smile.

“She was extremely supportive of all of Andy’s efforts to take on the responsibilities that he did in Congress. She was a great mother, and I know they were a happy couple.”

Delegate Kelly Schulz’s comments:

It is with great sadness that I learned of the passing of Sylvia “Cookie” Harris, the wife of Congressman Andy Harris. She was a great champion of justice for unborn children, a dear friend to many, and a great Marylander. We offer our prayers to the Harris family in this difficult time.

Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger:

“It is with great sadness that I offer my sincere condolences to the Harris family on the sudden loss of their devoted mother and wife. Cookie was an active leader in the Cockeysville community and her involvement will be sorely missed. My thoughts and prayers are with Congressman Harris, his children and his family.”

I’m really just floored a bit by this news, and I offer my heartfelt condolences to the Harris family. I will be praying for the repose of the soul of Cookie Harris and I will also be praying for the whole Harris family now during their time of grief. I  would encourage everyone else to pray for them as well.

Black police officers upset with FOP donations to Darren Wilson defense fund #ferguson

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I previously noted that the national Fraternal Order of Police was apparently steering donations to the legal defense fund for Darren Wilson, the police officer involved in the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Officials at Lodge 70 of the FOP in Anne Arundel County told Pamela Wood of The Baltimore Sun that they had wanted to donate money to provide food to the officers working long hours as a result of unrest in Ferguson, but the national FOP suggested they donate to the Wilson defense fund instead.

Wood wrote a follow-up article this week discussing how African-American officers have responded with criticism of the move.

A group of African-American police officers in Anne Arundel County said Monday they were “shocked” by their union’s donation to a white Missouri police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black teen.
In a letter to the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 70, which represents Anne Arundel’s rank-and-file police, the officers blasted the decision to donate to a fund for Officer Darren Wilson of the Ferguson, Mo., police department.
“While we appreciate the support that the union offers to officers in need, there comes a time where leaders must take a step back and look at the totality of their decisions,” wrote Cpl. Kam Cooke, a bike patrol officer and acting president of Anne Arundel’s Black Police Officers Association.

[...]

Cooke said members of the union were not notified before the donation was made.

“We don’t need to be discussing [the Ferguson incident] here in this jurisdiction. It’s an inflammatory incident elsewhere, let’s keep it elsewhere,” said Cooke, who said the letter represents the feelings of dozens of black officers, though it did not include a list of signatories.

Anne Arundel has 683 county police officers; 51 are African-American.

Wood previously reported that Anne Arundel County Police Chief Kevin Davis said he would “agree to disagree” about the union’s donation.

Union President O’Brien Atkinson said the donation “was not intended to express an opinion on whether the Ferguson shooting was justified or not. Rather, he said, police officers often support other officers with legal representation following incidents where they use deadly force.”

More from Atkinson:

“This isn’t about guilt or innocence. This is about due process. Everyone was clear on that when the donation was made,” Atkinson said. He said after the union’s board made the donation, he posted a notice on the union’s members-only website.

Atkinson  also said the local FOP would meet about the donation next week.

Cooke, of the Black Police Officers Association, also asked in his letter if the local FOP had donated to the defense of Joseph Lamont Walker (they didn’t.)

 

Read more: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/anne-arundel/annapolis/bs-md-ar-ferguson-donation-20140825,0,7490339.story#ixzz3BW8dbhd6

2014 Nun Run will raise money for the Little Sisters of the Poor in Baltimore

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On September 13, the Little Sisters of the Poor will hold the inaugural Nun Run, a 5K run and a 1 mile run/walk, to raise money for St. Martin’s home in Baltimore. The event takes place at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen. There will be refreshments, entertainment, and a gift bag for all participants. The mission of St. Martin’s is to serve the elderly poor with independent living apartments, assisted living, and skilled nursing care.

The Little Sisters live at St. Martin’s and are there 24/7. Their goal is that no one dies alone.

More on their philosophy:

  • We adhere to all the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, especially those concerning the sanctity of human life.
  • We reject all forms of euthanasia and assisted suicide and protect our Residents from these practices, as well as from all forms of abuse and neglect.
  • The compassionate care and accompaniment of the dying is the summit of our ministry. At St. Martin’s it is our goal that no one die alone.

With the assistance of The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, the Little Sisters of the Poor (the national congregation) filed suit against the federal government over the HHS Mandate. The Becket Fund has a good website on that suit as well as on the mission and values of the Little Sisters of the Poor.

I have friends running in the race as well as members of my Knights of Columbus council who are participating.

You should participate as well. If you aren’t running or walking, you can still make a donation.

More information:

The Libertarian Case for Being Pro-Life

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I first heard several months ago from a friend who is a registered Libertarian about Libertarians for Life.

Here’s the Libertarian Case Against Abortion from their website:

One popular misconception is that libertarianism as a political principle supports choice on abortion. And major elements within the libertarian movement (the Libertarian Party, for example) take abortion-choice stands. Nonetheless, libertarianism’s basic principle is that each of us has the obligation not to aggress against (violate the rights of) anyone else — for any reason (personal, social, or political), however worthy. That is a clearly pro-life principle. Recognizing that, and seeing the abortion-choice drift within the libertarian movement, Libertarians for Life was founded in 1976 to show why abortion is a wrong under justice, not a right.

We see our mission as presenting the pro-life case to libertarians and the libertarian case to pro-lifers. Among supporters of LFL, some of us are members of the Libertarian Party, some are not. Some are religious, some are not. (Doris Gordon, our Founder and Coordinator, is a Jewish atheist.) Our reasoning is expressly scientific and philosophical rather than either pragmatic or religious, or merely political or emotional.

Here are the points LFL uses to defend their case:

  1. Human offspring are human beings, persons from conception, whether that takes place as natural or artificial fertilization, by cloning, or by any other means.
  2. Abortion is homicide — the killing of one person by another.
  3. One’s right to control one’s own body does not allow violating the obligation not to aggress. There is never a right to kill an innocent person. Prenatally, we are all innocent persons.
  4. A prenatal child has the right to be in the mother’s body. Parents have no right to evict their children from the crib or from the womb and let them die. Instead both parents, the father as well as the mother, owe them support and protection from harm.
  5. No government, nor any individual, has a just power to legally “de-person” any one of us, born or preborn.
  6. The proper purpose of the law is to side with the innocent, not against them.

Kristen Walker Hatten, a libertarian, wrote a piece entitled, “Why Libertarians should be Pro-Life on Abortion.”

She wrote:

The s0-called “social issue” which is the glaring exception to this rule is abortion. It is not a “victimless crime,” as many argue prostitution, sodomy, and gambling are. All libertarians of all stripes – and in this I include Objectivists, though they might, well, object – should oppose abortion. Anyone who advocates any kind of government, no matter how minimal, should support making abortion a criminal act.

How do I justify this? It’s actually pretty simple.

If you advocate a small government, you must assign it limited goals. What are the most basic reasons for a government to exist? To keep people safe, from outside aggressors and from each other. Objectivism, for example, argues for a “night watchman” government: basically, the military, police, and courts. The military defends the people from outside aggressors, the police arrest and incarcerate criminals, and the courts decide guilt or innocence and hand down sentences, as well as settling civil legal disputes.

I mention the Objectivist ideal to illustrate that even the most bare-bones government would have laws against citizens killing other citizens. Libertarianism, unlike Objectivism, is based largely on the Non-Aggression Principle, which says – to put it very simply - it is morally wrong to initiate aggression. Force is justified only when combating force.

Libertarianism is also firmly based on a belief in personal responsibility. If every man is and should be free to make his own decisions, it follows that every man must own the results of those decisions. Which is to say: if a man and woman have sex, they both accept the risk that a pregnancy might be the result, and accept the obligation to care for the resulting child.

Another group espousing a similar philosophy to LFL is Secular Pro Life (SPL.)

Police union steering donations to Darren Wilson legal defense fund #ferguson

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To sum things up, a FOP lodge in Anne Arundel County, Maryland wanted to send donations to provide food for police officers working long hours in Ferguson, Missouri due to the protests, rioting, and looting. However, the national FOP asked them to send the money to a legal defense fund for Darren Wilson instead.

Baltimore Sun has details:

The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 70, the union that represents officers in Anne Arundel, has donated $1,070 to an online defense fund for Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. That’s the largest donation listed for the campaign on the website gofundme.com.

O’Brien Atkinson, an Anne Arundel County police officer and president of the lodge, said his members wanted to send money to help feed police officers working long shifts during the protests and unrest that have erupted since Wilson shot Brown on Aug. 9. But the national FOP suggested contributing to the legal defense fund instead.

Atkinson said the donation is intended to make sure Wilson has adequate legal representation as the shooting is investigated.

“It’s not about anything more than making sure that our fellow officer has due process, which sometimes is hard to come by when you have a media stir and a lot of political attention,” Atkinson said.