As attorneys we have an obligation to uphold, and to not abuse, the laws of the State of Maryland as well as the Federal laws of the United States. This all starts with the Constitution of the United States - the longest living (and the shortest) constitution in existence. We firmly believe in the freedoms and secured rights granted to every citizen of the United States by the Bill of Rights (the first ten Amendments of the Constitution), and the protections from abusive government provided therein. So, when the State of Maryland denied one of our elderly clients the right to purchase a handgun for self-defense in his home, we stepped in.
Now in his sixties and living in a residential area targeted for break-ins, he had applied for a Maryland Handgun Qualification License ("HQL") from the Maryland State Police - the first requirement for any Maryland Resident interested in purchasing a handgun. The State police ran a background check and found that our client had a single guilty plea from over forty years ago - when he was a college student - to a non-violent misdemeanor. For this petty offense, the State of Maryland disarmed him, believing he is a person too dangerous to possess a firearm (to the Maryland State Police's credit, they were very apologetic at the administrative hearing, but stated they also had an obligation to upohold Maryland's law).
Prior to coming to us, he had been advised by other attorneys to not waste his time appealing the denial of his HQL since he was sure to lose. We disagreed. As advocates of liberal citizen rights, including the Second Amendment right to bear arms, we keep abreast of Federal and State court cases involving "gun rights" and "gun control" issues. We therefore knew that after the United States Supreme Court's decision in Heller v. District of Columbia, 554 U.S. 570 (2008), and subsequent rulings in the various Federal Courts of Appeals, that our client had a very good chance to overcome the ridiculousness of Maryland's decision to "disarm" him as a "dangerous felon" by denying his Handgun Qualification License.
UPDATE: The State of Maryland agreed to issue his HQL and reimbursed him his attorney's fees for having had to bring this case in order to secure his Second Amendment Rights.
When people meet with us for the first time, they are often under great stress - continually thinking about their legal issues and the perceived consequences. Our mission at that first consultation is to help the client dissect the problem and frame the legal issues so that the client may more clearly understand the bigger picture. Then we make a plan.
For "KC," U.S. culture was all that she knew. She had been flown out of Haiti to New York City when she was 6 and, from what she remembers, accompanied by an adult who she didn't know. Looking back, she believes her parents - who she never saw again - had either sold her or indentured her to work for a Haitian family living in a row house in NYC.
Her earliest memories were of working morning to evening: ironing, cleaning, helping to prepare meals. At night, she was locked into the basement and only let out early the next day to begin work again. There was no school, and she was never allowed outside. After several years, the home water heater or furnace broke. She recalls a repair man came down into the basement. He saw her, saw the state she was in, and asked her some questions in Haitian Creole. He went back upstairs and a heated argument ensued with the family.
"I'm calling the police," she remembered the Haitian repair man saying. The next day, and for the first time, she had overslept: the woman of the house had not woke her to start her chores. The door was open, and when she entered the living area, the family was gone, along with their personal things.
She stayed in the house for five days, eating some apples that had been left...until none were left. Realizing that she'd been abandoned, she left through the front door. Not knowing what to do, she walked down the street. But then she got scared and tried to run back to the house. She couldn't find it - she had never seen it from the outside!
Lost, she found a large tree at the edge of a park. "I saw it as something strong and protective," she said in testimony, and anchored herself to it for the next several days. She slept on the ground until a Good Samaritan, realizing she was homeless, took her in.
When she came to us, she was a 24 yearold high school grad working as a bank teller, married to a Professional Firefighter, and in deportation proceedings in the Immigration Court in Baltimore. Being sent back to a developing nation to which she had not ties was a consequence we had to avoid for her. We navigated the thousands of pages of U.S. Immigration Laws and represented her in the Immigration Court. We were able to have the deportation case against her dismissed and the Immigration Judge awarded her U.S. Lawful Permanent Resident Status. Today she is a graduate of Strayer University and a U.S. Citizen.
Schifanelli Law, LLP
Contact US (410) 263-0028
Contact Schifanelli Law, LLP at 410-263-0028 for an initial consultation with a Lawyer in Annapolis.
2450 Riva Road, Suite 201, Annapolis, Maryland 21401.
Serving the Maryland and Washington D.C. Communities.