Amici brief filed by the University of Maryland School of Law’s Clinical Program and members of the Baltimore legal community including legal educators, lawyers, student attorneys, service providers, government administrators, community based organizations, and nationally recognized individuals from community justice initiatives and organizations on Respondent’s behalf. The individuals and organizations represented in the brief have all collaborated together to build and support what are colloquially known as “problem solving dockets”: courts that are specialized, alternative sentencing dockets that offer diversionary programs to qualified offenders. The dockets are run out of Maryland’s district and circuit courts, but not separate, freestanding judicial institutions. Two issues were to be considered by the Court of Appeals: 1) Do Maryland’s alternative sentencing dockets lack fundamental jurisdiction by violating the Maryland Constitution and exceeding judicial authority? 2) Do alternative sentencing dockets engage in procedures that violate criminal due process rights and exercise judicial bias? The amici brief argues that the Maryland Constitution grants courts broad and extensive authority to structure alternative sentencing dockets within Maryland’s judiciary system and utilize these dockets to administer justice, thereby making these dockets constitutional. The brief points to the dockets specifically authorized by the Maryland legislature and that the existence of the statutory scheme quells the petitioner’s claims of due process violations, judicial bias, and double jeopardy. The brief then further considers whether there should be state-wide, minimum standards for alternative sentencing dockets and what are the pros and cons of implementing standardization
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