August News

August brought some disturbing developments in several domestic violence court cases in Maryland
(see links to stories below). August also brought federal convictions in the 2015 murder of Karlyn Ramirez by her husband and his mistress. Ramirez
was an active duty soldier at Fort Mead.

All these cases highlight important systemic problems worth thinking about and addressing.

In several weeks Court Watch volunteers will start collecting a new set of data in domestic violence courtrooms. We'll keep you updated on what we learn.

We hope you'll work with us to push for needed reforms to make sure that domestic violence victims and survivors have true access to justice.


Laurie Duker
Co-Founder and Executive Director
Powerful tool to get guns out of abuser hands coming soon

Beginning October 1, police, domestic violence victims and others will be able to file for an Extreme Risk Protective Order.
If an interim or temporary order is granted the Sheriff's Office will be able to temporarily seize all guns in the respondent's possession pending the outcome of the court case.

How will the new system work?

 How could we improve judicial accountability in Maryland?

Maryland may have one of the least accountable judiciaries in the country. We have no system for ABA-endorsed judicial evaluations, as do many other states. Terms for judges are also among the longest nation-wide.

At Court Watch, we've been evaluating other state's judicial accountability and transparency laws and programs, such as the Utah model. We're looking at what combination of approaches might make the most sense for Maryland.

More on this project next month!
Court Watch charts Montgomery County District Court judges'
use of 5 key practices

In 2010, a panel of judges and others brought together by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges identified a list of practices that could improve domestic violence case outcomes by ensuring access justice for victims.

How are our local judges measuring up? (See our June 28th report.) Every one of the practices studied in our report should be used 100% of the time in relevant protective order cases.

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