Trial Lawyers Gone Wild

The Baltimore Examiner editorial page is irking the right people, two in particular, Delegate Sandy (Fantasy Camp) Rosenberg, and Peter Angelos crony and trial lawyer Thomas Minkin.

Loathe as I am to borrow from steroidal compassionate conservative Mike Huckabee but, if the Examiner is taking flak from these two, then they must be over the target.

Rosenberg and Minkin took time away from ordering yet another feast of taxpayer dollars for trial lawyers to chastise the Examiner for having the temerity to point out that they are… ordering another feast of taxpayer dollars.

Both Rosenberg and Minkin resort to the predictable “for the children argument.”

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Rosenberg: “Through my efforts and those of many others, we have significantly reduced the number of children irreparably harmed by this preventable disease. Nonetheless, the lives of thousands of Maryland children have been harmed by lead paint poisoning.”

Minkin: “In your latest salvo, you found it necessary to criticize members of the Maryland Trial Lawyers Association with regard to some members acting on behalf of children poisoned by lead paint throughout the region.”

I have no doubt of efforts to hold lead paint manufacturers accountable are intended to help children who suffered from lead related illnesses. However, I question delegate Rosenberg’s commitment to help children when billable hours are not on the line.

You see, Delegate Rosenberg, along with other members of the tort lobby had a huge opportunity to something “for the children” back in 2006, yet they resisted.

The story of Jessica’s Law in Maryland is fairly well known. In 2007, a groundswell of citizen and media activism embarrassed the recalcitrant chairs of the House and Senate judiciary committees, and persuaded the General Assembly to unanimously approve mandatory minimum sentences for child sex offenders.

However, the same legislation was on the table in 2006, yet a majority of the legislators voted against Jessica’s Law. Read the entire story here.

In 2006, Jessica’s Law did not make it past the Democrat majorities in the House and Senate. Many of the same Democrats, who voted unanimously for legislation this past session, killed it in the 2006 session. They killed Jessica’s Law by wrapping it into larger legislation in order to strip out mandatory minimum sentences in the amendment process. The most notable opponent was then delegate Anthony Brown, now our secretive Lt. Governor. Brown strong-armed delegates at the last minute to kill the bill on procedural votes. Republican Tony O’Donnell tried to keep the bill before the house but was rejected (83-52) and Joe Vallarrio, Brown’s ally succeeded in his motion to recommit the bill (69-63) back to his judiciary committee where it was effectively dead. The two procedural votes came down along party lines. Take note of the vote count and how so-called “progressive” Democrats voted against a bill that protects children. The General Assembly did pass watered down version of Jessica’s Law in the 2006 special session.

Look at Rosenberg’s two votes and you will see that his concern “for the children” is shallow, unless, as with the lead paint legislation, it helps line the pockets of trial lawyers. Trial lawyers don’t like mandatory minimum sentences, whereas they love legislation that opens up a floodgate of public money to pay for billable hours.

Furthermore, a bill introduced to plug the dimunition loophole for child sex offenders during this current legislative session, currently sits in the desk drawers of Joe Vallarrio and Brian Frosh, chairs of the house and senate judiciary committees.

Will Delegate Rosenberg pen a similar self-righteous oped condemning Vallarrio and Frosh for obstructing this piece of child friendly legislation from reaching a vote?

Instead of seeking new pork for the tort lobby, perhaps delegate Rosenberg–Orioles fan that he is–should lobby Minkin to press his boss Angelos to field a better on field product at Camden Yards.

crossposted on The Main Adversary

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