BALT Files Lawsuit Challenging Maryland Ban on Broadcasting Criminal Trial Proceedings

A group of journalists and community organizations has filed a federal lawsuit challenging a Maryland law that prohibits people from broadcasting recordings of criminal trial proceedings.  The lawsuit is the latest in an ongoing effort to oppose § 1-201 of Maryland’s Code of Criminal Procedure.  That provision makes it illegal to broadcast a recording of any criminal “trial, hearing, motion, or argument” held in a trial court, including recordings that were lawfully obtained from court itself.

The plaintiffs argue that § 1-201 violates the First Amendment by barring them from disseminating accurate depictions of public court proceedings.  Two of the plaintiffs, journalists Brandon Soderberg and Baynard Woods, hope to use trial recordings in future reporting and in an upcoming documentary about a now-defunct Baltimore police unit whose members were indicted on federal racketeering charges in 2017.  Soderberg and Woods lawfully purchased trial recordings directly from the courthouse but are hesitant to use them in their film because of § 1‑201’s broadcasting ban.

Informing the Community | Update on Revising BPD's Use of Force Policy

In accordance with the consent decree, DOJ and BPD are seeking input on BPD policies.  Although the initial comment period has expired for BPD's Use of Force policy, BALT has provided feedback on the latest draft of the policy.  DOJ’s draft policy revisions for Policy 1115 Use of Force mostly address BALT’s initial recommendations for BPD policy reform.

BALT calls on the BPD to implement de-escalation techniques and training, improve crisis intervention and response, and increase transparency and accountability.

Community Forums for Consent Decree Independent Monitor Finalists

The first community forum will be held on Tuesday, August 15, 2017, at the Baltimore City Community College (Fine Arts Auditorium, 2901 Liberty Heights Avenue Baltimore, MD 21215), from 6-8PM.

The second community forum will be held on Wednesday, August 16, 2017, at Morgan State University (Student Center, 2nd floor, Ballroom C, 1700 East Cold Spring Lane Baltimore, MD 21251), from 6-8PM.