Bob Clark and Everyday Law Welcome Judge Dan Friedman of the Maryland Court of Appeals for a discussion of the Maryland Constitution and Ex Post Facto Laws



Everyday Law has been most fortunate to have the regular participation of many members of Maryland's judicial branch. Judges from both the federal court and all levels of Maryland state courts have been kind enough to devote their time to participating in the program.

One such member of the judiciary, Judge Dan Friedman of  the Appellate Court of Maryland, was generous enough to make a return appearance after a several year absence. The primary subject matter of his latest interview was his recently published Maryland Law Review article entitled " Does Article 17 of the Maryland Declaration of Rights Prevent the Maryland General Assembly From Enacting Retroactive Civil Laws?"

The article itself is a fascinating dissection of the plurality opinion engendered in the case of  Doe v Department of Public Safety and Corrections, 430 Md. 535, 62 A.3d 123 (2013) in which Maryland's highest court found that sex offenders who had already committed their crimes and had them adjudicated and had begun or completed their sentences, were being subjected to ex post facto or retroactive legal requirements of registering on a sex offender registry.

What seems clear from the opinion and Judge Friedman's article, is that there was no consensus on the Court, not only with regard to the basis for the decision but also concerning whether the sex registry law constituted an ex post facto criminal or civil law.

This distinction was deemed important owing to the clear cut prohibition of ex post facto criminal laws contained in Article 17 of the Maryland Declaration of Rights. Judge Friedman however posits that perhaps the proper reading of Article 17,  may well prohibit ex post facto civil laws!

So, give the law review article a read and the show a good listen and let us know your thoughts.

Robert V. Clark


Robert V. Clark
Maryland Car Accident and Personal Injury Lawyer