Judge’s Ruling Condemns Maryland Commission’s Hearing Procedures

Howard County Circuit Court Senior Judge Lenore Gelfman released a ruling on Feb. 9 that condemned the Maryland Racing Commission’s hearing procedures over a lack of due process, the right to a fair and impartial hearing, reports The Racing Biz.

The case before Judge Gelfman was that of the Jan. 18, 2020 Geisha Stakes at Laurel, in which the winner, Artful Splatter, veered out into the path of the oncoming Anna’s Bandit, who finished second. Stewards ruled no change in the order of finish, and Jerry Robb, trainer and co-owner of Anna’s Bandit, appealed that decision with the MRC.

A hearing was held on Feb. 27, 2020, in which the commission upheld the stewards’ decision. Robb’s attorney, Lorraine Lawrence-Whittaker, filed an appeal with the circuit court alleging that the MRC hearing was flawed.

Judge Gelfman concluded that “the hearing before the MRC did not adequately protect Petitioner against the deprivation of one of his most essential and foundational rights,” that of due process.

Both the petitioner and the stewards are represented by counsel in these hearings, as is the Maryland Racing Commission. However, Judge Gelfman found issue with the fact that the MRC’s counsel, Eric London, has also been presiding over the hearings.

“This court notes that Counsel for the MRC interjected himself repeatedly, leading to the conclusion that he, not the MRC, was the decision-maker,” Judge Gelfman wrote. “Counsel’s participation and manner in the hearing deprived Petitioner of due process,” she said.

As for Robb’s case, that has been remanded to the MRC for a new hearing.

The Racing Biz reports that the first hearing since the court’s ruling was held on Feb. 25, and MRC chairman Emmet Davitt presided.

Read more at The Racing Biz.

The post Judge’s Ruling Condemns Maryland Commission’s Hearing Procedures appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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