No legal immunity

The defense attorney apologized at the start of the murder trial for his bad cold. The jurors had coughs, so throaty and hacking that the judge inquired several times whether anyone needed water. And court staff, victims' family members and police detectives were all swapping throat lozenges.

But if anyone needed more circumstantial evidence of the various viruses and flus circulating, Baltimore County Deputy State's Attorney Stephen Bailey provided it Wednesday afternoon.

Just 12 minutes into his closing argument, Bailey suddenly stopped speaking and asked to approach the bench. Baltimore County Circuit Judge Robert E. Cadigan quickly dismissed the jurors. And Bailey strode from the courtroom.

Twenty minutes later, he was back, advising the judge that it might be best to just tell the jurors that he had gotten sick and joking that others could call him Typhoid Mary.

"These things don't seem to happen to other judges," Cadigan said, chuckling. Turning his attention to defense attorney James Dills, the judge added, "Why don't you give him some of your medicine, Mr. Dills? I'm sure you're the carrier."

- Jennifer McMenamin

Uplifting museum visit

An elevator at the Walters Art Museum stopped between two floors at 11:43 a.m. Thursday, trapping a woman inside, a gallery official said.

Maintenance workers tried to fix the lift, then called Arundel Elevator Service for help, said Amy Mannarino, the museum's public relations manager.

Museum protocol dictates that officials contact Arundel Elevator, not the Fire Department, said Mannarino, unless there is a fire.

The woman, whose name was not released, communicated with her rescuers via a telephone inside the elevator during her entrapment, and was freed, uninjured, at 12:10 p.m., Mannarino said.

The woman never panicked, said Mannarino, who says the museum has had elevator malfunctions before, albeit "very infrequently."

"What she was worried about was that her car would be towed," Mannarino said.

When the woman stepped off the elevator, she was greeted by the museum's manager of visitor services and offered water and museum passes, Mannarino said.

The woman's car had not been towed.

- Lynn Anderson

Father boosts best

As a city councilman, Bernard C. "Jack" Young promotes Baltimore.

As father of the bride, he does the same thing.

Young's daughter, Teaira, plans to have her July 16 wedding reception at facility in Hunt Valley. So Young insisted that she hire Baltimore's Biddle Street Catering and Events to provide the food.

He also pushed for a florist based in his East Baltimore district after his daughter and her fiance "had the nerve to say they were going to Owings Mills for their flowers. I raised hell about that."

Young let that one slide, however, after he learned the florist he had in mind sells only wholesale.

- Laura Vozzella

Um, let me rephrase that

At their delegation meeting Thursday, Baltimore County state senators were debating the merits of giving the county's part-time Orphans' Court judges a raise from $39,000 to $45,000 a year. Some argued that the raise would enable the county to attract more competent applicants, to which Democratic Sen. Edward J. Kasemeyer replied:

"They make more than we make. Are we competent?"

- Sara Neufeld

A building suspense

The plan to build a $220 million town center near the Owings Mills Metro station has been delayed and delayed again. The first developer delayed construction for several years before withdrawing from the project, which is to include housing, offices, and a library, stores, restaurants, a community college branch and a hotel. Most recently, a legal dispute between the state and the former owners of the property tied up the project.

Even a presentation about what's to happen at the site was delayed. Arnold F. "Pat" Keller III, director of the county Planning Department, was set to discuss the town center at a planning board meeting Thursday. But, he said, county officials decided it might be premature to discuss the plans, because - while a tentative agreement has been reached - all the contracts haven't been signed.

"They didn't want me to jinx anything," he said.

- Laura Barnhardt

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