Between the Atlantic coast and the nation’s capital lies Maryland, one of the original 13 New England colonies, densely populated and boasting the highest median income of any state. The varied landscape that Maryland presents–from the Chesapeake Bay area to the watery and low-lying Eastern Shore to its biggest city, Baltimore, to the western mountains and foothills of Appalachia–belies its small size. The capital city is Annapolis, home to the American Naval Academy with the same name. The state has become renowned for producing the best blue crabs and crab cakes.
Maryland became the 7th state on April 28, 1788. Although it is found below the Mason-Dixon Line, during the Civil War it did not join the Confederacy, even though it was considered a slave state.
The state of Maryland has twenty-four counties, including Baltimore City considered as a county-equivalent. The colony of Maryland was founded between the years of 1634 to 1771, by the Barons Baltimore, a Catholic family by the name of Calvert. Many of the counties are named for members of the Calvert family or their friends.
There are four levels in the court system of Maryland, of which two are appellate courts and two trial courts. Facts presented, evidence, and legal precedents are the basis for the trial courts to render a decision on a case. The appellate courts, on the other hand, review the decisions and actions of the trial courts.
The Appellate courts have two divisions: the highest court, which is the Court of Appeals, and the intermediate appellate court, which is the Court of Special Appeals. Decisions on cases coming from trial courts, such as the Circuit or District Court, are reviewed by these two appellate courts to determine whether legal precedent and the law were properly applied by the trial judge.