Warnken, LLC Attorneys at Law, Attorneys & Lawyers, Pikesville, MD

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Law Enforcement

General Counsel to the Maryland Troopers’ Association

Experience against more than 35 different agencies

Litigation

Criminal and Civil Litigation

Trial and Appellate

Workers' Compensation

Helping Injured Workers

One Case at a Time

Appeals

Counsel on more than 250 appeals in State and Federal Courts

Multiple cases in the Supreme Court of the United States

The Latest From Our News Blog

It Ends with a One-Line Whimper

In Maryland, law enforcement officers can simply follow you around and analyze any DNA you discard.  They don’t need your permission.  They can have it when you get a drivers license.  They can have it at a toll booth.  They can have it when you touch that.  Or that.  Or that.

The Court of Appeals got Raynor v. State wrong.  They were concerned with how similar DNA harvesting was to your face on a camera.  (It’s not, that’s volitional.  Shy of a bio-hazard suit, DNA is discarded non-volitionally.)  They were concerned with crime scenes.  (They shouldn’t have been.  DNA comes up off a crime scene under exigency exceptions.  We’re talking about the DNA coming down off a person.)  They said it was just fingerprints.  It’s not.

And now – at least for now – this law will stand.  As you can see above, despite hundreds of hours, compelling arguments, and no less than four amicus cert petitions, the Supreme Court has decided it will not hear the case.

At this point, Warnken, LLC represents many, many more law enforcement officers than it does those charged with or convicted of a crime.  But the Raynor case has to do with what’s right.  We respect the hell out of law enforcement, but we also respect the hell out of the Fourth Amendment and the United States Constitution.  The Constitution and it’s Fourth Amendment get whittled down all the time.

It is, to some degree, the nature of a government.  A government wants to make itself larger.  A government wants more control, more order, and greater flexibility to do what it deems right.  On it’s face, this isn’t a terrible thing.  But what about when what it deems right isn’t what you deem right?  What about when what it deems right isn’t what the collective you deem right?  What about when your kid gets arrested because DNA put him somewhere with his friend when the friend was doing something he shouldn’t have been?  And that conviction lives with him forever.

What about when you become a quadriplegic in a car accident, hit by a drunk driver, and you and your family only get $815,000?  I mean, you’re a lawyer, you can still work, so there’s no lost wages.  And your health insurance company has a lien out for all the medical bills.  Is it OK that government encroaches then?

Others have picked up on what it might mean for a decision like Raynor to stand…

Something happens when government encroaches too much.  Revolution.

Okay, so societal order will not break down because of some little denial by the Supreme Court.  All I’m saying is we invented this country for a reason.  Most of us seem to forget what that reason was.

-Byron B. Warnken

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Warnken, LLC Attorneys At Law

Warnken, LLC started more than 20 years ago.  The senior member of the firm, Byron L. Warnken, Esq., has been an attorney for more than 35 years.  He is also a full-time law professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law.  Warnken teaches various criminal law related classes.  In the past, he taught issues in law enforcement.  From his classes, came his practice.  In the beginning, being a scholar meant interesting specialty litigation at the appellate level.  Things grew from there.

Litigation

Warnken, LLC has handled more than 1300 criminal cases in more than 20 years of practice.   This includes all phases of criminal litigation, including trial work and post-verdict work.  Post-verdict means criminal appeals, post conviction, sentencing and other collateral review.  Professor Byron L. Warnken teaches criminal law and constitutional criminal procedure.  He is also the author of Maryland Criminal Procedure, a 1940-page three-volume treatise on the subject.

Warnken, LLC’s civil litigation practice handles personal injury cases and workers’ compensation appeals.  However, through of-counsel relationships, we also handle truck accidents, negligence, wrongful death, catastrophic personal injury, medical malpractice, and other injuries or disputes.

Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ compensation is by far the fastest growing practice area at Warnken, LLC.  Our comp practice is likely the fastest growing in the state.  Warnken, LLC had less than 20 comp files at any given time a few years ago.  Today there are more than 250.

Our comp practice grew from serving law enforcement.  Being one of the most dangerous jobs, police officers and other public safety employees often need counsel for workplace injuries.  In order to serve our existing clients, we gained the expertise.

Law Enforcement

For more than 15 years, Warnken, LLC has been general counsel to the Maryland Troopers Association.  We handle administrative discipline, trial boards, disability retirement, grievances, and generally anything else active or retired law enforcement personnel face.  We take great pride in the work.