Human Rights for All

2017 Welfare Advocates Conference

The 2017 Welfare Advocates Conference is coming up on November 2 at the Radisson Hotel in Timonium, MD. This year, we are excited that our keynote speaker will be Marc Steiner, and he'll be talking about how to amplify the stories and voices of individuals who are marginalized. We are also having an interactive closing plenary where local leaders –including the CEOs of United Way, Catholic Charities, Advocates for Children and Youth, and the Jobs Opportunity Task Force - are being pitched the question "How Do We End Poverty?" that they’ll each answer from their own perspectives. Our theme this year is Casting a Wide Net, speaking to the need for inclusivity in our organizations, in our communities, and in our policies. Along that theme, we are having workshops on assisting our immigrant neighbors, working with LGBTQ youth, and violence prevention efforts in West Baltimore, among others. Our 1-day conference also offers 5 Category 1 CEUs for social workers! Need more convincing? On top of a delicious Italian lunch, we have incredible door prizes this year including (for the first time) tickets to the National Aquarium, tickets to see Madam Butterfly, two different ski packages at two different resorts, and several area restaurant gift cards! 


For more information - and to register - please follow this link: http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07eemdqtmk39.... It's really a great conference and we hope to see you there!

Building Your Resume with Pro Bono

Date: 
Thu, 10/26/2017 - 5:00pm - 6:00pm

Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service (MVLS) and University of Baltimore School of Law are hosting a panel discussion about building up your resume with pro bono work. Panelists include Hong Le (Law Office of P. Hong Le, LLC), Anthony Butler (Founding Partner of TBMG Law), and Adrianne Blake (UB law student, class of 2018) with MVLS Staff Attorney and UB Alum Ellyn Riedl moderating. This is a free event.

Location
Location Name: 
University of Baltimore School of Law
Address1: 
1420 N. Charles Street
Address2: 
Room 608
City: 
Baltimore
State: 
Maryland
Zip: 
21201
Contact
Name: 
Janice Shih
Phone: 
443-451-4061
Sponsor: 
Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service, University of Baltimore School of Law

World Elder Abuse Awreness Day - Randallstown Community Center

Date: 
Thu, 06/15/2017 (All day)
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Justice Diverted - rent court study & rally

See below – Rally tomorrow, Tuesday December 8, 2015!!!!!!  Please share and distribute widely

Justice Diverted kicks off the 7,000 Families Campaign to stop the eviction pipeline and make lasting change for Baltimore’s renters. Join the Public Justice Center, Right to Housing Alliance, and Jews United for Justice for a rally on Tuesday, December 8, at noon at the War Memorial Plaza in Baltimore to hear about the report findings and launch the 7,000 Families Campaign.

To see the report go to this link - http://www.justicediverted.org URL (or this bitly link http://bit.ly/1XOh8E5

PRESS RELEASE

 

December 7, 2015

 

The Public Justice Center published today Justice Diverted: How Renters are Processed in the Baltimore City Rent Court. This new research provides a deep dive into Baltimore’s evictions crisis, where approximately 7,000 families are evicted each year, taking a particularly heavy toll on women and African Americans.

 

The data in the report demonstrates how the outcome of an eviction case often does not depend on the merits of the case. Rather, the fate of a family’s home rides on a court system that puts long-standing tenant protections and basic housing standards second to court efficiency and landlords’ bottom line. Read the study here.

 

Key findings from the study include:

Baltimore City’s Rent Court is designed to efficiently handle its immense caseload by diverting renters away from presenting their cases to the judge.

The Court usually turns a blind eye to landlords who are not in compliance with local licensing and lead paint laws, and whose cases should be thrown out.

Nearly 60% of renters had valid legal reasons to fight eviction, such as the landlord’s failure to address mold, pests, or lack of heat. Yet most lost their eviction case because they couldn’t afford a lawyer and didn’t understand their rights under the law. Most landlords have lawyers or other representatives experienced in court process.

The study recommends several reforms:

 

  • Cut the number of eviction cases being filed in half by requiring a pre-filing notice of eviction, so that most disputes are resolved out of court, as the vast majority of other states do.
  • Demand that landlords document their rent claims and strictly scrutinize their claims of being licensed and compliant with lead paint laws.
  • Level the playing field by increasing tenant’s access to legal information, assistance at court, and legal representation.
  • Expand licensing and property inspection requirements so that all rental housing meets health and safety standards.
  • Fund eviction prevention programs to meet the scale of the eviction crisis.


Justice Diverted is based on hundreds of surveys, extensive interviews, review of court records, and court watches. The Public Justice Center conducted and wrote the study in collaboration with the Right to Housing Alliance, Dan Pasciuti, Ph.D., of Johns Hopkins University, and Michele Cotton, J.D., Ph.D., of the University of Baltimore. We thank the Abell Foundation for funding this study.


The publication of Justice Diverted kicks off the 7,000 Families Campaign to stop the eviction pipeline and make lasting change for Baltimore’s renters. Join the Public Justice Center, Right to Housing Alliance, and Jews United for Justice for a rally on Tuesday, December 8, at noon at the War Memorial Plaza in Baltimore to hear about the report findings and launch the 7,000 Families Campaign.

MVLS' "March Madness" Themed Benefit'

Date: 
Thu, 03/17/2016 - 6:00pm - 9:00pm

Get ready for another slam dunk event!  To celebrate 35 years of providing access to justice, Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service (MVLS) will host a “March Madness” themed benefit on Thursday, March 17, 2016 from 6pm-9pm at M&T Bank Stadium on the Southeast Club Level.  Guests will enjoy upscale tailgate fare, open beer and wine bar, behind-the-scenes stadium tour that includes field access, interactive basketball games, and more. 

All funds raised from this popular annual event supports MVLS' mission of providing free legal assistance to low income Marylanders.  General admission tickets are $100 and tickets for law firm associates and non-profit staff are $75. Buy your tickets before February 19 and save 10%!  More information can be found at www.mvlslaw.org/benefit-2016/ or by contacting Kim Lennon at 443 451-4065 or klennon@mvlslaw.org.

Location
Location Name: 
M&T Bank Stadium - Southeast Club Level
Address1: 
1101 Russell Street
City: 
Baltimore
State: 
Maryland
Zip: 
21230
Contact
Name: 
Kim Lennon
Phone: 
443 451-4065
Sponsor: 
Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service
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Caregiver Conference

The Howard County Office on Aging is hosting a conference for people caring for aging loved ones on Saturday, November 14th from 8am-3pm at the North Laurel Community Center in Laurel, MD. Details and registration are here: www.howardcountyaging/org/caregiver and in the attached flier.

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4th Annual Caregiver Conference Nov 14 2015.pdf187.6 KB

Survey About Mediation in Circuit Court Non-Family Cases

*CLICK HERE TO TAKE THE SURVEY: http://circuitcourtmediation.questionpro.com*

The Salisbury University Bosserman Center for Conflict Resolution is working with the Maryland Judiciary on a survey research project about attorney experience in Circuit Court Mediation Programs for Civil Non-Family Cases. The survey takes on average 7 minutes to complete and any attorney in Maryland that practices in the circuit court is eligible. The purpose is to examine the rate of use and explore issues and concerns that attorneys say enhances or limits the use of mediation.

CLICK HERE TO TAKE THE SURVEY: http://circuitcourtmediation.questionpro.com

This survey research is being overseen by the Maryland Judiciary’s Mediation and Conflict Resolution. The results will be disseminated by MACRO at the conclusion of the project and will be used to improve the use of mediation, when appropriate, in civil non-family cases.

Questions regarding the research can be directed to Brian Polkinghorn, Ph.D., Executive Director, Bosserman Center for Conflict Resolution at bdpolkinghorn@salisbury.edu.

Expungement Training

Date: 
Tue, 10/27/2015 - 9:30am - 11:30am

Expungement 101, the New Law and Shielding

This free training will review the changes that took effect on Oct. 1st.  Participants will learn to identify expungable dispositions and the steps to file petitions including court form tips.  Presenters will also discuss possible red flag issues, including immigration status, warrants, probation violations, and what is a pending matter.  The training will also walk through the new shielding law and court forms.  Register at www.mvlslaw.org.

Location
Location Name: 
University of Baltimore Law School, Room AL-1002
Contact
Name: 
Susan Francis
Phone: 
443-451-4084
Sponsor: 
Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service

Breaking Barriers 2015

Date: 
Thu, 09/24/2015 - 5:30pm - 9:00pm

On Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, Maryland Disability Law Center (MDLC) will hold its signature community event, Breaking Barriers. This year, our central theme will be the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Breaking Barriers celebrates the achievements of individuals and organizations engaged in the struggle for the legal rights of people with disabilities, while highlighting the work that lies ahead. In recognition and celebration of the ADA’s 25th anniversary, we will screen Independent Lens’ outstanding documentary “Lives Worth Living” chronicling key events leading to the passage of the ADA. A revered leader of the disability rights movement who features prominently in the film given her contributions to the ADA and other achievements, Judith Heumann, Special Advisor for International Disability Rights at the U.S. State Department, will be present to accept MDLC’s “Lorraine Sheehan Lifetime Achievement Award.” Congressman Steny Hoyer who was instrumental to passing this landmark civil rights law will accept the Public Policy Award, Sidley Austin LLP will receive the Legal Advocate Award, and the Grassroots Advocate Award will be dedicated to the late MDLC attorney Gayle Hafner and presented to Thomas Hicks of Helping Other People through Empowerment (HOPE).

Breaking Barriers brings together people from the disability, legal, nonprofit and business communities from across the state. This event will be held at the University of Baltimore’s modern, accessible Wright Theater and Bogomolny Room, conveniently located at Mount Royal and Maryland Avenues in Baltimore. Our event tickets will be reasonably priced to attract a broad audience and include scrumptious food and drink.

For more info, visit: http://www.mdlclaw.org/news-events/breaking-barriers.
For tickets, see: http://breakingbarriers2015.brownpapertickets.com.

Location
Location Name: 
University of Baltimore Student Center
Address1: 
21 West Mount Royal Avenue
City: 
Baltimore
State: 
MD
Contact
Name: 
Virginia Knowlton Marcus or Lea Gilmore
Phone: 
410-727-6352
Sponsor: 
Maryland Disabilty Law Center

Affidavit Judgments

I happened to be in court this morning and caught wind of a new affidavit judgment procedure, which apparently started in Worcester County and has already made its way to Wicomico.  The clerk was telling a plaintiff who did not see her case on the docket that affidavit judgments are no longer done in the courtroom.

If a defendant does not file an intention to defend, the case is not on the docket at all. 

If a defendant appears on the date of the hearing, and goes to the clerk's office, the defendant is apparently permitted to file an intention to defend with the clerk and the case is rescheduled for trial. 

If the defendant does not get to the clerk's office and the supporting documentation is in order, the Court will review the complaint sub curia and if the documentation is in order enter judgment. 

I suppose there would be some upside if the defendant could write virtually anything and get a continuance and Judges were not making a thresshold determination as to whether there was a viable defense. 

The downside, of course, is that folks may simply go home without going to the clerk's office to find out what to do when the case is not on the docket.  I don't know whether judges or clerks will be making the call as to whether there is enough of an explanation of the defense to warrant .  I am wondering if anyone else has seen this.  If not, I was wondering what your reaction is, since it may be creeping your way.

New Pro Bono Program From the SSA

A new pro bono program seeks volunteers to act as representative payees.  A flyer is attached.  For more information, go to http://www.socialsecurity.gov/payee/probonopilot.htm.

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Rep Payee Pro Bono Program.pdf193.87 KB

foreclosure

Maryland has 3rd highest foreclosure rate:

Pretty cool new demographic website

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At Esri, we believe that geography is at the heart of a more resilient and sustainable future. Governments, industry leaders, academics, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) trust us to connect them with the analytic knowledge they need to make these critical decisions that shape the planet.

We invite you to discover ways that you can leverage our technology and expertise in your own organization. 

Zip Code look up: http://www.esri.com/data/esri_data/ziptapestry-noform

Other demographics: http://www.esri.com/data/esri_data/demographic-overview

MD Code, State Government 10-222.1 Administrative Orders

Has anyone filed a petition for civil enforcement under MD Code, State Government 10-222.1 Administrative Orders? If anyone has any pleadings to share, please email to me at msalomon@hprplaw.org.

Many thanks,

Michelle

MD Code, State Government 10-222.1 Administrative Orders

Has anyone filed a petition for civil enforcement under MD Code, State Government 10-222.1 Administrative Orders? If anyone has any pleadings to share, please email to me at msalomon@hprplaw.org.

Many thanks,

Michelle

International Day of Older Persons 2014: Expanding the Conversation on Domestic Violence

More on International Day of Older Persons from Kathy Greenlee, Assistant Secretary for Aging and Administrator of ACL

Today we join communities around the world in observing the International Day of Older Persons. October 1 was designated by the United Nations in 1990 to recognize the vital contributions of older people to the global community and to encourage member nations to thoughtfully address the aging of the population. At the Administration for Community Living, we are working to ensure that this includes the supports and services necessary for older people to live and contribute in their communities. 

It is also the first day of Domestic Violence Awareness Month in the United States. Throughout the month, projects and events in communities around the nation will work to raise awareness of this often-unseen crime, support victims and survivors, mourn those who have been lost, and connect those working to end domestic violence.

This makes today an ideal time to talk about domestic violence later in life.

We often do not associate domestic violence with older people. To a degree, this assumption is accurate: data from the CDC indicate nearly half of those who are domestic violence victims first experience it between the ages of 18 and 24. But violence does not suddenly stop once a person reaches the age of 60. Older people are the frequent victims of a long list of abusive acts including sexual mistreatment, physical assault, neglect, emotional abuse, exploitation, and financial fraud. A recent UN study estimates that 28 percent of women over the age of 60 experience at least one form of violence and abuse. Unfortunately, domestic violence is underreported across all age groups because of the stigma associated with being a victim. 

In the U.S., two important pieces of legislation, the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act and the Violence Against Women Act, protect survivors of all ages through a national network of domestic violence programs and a coordinated community response to abuse. These laws have markedly improved our nation’s response to domestic violence, but can still do more to protect older people.

This is critical, because domestic violence can continue into old age and worsen over time. Further, violence against older people often results in greater injuries. An older person’s ability to escape violence can be hampered by health conditions, functional limitations, poverty and even greater social isolation. Older people may therefore need specialized support in order to access domestic violence services, such as shelters and hotlines.

The theme of this year’s International Day of Older Persons is Leaving No One Behind: Promoting a Society for All. In order to ensure that we do not leave older people behind, we must first expand our conversations about domestic violence to include the experiences of victims in later life. We must provide protection and support for survivors of domestic violence of all ages. And, as I have said before, we must lift up the voices of survivors and let them be our guides. Only by listening to their experiences will we educate ourselves and one another about the realities of domestic violence.

To help start the conversation, I encourage everyone to read and share Domestic Violence: Older Women Can Be Victims Too, a fact sheet from the National Center on Elder Abuse. Our collective acknowledgement of the impact of violence on older women is the first step to bringing about real change. 

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