Journalist's Guide

Sources of Law In most cases, you can call your local friendly lawyer or law librarian and ask for information on Maryland law. Otherwise, you can look up the law itself. Teaching how to research Maryland law is a long, complex process, beyond the scope of this Guide. For the basics of finding what you need, we refer you to the following resources, which are available in well-stocked public libraries, all courthouse libraries, law schools, and on the internet. Annotated Code of Maryland The main body of Maryland law, the “Maryland Code” or “Annotated Code of Maryland” contains the statutes passed by the Maryland General Assembly and signed by the Governor. The statutes are organized by single subjects (known as “Articles”) from Agriculture to Transportation. In print, the volumes are regularly brought up-to-date by supplements found in the rear of each book and in other updates found on the library shelf near the Code. The Code has a multi-volume index as well as Article-specific indexes at the end of each Article. The Code is widely available in reliable online format through the Maryland State Law Library’s webpage, Gateway to Maryland Law at The Code is called “annotated” because in its full print or fee-based online format, it contains brief citations, or annotations, of cases applying in some fashion to the statute. The cases can be further researched in the corresponding tan Maryland Reports (for Court of Appeals cases) or green Maryland Appellate Reports (for Court of Special Appeals cases). Maryland Rules This resource is of particular importance to those interested in how judicial processes work. Maryland Rules govern legal procedure in the courts. This resource contains rules for criminal and civil proceedings, as well as for the handling of juvenile matters, how appeals are processed, family law, and evidence. In addition, it contains the Rules of Professional Conduct regulating Maryland lawyers and the Code of Judicial Conduct regulating Maryland judges. The Rules are organized topically by Title, with a general index. Title 2 of the Maryland Rules contains Circuit Court civil rules. Title 3 contains District Court civil rules. Title 4 contains criminal rules. Title 5 contains the Maryland Rules of Evidence. Like the Code above, the Rules are available through the Maryland State Law Library’s Gateway webpage. Maryland Reports/Maryland Appellate Reports Reports are volumes containing cases decided by the Court of Appeals and Court of Special Appeals. The cases are arranged chronologically. To be used effectively, you need to know the title of the case you are seeking and its corresponding volume and pages, which you can get from the citations included in the Annotated Code or the Maryland Law Encyclopedia annotations. For example, the case of State v. McKay in which the Court of Appeals allowed criminal defendants to waive the right to a unanimous jury verdict can be found at 280 Md. 558 (1977), which is Volume 280 of the Maryland Reports at page 558. The case was decided in 1977. By the way, each case lists the names of the lawyers who handled the case who can be contacted to discuss it.


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