As deadline approaches, Howard referendum case embroiled in new controversy
An article by Andrea Yeager in the Baltimore Sun. To read the complete article please click here Offit Kurman Attorney William Erskine is passionately representing several Howard County land developers whose projects have been put on hold due to an initiative by the Citizens To Fix Howard County who want to bring the zoning changes to a referendum this Fall. Erskine has filed subpoenas to bring more than three dozen petitioners for a videotaped interview on their process for collecting signatures. The petitioners are arguing that the subpoena is a violation of their First Amendment rights. Erskine disagrees noting that Judge John Tisdale denied the petitioners’ appeal of subpoenas at the Circuit Court level. “They have stalled, they have delayed, they have protested the lawsuit,” Erskine said. “They seem to feel that [the subpoena] violates their First Amendment rights. What I don’t understand is, in what way? “Other parties have due process rights,” he added. “Before the value of their property is taken away from them, they have a right to make sure the law was followed. … It just seems that some people are very interested in forcing what they see as their own rights, but they don’t care about the property owners’ rights.” Erskine is not alone, University of Maryland School of Law professor Mark Graber said Erskine was within the law calling for the petitioners to be subpoenaed. According to Graber, if “part of the issue is whether some of the signatures are fraudulent… of course you can ask questions about the way they got the petitions. That’s not a violation of anybody’s First Amendment rights, anymore than if you’re accused of cashing a fraudulent check” and are asked to testify, he said.
About William E. Erskine
William Erskine is both a business attorney and real estate attorney, whose practice is focused primarily on commercial litigation, construction litigation, real estate, zoning, and land use matters. Mr. Erskine is Chair of the Real Estate Land Use and Zoning Practice Group for Offit Kurman Attorneys at Law. Mr. Erskine also sits on the board of directors of the Howard County Economic Development Authority and Howard County Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Erskine has extensive experience representing clients in all land use and zoning issues. To contact Mr. Erskine about this or other land use and zoning issues please email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 301.575.0363.