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81-Year-Old Great-Grandmother Jailed For 2 Days For Pet Violation
CBS Baltimore ^ | 3-14-2014 | Gigi Barnett

Posted on 03/14/2014 1:04:00 PM PDT by rednesss

HARFORD COUNTY, Md. (WJZ)—An 81-year-old great-grandmother is placed behind bars for a minor pet violation committed nearly a year ago. The Harford County woman says she tried paying thousands of dollars in fines but couldn’t afford them.

As Gigi Barnett explains, the senior citizen says her punishment doesn’t fit the crime.

Mary Magdalene Root’s small dogs are her constant companions. So much so that the 81-year-old widow spent two nights in the Harford County Detention Center fighting to keep them.

“I’ve never had a crime. Never. Not even a traffic ticket,” Root said.

Back in May, Root says her pets somehow got loose from her yard several times.

A neighbor took pictures of the dogs running down the street and reported her to Animal Control.

The agency slapped Root with a $7,000 fine or she could spend nearly a year in jail.

“I’m struggling to pay my house taxes. I couldn’t pay it. It’s a different thing when you leave your dogs out and you don’t care. But I do care,” Root said.

But when the cancer survivor failed to show up at court on her doctor’s orders, a judge had Root arrested.

She was booked, fingerprinted and issued a striped jumpsuit. She waited to see a judge in a cell without her cancer medication.

“I sort of clutched my Bible. And was crying and went to sleep,” Root said.

Root’s defense attorneys asked the judge to let the senior citizen go. She had no previous criminal history and she was in failing health. The judge said no. Instead, he ordered her to pay a $2,500 bail. And if she was able to pay it and get out, then no animals would be allowed back on her property.

“She gave me the works. I feel like I’m a criminal, but yet I don’t feel like I’ve done anything,” Root said.

Then on the second night, a Good Samaritan paid the bond.

“There are very nice people out there. But then there are some people who are so struck on the strictness of the law. I don’t know whether maybe that needs to be looked at,” Root said.

But now she can’t go back to her home of 44 years. Under the judge’s orders, the dogs aren’t allowed.

But Root can’t give them up.

“I love them,” she said. “I was planning on coming down on the dogs. But my dogs, they keep my company and I love them.”

Root says she’s had an outpouring of support from people in the community. In fact, there’s a petition asking lawmakers to make cases like this a little more lenient for senior citizens.

“I don’t know if I’ll ever be the same. I can’t pull myself back,” Root said.

Root says she was taking care of her daughter’s four dogs at the time of her arrest. Now, she’s looking for good homes for the dogs.


TOPICS:
KEYWORDS: donutwatch
We need to bring back tarring and feathering for judges and others who do this kind of stuff.
1 posted on 03/14/2014 1:04:00 PM PDT by rednesss
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To: rednesss

The old lady needs some real help. She shouldn’t have pets unless she can take care of them. It turns into a matter for the SPCA. Sad.


2 posted on 03/14/2014 1:05:50 PM PDT by cloudmountain
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To: rednesss

does this judge run for election?


3 posted on 03/14/2014 1:07:02 PM PDT by Mr. K (If you like your constitution, you can keep it...Period.)
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To: rednesss

It’s all about the Benjamins— every layer of government acts more and more like bandits, and their agents should be treated as such.


4 posted on 03/14/2014 1:08:52 PM PDT by pierrem15 (Claudius: "Let all the poisons that lurk in the mud hatch out.")
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To: rednesss

I didn’t see a name for the judge. Is that available to the public?


5 posted on 03/14/2014 1:09:01 PM PDT by RedMDer (May we always be happy and may our enemies always know it. - Sarah Palin, 10-18-2010)
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To: rednesss

$7000.00 for loose dogs! That’s unreal, Lady sell that house and find an American community to live in! I will say maybe she should have made the court appearance or at least contacted the court!


6 posted on 03/14/2014 1:09:16 PM PDT by DocJhn
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To: Mr. K

She probably gets a percentage of the fines.


7 posted on 03/14/2014 1:09:35 PM PDT by pierrem15 (Claudius: "Let all the poisons that lurk in the mud hatch out.")
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To: rednesss
“The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly.”-Abraham Lincoln

8 posted on 03/14/2014 1:10:16 PM PDT by skinkinthegrass (The end move in politics is always to pick up a gun..0'Caligula / 0'Reid / 0'Pelosi)
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To: RedMDer

That’s what I want to know.


9 posted on 03/14/2014 1:13:54 PM PDT by KGeorge (Till we're together again, Gypsy girl. May 28, 1998- June 3, 2013)
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To: rednesss
Root’s defense attorneys asked the judge to let the senior citizen go. She had no previous criminal history and she was in failing health. The judge said no. Instead, he ordered her to pay a $2,500 bail. And if she was able to pay it and get out, then no animals would be allowed back on her property.

Clearly this is a judge who has no idea what the terms "justice" and "judicial restraint" mean.

He should be afforded the same judicial compassion he affords this woman: tar, feather and hang the bastard.

10 posted on 03/14/2014 1:13:58 PM PDT by usconservative (When The Ballot Box No Longer Counts, The Ammunition Box Does. (What's In Your Ammo Box?))
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To: rednesss; Slings and Arrows

It could have been worse. It could have been cats.


11 posted on 03/14/2014 1:16:25 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Embrace the Lion of Judah and He will roar for you and teach you to roar too. See my page.)
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To: rednesss

So, does this “judge” get a piece of the action when he hands out fines?


12 posted on 03/14/2014 1:27:01 PM PDT by Fresh Wind (The last remnants of the Old Republic have been swept away.)
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To: rednesss
When an Executive, Judicial or Legislative branch has nothing to fear from the electorate, these things and worse will happen.

All three need to be re-educated. Make them learn that, in fact, they DO have something to fear from the electorate. Time is growing short.

13 posted on 03/14/2014 1:27:32 PM PDT by Bloody Sam Roberts (Do I really need ot use the sarcasm tag?)
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To: RedMDer
More information here:

Harford County great-grandmother released from jail

Judge Mimi Cooper

14 posted on 03/14/2014 1:28:49 PM PDT by lysie
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To: Fresh Wind
“She gave me the works. I feel like I’m a criminal, but yet I don’t feel like I’ve done anything,”

From that comment, it's apparent the Judge is a "she".

Probably with mother/control issues.

15 posted on 03/14/2014 1:34:41 PM PDT by Axenolith (Government blows, and that which governs least, blows least...)
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To: usconservative

Was in trafffic court the other day and they had probation violations up first. The judge told a young man that since he was doing his community service, making visits to probation officer and testing clean but was just out of work and couldn’t pay fines he would let do additional community service at the rate off min wage to go toward his fine. I thought that was the fairest judge I ever saw.


16 posted on 03/14/2014 1:46:41 PM PDT by autumnraine
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To: lysie
Judge Mimi Cooper

This judge?

17 posted on 03/14/2014 1:47:50 PM PDT by rjsimmon (The Tree of Liberty Thirsts)
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To: rednesss
The judge is an over zealous piece of crap.

That said , these types of cases need to be cataloged/memorized.

They are concrete examples of how completely out of control our government is- and why making it "all powerful" - is a very bad idea.

18 posted on 03/14/2014 1:48:34 PM PDT by Pajamajan (Pray for our nation. Thank the Lord for everything you have. Don't wait. Do it today.)
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To: RedMDer

Harford County District Judge Mimi Cooper

19 posted on 03/14/2014 1:48:59 PM PDT by lysie
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To: lysie

Apparently she has been pulled over twice for suspicion of DUI, but miraculously has never been arrested. Hmmmm....


20 posted on 03/14/2014 1:50:31 PM PDT by rednesss (fascism is the union,marriage,merger or fusion of corporate economic power with governmental power)
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To: rednesss

Judge Mimi Cooper that is, not the 81 year old


21 posted on 03/14/2014 1:51:00 PM PDT by rednesss (fascism is the union,marriage,merger or fusion of corporate economic power with governmental power)
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To: rjsimmon

About as useless??? ;-)


22 posted on 03/14/2014 1:53:04 PM PDT by lysie
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To: cloudmountain; Joe 6-pack

“She shouldn’t have pets unless she can take care of them. “

What dog owner has not had Fido or Rover get loose once or twice? Everyone I know who owns dogs has had them get loose and go off running the Boston Marathon down the road.

This is about some nosy neighbor who wanted to be an a$$ and ended up putting a sick old lady in jail.


23 posted on 03/14/2014 1:55:21 PM PDT by Morgana (Wagglebee please come home we miss you!)
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To: rednesss
But then there are some people who are so struck on the strictness of the law.

Don't be so naive, ma'am...you have a bastard for a neighbor who was out to get you for one reason or another.

24 posted on 03/14/2014 1:56:55 PM PDT by who knows what evil? (Yehovah saved more animals than people on the ark...www.siameserescue.org.)
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To: rednesss

The cops and the judge didn’t have to worry about anything. This was going to be an easy arrest and conviction. Adds up, when you look at the crime statistics.

No pesky civil rights lawyers or jesse jacksons to contend with. Just an old lady. They should all be this easy.

So the cowards gave her a fine. Kinda like the “zero tolerance” crowd that has a 6 year old boy arrested for drawing a picture of a gun.

Listen up you judges: The criminal justice system is for crimes! You know, murder, rape, assault, knockout “game.” Those things that you don’t like to prosecute because the perps are just innocent victims of a racist society.

Easier to prosecute an 81 year old lady.


25 posted on 03/14/2014 1:57:07 PM PDT by I want the USA back (Media: completely irresponsible traitors. Complicit in the destruction of our country.)
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To: lysie

I just did a google search on her. Numerous accusations of corruption, speeding, driving under the influence and above all acting like every defendant is already guilty and lording over the courtroom like it’s hers personally.

Remind me never to visit Harford County, Maryland.


26 posted on 03/14/2014 1:58:24 PM PDT by Alas Babylon!
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To: Morgana

Let’s put the nosy neighbor in the hoosegow instead.


27 posted on 03/14/2014 2:01:50 PM PDT by cloudmountain
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To: autumnraine
Agree, there's a judge who knows how to use judicial discretion to apply justice.

When you think about it, that judge was involved at a critical point in that young man's life. He could've either thrown the book at him and taken a hard line, which would've made that man's recovery from his addiction harder, or he could've encouraged him to stay clean and give him an alternative option to pay his debts.

That was a wise judge. Hope that young man stays clean and turns his life around.

28 posted on 03/14/2014 2:02:01 PM PDT by usconservative (When The Ballot Box No Longer Counts, The Ammunition Box Does. (What's In Your Ammo Box?))
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To: lysie

So that’s what happened to Marjoe Gortner!


29 posted on 03/14/2014 2:06:11 PM PDT by Mastador1 (I'll take a bad dog over a good politician any day!)
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To: usconservative

Agree.I think this judge may have made an impact on this young man. BTW the next fellow did nothing and got his butt thrown back in jail.


30 posted on 03/14/2014 2:14:04 PM PDT by autumnraine
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To: DocJhn

I think the fine was failure to appear in court. Not for the loose dogs.

We are reading a TV news article here. And as such it is poorly written.


31 posted on 03/14/2014 2:23:50 PM PDT by Responsibility2nd (NO LIBS. This Means Liberals and (L)libertarians! Same Thing. NO LIBS!!)
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To: Alas Babylon!

Okay. AB!, never to visit Harford County, Maryland.


32 posted on 03/14/2014 2:25:56 PM PDT by lysie
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To: Mastador1

Wow! Very similar looking, indeed.


33 posted on 03/14/2014 2:29:10 PM PDT by lysie
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To: rednesss

I think they used hot tar back in the day.....but either way, I agree and your comment was well said.


34 posted on 03/14/2014 3:03:48 PM PDT by C.O. Correspondence (Most bad government has grown out of too much government. . Tommy J)
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To: Axenolith

Sorry, my sexism got the best of me.


35 posted on 03/14/2014 3:06:49 PM PDT by Fresh Wind (The last remnants of the Old Republic have been swept away.)
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To: rjsimmon

Ninnie Cooper, not Mini Cooper.


36 posted on 03/14/2014 3:16:05 PM PDT by Cboldt
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To: Alas Babylon!

Actually, Harford County is pretty nice. A lot of it is conservative. Don’t let this judge be your example of what the people are like there.


37 posted on 03/14/2014 3:18:16 PM PDT by Bigg Red (1 Pt 1: As he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in every aspect of your conduct.)
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To: lysie

Here is the explanation:

She is a mental health judge!!!

MIMI RAFFEL COOPER, Associate Judge, District Court of Maryland, District 9, Harford County, since November 8, 1999.

Presiding Judge, Mental Health Court Program, 2004-. Chair, Judicial Education Committee, 2002- (member, 2001-), District Court of Maryland. Member, Administrative Judges Committee, District Court of Maryland, 2002-.

Member, Mental Health, Alcoholism and Addiction Committee, 2002-05, 2006-09, 2013-, and Problem-Solving Courts Committee, 2007- (mental health oversight committee, 2007-), Maryland Judicial Conference.

Assistant State’s Attorney, Baltimore City, 1988-95. Assistant State’s Attorney, Harford County, 1995-99.

Born in Washington, DC, March 26, 1962. Attended Atholton High School, Columbia, Maryland; University of Maryland, College Park, B.A. (political science), 1984; University of Baltimore School of Law, J.D., 1987.

Law clerk to Judge Rosalyn B. Bell, Court of Special Appeals, 1987-88. Admitted to Maryland Bar, 1988. Member, Maryland State Bar Association (alternative dispute resolution section; alternative dispute resolution section council, 2003-04);

Harford County Bar Association (executive council, 2011-); Women’s Bar Association of Maryland; National Association of Women Judges. Mary Guisewhite Award, Harford County Mental Health Forum, 2004.


38 posted on 03/14/2014 3:28:27 PM PDT by tired&retired
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To: rednesss; cloudmountain; Morgana; Responsibility2nd
What dog owner has not had Fido or Rover get loose once or twice?

I agree that the fines and her being jailed for missing her court appearance seems excessive and this judge sounds like an a$$ but this evidently wasn’t a once or twice occurrence. Another article mentions that a local company donated their services to fix her fence so that rather negates the “someone left the gate open one time and my dogs got out this one time when I wasn’t looking” defense.

”Back in May, Root says her pets “somehow” got loose from her yard several times.”

And

“I’m struggling to pay my house taxes. I couldn’t pay it. It’s a different thing when you leave your dogs out and you don’t care. But I do care,” Root said….But when the cancer survivor failed to show up at court on her doctor’s orders, a judge had Root arrested."

But according to this article she had 7 dogs, including 4 that belong to her to her daughter who sounds like she might currently be “homeless”.

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/harford/aberdeen-havre-de-grace/ph-ag-dog-lady-update-0314-20140312,0,2723700,full.story

It also says she’s taken in strays ….evidently both of the animal and “human” variety.

Although Root said she is close to her animals and her daughter said previously her mother has taken in strays, another member of the family pleaded guilty to animal cruelty charges four years ago.

Root's great-granddaughter, Megan Dawn Wagoner, who is now 22, pleaded guilty to one count of mutilating an animal in 2010. Wagoner was living at Root's home at the time and was accused of killing a stray cat, then skinning it.

Wagoner spent two months in jail in 2011.She is currently on supervised probation and has a 17-month-old son.

Gifford said Wagoner, who is her adopted daughter and is the biological daughter of Root's grandson, did not kill the cat, but did skin it, and pleaded guilty on the recommendation of her public defender to get less jail time.

Gifford said her adopted daughter had been told by the person who killed to cat to skin it.

"She didn't think that she was going to do anything wrong, and she's trying to come forward with that," Gifford said.

While I feel a bit sorry for the poor old woman, she also does not seem to have her priorities straight; she’s struggling to pay her property taxes yet has money to care for 7 dogs? And there seems to be a lot of “blame everyone else” and some other weird goings on in that family. Not sure they sound like model neighbors. JM2C.

I think the fine was failure to appear in court. Not for the loose dogs.

She was fined $75 for each dog running loose and some fines for not having dog licenses for 4 of the dogs (I’m guessing the 4 belonging to her daughter) and in another separate and unrelated case, fined for having a dog at large, but she was jailed for failing to show up for her court appearance. I’m sorry but the “my doctor told me not to appear in court” doesn’t pass the smell test. If she was really that ill, her doctor could have called or written a letter to the judge explaining why she was too frail and sickly to appear.

And some are quick to declare her neighbor as being a jerk for reporting her, but then again we don’t know how many times the neighbor had found her dogs running amok all over his property or what other nuisances he might have put up with before he reported her.

FWIW, when my husband and I bought our first house, our next door neighbors had 5 (maybe 6 or 7, it was hard to keep count) big hound dogs. Their yard wasn’t fenced and they used to tie up the dogs with clothes line which often broke. More than once and more than just a few times I had the “Bumpus Hounds” running through my back yard, once running through our back yard cookout, knocking over the kids, jumping up on the picnic table and absconding with hamburgers and hot dogs. One time I had several nearly knock me over as I was bringing groceries from the car to the back door. Reminded me of this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPRdj1Ce4ao

The first time it happened, when I found the neighbors dogs in my yard, I assumed they had gotten loose by accident and being a good neighbor and an animal lover and fearing that they might run into the street and get hit by a car, I got a hold of them and walked them back to my neighbor’s house, introducing myself. And did I get a “Thank you” or even “I’m sorry”? No, the two nasty lesbian “biotches” who lived there and who owned these dogs glared at me as if I had done something wrong and without saying a word or even making eye contact with me, took their dogs back into their house.

Thankfully a year later they sold the house to a nice young couple who later after we became friends, told me how deplorable the condition of the house was, how it smelled of dog urine and how there was dog feces all over the house, how none of the female dogs were fixed and that there was blood stains on the walls and on the raggy carpet, how the lesbians (who refused to speak to the husband during the settlement) were also hoarders and how much work they had to put in to renovate the house before they could make it livable enough to even move in (but then they did get a very good price for it and it was a 200 year old house, that they restored and made absolutely beautiful).

My point is that this article makes the woman out to be a poor victim of a nasty neighbor and an unfeeling judge, but I think, just perhaps that we may not be getting the entire story.

39 posted on 03/14/2014 3:35:13 PM PDT by MD Expat in PA
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To: AnAmericanMother; Titan Magroyne; Badeye; SandRat; arbooz; potlatch; afraidfortherepublic; ...
WOOOF!

Computer Hope

The Doggie Ping list is for FReepers who would like to be notified of threads relating to all things canid. If you would like to join the Doggie Ping Pack (or be unleashed from it), FReemail me.

40 posted on 03/14/2014 4:29:04 PM PDT by Joe 6-pack (Qui me amat, amat et canem meum.)
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To: rednesss

The judge should be jailed.


41 posted on 03/14/2014 4:33:01 PM PDT by Altariel ("Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!")
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To: DocJhn

Agree


42 posted on 03/14/2014 4:51:33 PM PDT by freekitty (Give me back my conservative vote; then find me a real conservative to vote for)
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To: MD Expat in PA
I'm with you.
Morgana can go take a long walk off of a short pier.
43 posted on 03/14/2014 5:09:42 PM PDT by cloudmountain
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To: cloudmountain

I sent it to Drudge


44 posted on 03/14/2014 6:00:09 PM PDT by chicagolady (Mexican Elite say: EXPORT Poverty and Let the the Stupid AmericanTaxpayer foot the bill !)
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To: rednesss
The agency slapped Root with a $7,000 fine or she could spend nearly a year in jail.

I don't ever want to hear another word about "corporate greed" when government is far, far greedier than any corporation.

45 posted on 03/14/2014 6:03:57 PM PDT by denydenydeny (Admiration of absolute government is proportionate to the contempt one has for others.-Tocqueville)
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To: Cboldt
Ninnie Cooper, not Mini Cooper.

My mistake...

46 posted on 03/14/2014 7:26:14 PM PDT by rjsimmon (The Tree of Liberty Thirsts)
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To: tired&retired

Here’s your root problem right here:

“Born in Washington, DC, March 26, 1962. Attended Atholton High School, Columbia, Maryland;”

Or as I know it growing up, Kolumbia. (Only good thing is Atholton was pretty old-school, at the time.)


47 posted on 03/14/2014 7:27:34 PM PDT by the OlLine Rebel (Common sense is an uncommon virtue./Technological progress cannot be legislated.)
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To: the OlLine Rebel

Columbia, Maryland

Isn’t that where the NSA is located?


48 posted on 03/14/2014 7:39:30 PM PDT by tired&retired
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To: rednesss

This country has gone to hell! There are so many wrongs in this story.


49 posted on 03/14/2014 9:13:41 PM PDT by TexasRepublic (Socialism is the gospel of envy and the religion of thieves)
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To: MD Expat in PA
This judge has a history of holding people without bond for misdemeanors.

Public defender challenges Harford bail decisions

And if the elderly lady is an animal hoarder or whatever, then they need to get senior services involved, not turn the jail into a nursing home.

Honestly, I'm curious if the county jail is run by a for profit contractor that the judge is a secret stakeholder in or is receiving kickbacks for every one she holds w/o bail.

50 posted on 03/14/2014 10:27:31 PM PDT by Valpal1 (If the police can t solve a problem with violence, they ll find a way to fix it with brute force)
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