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December 2013

In this issue:

Pamela Ortiz Discusses the Task Force to Study Implementing a Civil Right to Counsel in Maryland on NPR

Maryland Commission on Child Custody Decision Making Holds Final Public Hearing

Pro Bono Service Data for 2012 Now Available

Happy Holidays from the Delivery of Legal Services section!

Have an idea for a story or announcement in a future newsletter?  Email Dave.Pantzer@mdcourts.gov.

Pamela Ortiz Discusses the Task Force to Study Implementing a Civil Right to Counsel in Maryland on NPR

On December 6, 2013, Pamela Ortiz, the Executive Director of the Maryland Access to Justice Commission, appeared on Maryland Morning with Sheilah Kast.  Ms. Ortiz discussed the activities of the Task Force to Study Implementing a Civil Right to Counsel in Maryland.

http://programs.wypr.org/podcast/should-poor-marylanders-have-free-access-lawyer-certain-civil-cases

http://www.mdcourts.gov/mdatjc/taskforcecivilcounsel/index.html

Maryland Commission on Child Custody Decision Making Holds Final Public Hearing

On December 11, 2013, the Maryland Commission on Child Custody Decision Making held its final public hearing, in Prince George’s County at the Bowie Library. 

According to the Maryland Judiciary website, the Commission, formed during the 2013 legislative session, “will study all aspects of child custody decision-making in Maryland, including the principles governing it, and current practice and processes.” 

“The study will encompass how to make child custody orders and modifications fairer, more uniform, and equitable; reduce litigation in child custody proceedings; promote and ensure children’s continued relationships with both parents; and maximize involvement of both parents in a child’s life. Further, the Commission will consider how the Court may mitigate adverse effects of child custody litigation, as well as the advantages, disadvantages, and impact on children of joint physical custody. In addition, the Commission is to evaluate the governing statutes in other states, and consider whether Maryland law needs a statute specific to child custody decisions.

“Other issues related to child custody to be considered by the Commission include: whether gender discrimination exists in custody decisions, and if so, how to address it; the role of case management systems; training programs currently available to judges; how domestic violence proceedings and interventions affect custody determinations; and whether language can be standardized for custody determinations. Finally, the Commission is to gather quantitative data on total number and disposition of contested custody cases, and the availability of pro bono legal resources to petitioners and respondents.”

This story is taken from http://mdcourts.gov/family/cccdm.html.

Pro Bono Service Data for 2012 Now Available

According to a report released on November 27, nearly 45% of Maryland lawyers reported performing pro bono services in 2012, totaling over 1.16 million hours.  The Eastern and Western Regions of the state led the way; in both regions 75% or more of full-time lawyers indicated they served at some level.  In Talbot County, nearly one half of the full-time lawyers fulfilled the aspirational requirement of 50 hours of service.

For much more information, visit http://mdcourts.gov/probono/pdfs/probonoreport2012.pdf.

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