Yet it was only a little over a decade ago that Maryland entered into a consent decree over a "pattern and practice" of racially discriminatory traffic stops by the state police. In December, a judge ordered the state to pay $600,000 in legal fees the ACLU and other groups had run up in an effort to get the state to release documents that would help show whether the police were abiding by that settlement. The debate last year over decriminalizing marijuana revealed that despite similar rates of use, blacks were far more likely to be arrested for simple possession — three times more likely statewide, and more than five times more likely in Baltimore City. In 2009, a state trooper, thinking he had hung up the phone, left a message on an Eastern Shore woman's voice mail in which he referred to her using a racial slur. The state is still fighting to keep secret what discipline, if any, the officer faced.