Volunteerism and the Legal Community

May 1st, 2019

On the weekend of April 27 and 28, 2019, many lawyers participated in the Maryland State Bar Association’s first Maryland Lawyers’ Day of Service. The MSBA teamed up with different bar associations throughout the State, including the Maryland Hispanic Bar Association, to give back to the community.

On Saturday, Maritza Carmona, as a member of the MSBA and MHBA, teamed up with several attorneys and Judge Cathy Serrette to give a “Know Your Rights” presentation to foster youth at Promise Place, which is in an emergency youth shelter in Prince George’s County.

“Everyone has certain basic rights, and ‘Know Your Rights’ presentations are a great way to educate the public about how to exercise them” said Ms. Carmona.

Ms. Carmona spoke about protections afforded under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. She also discussed how to handle interactions with law enforcement in various scenarios, such as if you are stopped by officers in a public place, your vehicle is pulled over, or officers show up at your residence. Ms. Carmona also spoke about the right to take videos and photographs during police encounters, and possible civil remedies that may be available if an individual has been subjected to police misconduct.

Last week, Ms. Carmona also participated in the Maryland Judiciary’s “Take your Son or Daughter to Work Day.” Ms. Carmona and several attorneys performed a mock trial of State v. Goldilocks for elementary school children at the Maryland Court of Appeals. The case focused on the allegations that Goldilocks entered the home of the Three Bears without permission, ate all the porridge, and broke Baby Bear’s chair. 

“Mock trials are a helpful tool to expose students to the court system.” The students served as jurors and Ms. Carmona served as defense counsel for Goldilocks. Luckily, the jury found in Goldilocks’ favor at the end!

Each year, the Maryland Court of Appeals establishes an aspirational goal of 50 hours of pro bono work for members of the Maryland Bar. “Volunteerism is a critical component of the legal profession and I’m glad to have the opportunity to give back to my community in different ways.” They are a variety of ways in which attorneys can volunteer. For example, attorneys may represent clients in pro bono cases, which means they do not charge for their services. Others may participate in legal clinics and provide legal advice to walk-in clients. Still others may give presentations to the public about their legal rights. The opportunities to volunteer are vast and limitless.

Ms. Carmona is a trial lawyer in the firm’s Civil Litigation practice group with strong experience in protecting the rights of victims in Maryland and the D.C. area who have suffered injustice resulting from a variety of civil rights violations, including police misconduct and excessive force.

           

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