Maryland Emancipation Day is November 1

Last night, John Stauffer lectured about the parallel lives of Frederick Douglas and Abraham Lincoln described in a book he wrote, “Giants.” Not only was he the best lecturer I have ever experienced in a long life of geekiness…..but I learned many things.

I learned that the Emancipation Proclamation did not free Maryland slaves — the Emancipation Proclamation that Abraham Lincoln signed January 1, 1863, only freed slaves in the rebelling states. Since Maryland remained loyal to the union (at least as a “border” state), Maryland slaves were not freed until November 1, 1864 when a new Maryland constitution was adopted which freed slaves and outlawed slavery. Apparently, the initial vote on adopting the constitution had failed to adopt it and was extremely close. A second election was held for the the returning Maryland union troops to vote for passage and the second vote was successful.

There are things I learn about our Maryland history that fill me with pride from time to time. For example, our constitution provided for much more dramatic civil liberties than the US constitution. Last night I learned that Maryland was the first state to vote for ratification the 13th amendment. The amendment was passed by Congress January 31, 1865 and the Maryland House of Delegates voted for ratification the same day.

The substance of the lecture about Douglas and Lincoln was fascinating. By way of example, Douglas was born a slave and secretly learned to read. Lincoln had no formal education and had a father who discouraged and belittled education. Consequently, both were “self-made” men. Both, in their youth, self read and self studied the same six core books: the Bible, Shakespeare, Aesop’s Fables, Robert Burns, Lord Byron and The Columbian Orator. I also learned that the definition of “self-made men” meant only only self-educated and successful but also included a going on to help others. (I just ordered Aesop’s Fables from Barnesandnoble.com to see what I missed from many years ago).

There are Emancipation Day celebrations that remain this week. Thursday, October 30, there is an interpretative acting event at Maryland Hall. Friday at noon a “Libation Ceremony” at the city dock. Saturday, at 10 am at the State House, Emancipation Day will be proclaimed and a quilt prepared by people from all over the state will be unveiled. The quilt is reputed to be a fabulous item and everyone is encouraged to attend.

I am quite eager to read the book and hope that it is at least half as engaging as the lecture. I learned about the lecture from Cynthia Clark, who said she was attending. There was no sign of Cynthia at the lecture. In an abundance of enthusiasm, I got her a book for Christmas despite her absence.

Voting

Early Voting Ends Today.  Election Day is November 4, 2014

Cynthia Clark accompanied our office assistant, Morgan Dietz, to the polls to vote for her first time.  We are all so proud of Morgan and the work she did studying the candidates.    We can all remember the first time we were old enough to vote and what an event it was for us.

Early Voting Starts Today

BE SURE TO VOTE IN THE YEAR’S IMPORTANT ELECTIONS.

EARLY VOTING STARTS TODAY.

This year we election state and county offices, Congressional office, as well as deciding some ballot questions. Early voting starts today and runs through October 30, 2014. This is the link to determine the locations of early voting places.

Vote in Maryland: You Must Register Today

Clients are often concerned that the law does not seem to be “fair” in various areas.  The Maryland Legislature and Governor determine Maryland family law.  The entire legislature as well as the Governor will be elected next month.  This is an opportunity to participate in selecting people who will guide family law development.

Today is the last day to register to vote. We are electing a Governor, all of our state offices, our county offices and Congress. Exercise your right to vote.

Courtenay Basile Sperry

Courtenay Basile Sperry joined this law firm as an attorney earlier this summer and we are pleased to have her.  Family law is not for all attorneys.  Legal skills are critical but just is critical is an understanding of interpersonal dynamics, a sincere desire to help a family resolve problems and the committment to clilents.

Courtenay possesses all of those skills.   She has practiced law in Anne Arundel County for another firm.  She attended college at University of North Carolina and an undergraduate class in mass communication and the law sparked an interest in the law which ultimately resulted in her attending law school.  One summer, she interned for the Honorable Ruth Jakubowski from the Circuit Court for Baltimore County.  There, she recognized that her passion was in practicing family law.

She is skillful and possesses the understanding of the emotional issues and the sensitive nature of the family law situations.

Courtenay said  “Famiily law matters are the most sensitive and tumultuouse that one can experience.  I believe in handling each individual matter with compassion and with the goal of obtaining the most beneficial outcome for my clients and their respective families.”

Courtenay will practice throughout the state.  Paula Peters and Cynthia Clark are pleased to welcome Courtenay aboard our team and look forward to working with her.

McCready’s Boyfriend Commits Suicide, Custody Now Up For Grabs

Child custody agreements can change based on individual life circumstances. If a loved one dies, for instance, custody agreements may be modified to accommodate the new situation. Country singer Mindy McCready is in legal limbo again after her boyfriend’s suicide, which has sparked a new child custody battle for her 5-year-old son. McCready, along with her mother and the boy’s father, will all be fighting for primary custody in the coming months. McCready is planning to travel to Arkansas to be with the boy, according to media reports.

Just over a year ago, the country superstar captured the attention of a nation when she was found hiding in a closet with the boy after abducting him from his grandmother. McCready’s mother became the boy’s legal guardian after her drug and alcohol addictions became so overwhelming that the singer could no longer care for the boy. The boy’s father also has visitation rights and sees him regularly. The man is also expected to travel to Arkansas to spend more time with his child during the coming weeks.

The custody battle is looming in the wake of the suicide of McCready’s live-in boyfriend. The man killed himself with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head; he was found on Jan. 13 and pronounced dead hours after the incident. The man’s death is likely to have a significant bearing on a judge’s custody decision, according to media reports. McCready will also be fighting for custody of a 9-month-old child she had with the deceased man. Since living with the man, the singer had proven that she had beaten her addictions, and she was able to regain custody of her son in February 2012.

McCready has been arrested multiple times in the past after being charged with identity theft, unlawful imprisonment and hindering prosecution. She has also struggled with mental health problems, including two incidents of apparent attempted suicide.

The custody battle is likely to continue as McCready’s mother and the boy’s father pursue additional legal action.