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Robert Wilkins — a Venable partner who previously was the lead plaintiff in a landmark racial-profiling suit — is tangling again with the Maryland State Police, this time over access to public records. Wilkins, four other Venable lawyers, and the American Civil Liberties Union are representing the Maryland State Conference of NAACP Branches pro bono in a suit filed last week in Baltimore County Circuit Court. The suit seeks to compel the release of records relating to state police compliance with a federal consent decree that resulted from the original lawsuit. The state police denied access to some records, including internal investigations of racial profiling complaints, and compiled charges of more than $55,000 in order to produce other records requested by the NAACP, the suit alleges. “Marylanders have a basic right of access to records kept by their government, especially when they show whether government agencies are following the law in a race neutral manner,” Wilkins said in a statement. A Harvard Law School graduate and former public defender in the District, Wilkins is now a trial and appellate lawyer in Venable’s white-collar, technology, and commercial litigation practice groups. In 1992, he was returning with three family members from his grandfather’s funeral in Chicago when a state trooper pulled over their car, a rented Cadillac, on Interstate 68 in Cumberland, Md. The driver, Wilkins’ cousin, ultimately received a $105 speeding ticket, but the group first had to stand in the rain while a drug dog sniffed through the car and their possessions. No drugs were found.
Brendan Smith can be contacted at [email protected].

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