MD public corruption charges, and how an experienced attorney can help, P.1

Previously, we wrote about the termination of several high-level officials from the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. As we noted, the terminations were based on alleged misconduct, about which we don’t know anything official as of yet.

Misconduct is a word that can be used for a variety of activities, and doesn’t necessarily always indicate public corruption, in the sense of activity that could become the target of criminal investigation and criminal charges. Misconduct, in many cases, refers to violations of state ethics codes, and different states treat such violations differently. In some cases, an ethics violation can result in criminal charges, and in others, not.

Here in Maryland, criminal penalties for public corruption are imposed on public employees who use their authority for personal gain. Maryland’s criminal code prohibits public employees from demanding or receiving a bribe, fee, reward or testimonial aimed at influencing the performance of his or her official duties, including neglecting or failing to perform official duties. The state criminal code targets not only public officials who accept bribery, but also those who offer bribes.

State law defines a public employee as any officer or employee of the state or a political subdivision of the state, including executive officers, judges, judicial officers, members and officers of the General Assembly, and members of the police force.

In our next post, we’ll pick back up on this discussion and look briefly at how an experienced criminal defense attorney can help a public corruption defendant to build the strongest possible case.


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