Lawyer & Lawmaker Speak to Business Representatives

Attorney Jonathan Miller and Harford County Council member Chad Shrodes, shown with organization president Gene Jones, were guest speakers at the January meeting of Mason-Dixon Business Association at Geneva Farms’ Twin Silos restaurant.

​ A local attorney and a Harford County Council member were speakers at the Mason-Dixon Business Association monthly meeting last week. Held at Geneva Farms’ Twin Silos restaurant, the meeting featured information from attorney-at-law Jonathan Miller, licensed in both Pennsylvania and Maryland, whose PenMar Law LLC practice is based in Whiteford.

  Also, county councilman Chad Shrodes explained recent measures enacted in the county which benefit agricultural enterprises.In his address to the 15 or so business leaders who attended the meeting, Miller said, “I’m convinced it’s organizations like this that are the backbone of a community.”

  Miller described the evolution of his professional career from beginning as a Baltimore City Police Department officer to achieving his law degree and then working as counsel for troopers, a role for which he was on call 24/7. As a lawyer, he spent 16 years in a partnership based in Joppa, MD and in Whiteford, and today he operates his personal firm at 2412 Whiteford Road. Miller explained that he specializes in criminal defense and traffic defense cases, in worker’s compensation issues and in Social Security disability measures.

    He also handles living trusts and wills, he said.However, in cases of estates larger than $5.3 million, he said he refers those to attorneys who keep abreast of the continual tax law changes.
   Also, Miller said he does not take on child abuse cases nor does he handle divorces, since kids are often involved, and he said that that reluctance stems from his experiences as a police officer.

    When asked by a MDBA member whether it is difficult to defend people against whom he once advocated, Miller responded that the Fifth Amendment states that every person is entitled to an attorney.

    He said that Maryland is fortunate to have people of high caliber serving as state police troopers. Miller clarified to another member that a person has the ability to defend himself legally if using matching force in a home invasion in both Maryland and Pennsylvania. He said, though, that one cannot use deadly force on an unarmed person who is just stealing something.

     As far as the Harford County Council is concerned, Shrodes described measures on which he personally has worked or which have recently passed, such as one dealing with what he feels was a too-stringent required footage for permitted panhandles on subdivided lots. That footage requirement, which took productive farmland out of production, has been eliminated, he said.

     Another new mandate passed only the night before the MDBA meeting was one which changed agricultural commercial buffer zones to more liberal landscaping requirements, said Shrodes. He said the old law hampered farmers trying to sell produce or products from stands on their land.

     Also, he told of eliminating the regulation that said an accessory building could not exceed the height of the primary structure on a parcel, something that posed difficulties for owners of ranch-style dwellings.
       He said too that Harford cable company franchise agreements, which formerly were for 15-year periods, will now be for 10 years, since the council feels technology changes so rapidly.

       Shrodes said too that he is continuing to work on reducing the laws regarding septic reserve areas and that new storm water management regulations will be in effect.