Journalist's Guide

Foreword to the Third Edition

It is with great pleasure and pride that we present this third edition of The Journalist’s Guide to Maryland’s Legal System .

Just as technology has vastly altered the news landscape since our second edition was issued fifteen years ago, there have been significant changes in Maryland law, practice and procedure. We have updated this edition accordingly. “Out” are the references to pagers and payphones and “in” are the many resources now available on the internet, including our favorite, the Maryland Judiciary Case Search. We have also enhanced our coverage of the Maryland Public Information and Open Meetings Acts, which are far more active areas of the law than they have ever been. What hasn’t changed since the last edition is our goal of providing an overview of how our system works and your rights as a journalist under it. This updated Guide exists because of the assistance of the Maryland Judicial Council’s Court Access and Community Relations Committee and our many attorney and journalist contributors- some of whom first authored their sections when our first edition appeared two decades ago. You will find the names of many of those who rendered valuable service to this project at the back of the Guide, but we readily acknowledge that this project also depended on the efforts of many nameless others. These are busy, competitive and stressful times in journalism, with a never-ending news cycle and an appetite for information that never ends. While the Guide provides legal methods for covering the litigation process and the courts, you may find on occasion that what is legal might not necessarily be correct. To help you balance these competing forces, we have included ethical insight and guidance from two recognized authorities: the Society of Professional Journalists ( and the Radio Television Digital News Association ( Their Codes of Ethics can be found at the end of the Guide . Whether you are new to reporting on Maryland’s legal system or you are more experienced, we hope this Guide enhances the quality of your work and furthers the understanding of your audience.

Comments, suggestions, corrections and other feedback concerning the Guide are always encouraged. You may send them to the editors:

Robert D. Anbinder, Esquire 2423 Sylvale Road Baltimore, MD 21209


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