Thoughts From The Publisher's Desk
Shock waves went through the community on Wednesday when accused baby killer Christy Freeman was cleared of all wrongdoing and released from jail because the Medical Examiner's Office could not confirm 'life' in the fetus recovered in 2004. However, it was no surprise to me as my sources have said all along the case was troubled in a number of ways. Despite the recovering of four fetuses from her home, there's no disputing the legal case was a mess from the beginning. There were issues with the alleged confession as well as the fact Freeman's attorney was denied access to her in the early going. However, the case truly hinged on the autopsy results, which killed the case. It was so weak a grand jury could not issue an indictment this week, even though there is a famous legal phrase about prosecutors being able to 'indict a ham sandwich.' It appears the criminal side of this case has now come to a close, but it will be interesting to see how the civil matters progress.
There's something about the cop cars at the Routes 50 and 90 bridges with lights ablaze that doesn't exactly make you feel safe. This has been going on for years, despite the objections of some members of the Ocean City Mayor and Council and many business owners. It happens at least three weekends a year - the Cruisin' events in May and October and Delmarva Bike Week in September. The idea behind stationing (paying) a cop to stand, sit or stroll at the bridges with patrol car lights illuminated is to give the idea of a heightened police presence. That's all well and good, but there needs to be more thought about the perception that goes along with it. It's that feeling of entering a police state rather than a beach resort. I think it's a bad idea and gives the wrong impression. It's also a waste of police resources, especially considering the fact last weekend on two occasions I noticed the officer standing guard talking on a cell phone.
The General Assembly will likely be convened in Annapolis in a couple months to consider Gov. Martin O'Malley's plan to reconcile a $1.5 billion budget gap. The governor's plan includes a 1-percent increase in the state sales tax; boosting the income tax for the wealthy and cutting it for most households; legalizing slots; increasing the corporate income tax; raising vehicle titling taxes; a $1-a-pack increase in the cigarette tax; and a reduction in the state property tax. There are other specifics that have not been flushed out extensively, but those are the main points O'Malley has offered. Insiders say the plan has a good chance of sweeping easily through the Senate with little changes. The House side may be a different story, especially regarding slots. However, Marylanders are destined to see a higher sales tax as most Democrats see this as an easy way to raise an estimated $750 million next year.
After looking over the statistics from the four-day Delmarva Bike Week, it's interesting to see how mostly well behaved the more than 100,000 bikers were while in the area. According to Ocean City Police Department numbers, there 38 total arrests, 19 of which were criminal. There's no reason to diminish any criminal actions, but considering the amount of bikers here it's remarkable there were not any serious reports. As a matter of fact, the Ocean City Police Department issued not one report on any misbehavior at all in the resort.
In a 4-3 ruling, the Maryland Court of Appeals refused to acknowledge same-sex marriage, upholding the state's definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman. The complicated ruling was closely tracked on a national level and will surely be part of a heated discussion in the legislature next year. It's interesting to note Court of Appeals Judge Dale Cathell, the former Worcester County District and Circuit Court Judge and Ocean City town solicitor, sided with the majority.
As of Wednesday morning, Baltimore city had registered this year 223 homicides, compared to 197 to date last year. Imagine what that number would be if Charm City was not home to some of the premier medical facilities in the country.