A delegation from Taiwan’s Jury Association of 22 lawyers, elected officials, law students, and dignitaries spent the day in Baltimore on June 26th as guests of Maryland Legal Aid. The group came to Baltimore to learn about Maryland’s jury system. Currently, Taiwan does not have a jury system and is considering implementing one as part of a comprehensive reform initiative to encourage civilian participation and create more transparency in the courts.
Maryland Legal Aid’s Executive Director Wilhelm Joseph, Staff Attorney Emily Jaskot and other Maryland Legal Aid staff hosted the group and planned a full day of activities, including presentations by representatives from the US Attorney’s Office, the Baltimore City State’s Attorney Office, the Office of the Public Defender and lawyers in private practice. In the morning, Charles Blomquist, of the Baltimore City State’s Attorney Office and Debbie Dwyer, of the US Attorney’s Office gave presentations that included a brief history of the Maryland Court system, the role of the prosecutor, standards of proof, the jury selection process, and a general outline of the trial process. The Honorable Judge Paul Smith also discussed Maryland’s judicial system and the valuable role of the jury.
The afternoon featured a panel discussion on the Role of Juries in Civil and Criminal Trials with guest speakers Stu Simms of Brown, Goldstein, & Levy, Stephen Beatty, criminal defense attorney, and Public Defender, David Walsh Little from the Baltimore City Jury Trial unit.
The day was capped off with an all access VIP tour of the stadium at Camden Yards. Baseball is considered the national sport of Taiwan, and the delegation was very excited about touring Baltimore’s major league stadium and learning about the rich history of baseball in Baltimore.