Marking #WomanJusticeDay in Maryland

By Steve Klepper (Twitter: @MDAppeal)

Over at the Twitter machine, Tracey Heinhold (@theinhold), Jack Metzler (@SCOTUSPlaces), and others are posting today with the hashtag #WomanJusticeDay to recognize the 126 women serving on states’ highest courts. Maryland is among the 11 states with female-majority supreme courts. The current female majority on the Court of Appeals of Maryland is four-to-three; it was briefly five-to-two before the retirement of Judge Lynne Battaglia.

Coincidentally, Steve Lash (@Steve_Lash) notes, from behind the paywall at The Daily Record, that the Court of Appeals “split along gender lines” this week in Porter v. State.  Read More…

Supreme Court requests response to State’s petition on marijuana odor

This March, the Court of Appeals of Maryland held in Norman v. State that an “odor of marijuana alone emanating from a vehicle with multiple occupants does not give rise to reasonable articulable suspicion that the vehicle’s occupants are armed and dangerous and subject to frisk.”

The State of Maryland petitioned for certiorari to the Supreme Court of the United States, posing the following question: Read More…

July 2017 Maryland Certiorari Grants

The Clerk’s office at the Court of Appeals has been busy since the Court’s July 27 special sitting and conference. The Court issued seven opinions and a per curiam order (opinion to come) on Friday. Then, after issuing two more decisions for good measure on Monday, the Court posted five new certiorari grants.

Before we get to the grants, though, let’s take a moment to appreciate the efficiency of the Court and its Clerk’s office. As of Monday, the Court has decided every case argued from September 2016 through February 2017. The oldest outstanding cases were argued March 3. Only 16 opinions are left heading into August.

The new grants appear, with questions presented, after the jump.  Read More…

With All Administrative Speed

By Steve Klepper (Twitter: @MDAppeal)

The June 21 opinion of the Court of Appeals of Maryland in National Waste Managers, Inc. v. Forks of the Patxuent Improvement Association illustrates a serious problem with judicial review of state administrative decisions. The process takes a long time, often to accomplish very little. Read More…

Schneider Electric: The Surety’s Word Is Its Bond; Not So Its Incorporation of the Words of Its Principal

By Alan B. Sternstein

Language in a surety’s performance bond incorporating, without limitation, the provisions of its principal’s subcontract is not sufficient to bind the surety to the arbitration requirements of the subcontract, according to the Court of Special Appeals in Schneider Elec. Bldgs. Critical Systems, Inc. v. Western Surety Co., 231 Md. App. 27 (2016), cert. granted, 2017 Md. LEXIS 137 and 277 (Feb. 3 and Mar. 3, 2017) (“Schneider Electric”) (video of oral argument available here). Read More…

June 2017 Maryland Certiorari Grants

The Court of Appeals granted certiorari in six cases yesterday. They’re a grab-bag of criminal law, civil procedure (judicial estoppel), administrative law, and takings law. The six grants, along with two earlier standalone grants we didn’t cover in prior posts, are after the jump. Read More…

Many thanks to Ocean City SCOTUS panel

By Steve Klepper (Twitter: @MDAppeal)

This past weekend was my first time moderating the annual Supreme Court term-in-review panel in Ocean City, as part of the MSBA’s Annual Meeting. I had the pleasure of introducing Dahlia Lithwick of Slate, Jim Feldman of the University of Pennsylvania Supreme Court Law Clinic, and Catherine M.A. Carroll of WilmerHale. Read More…

14 Nominated for Court of Special Appeals: June 2017

By Brandon Moore

Governor Hogan will be picking from 14 candidates to fill the at-large seat on the Court of Special Appeals vacated by the recent retirement of Chief Judge Peter B. Krauser. The nominations were announced last week and were chosen from an impressive list of lawyers and judges who applied in April. Eight of the candidates were automatically advanced because they had been previously recommended for the Court by the Judicial Appellate Nominating Commission. Five of the nominees are sitting circuit court judges.

Read More…

Adnan Syed and How to Solve the Court of Special Appeals Public-Access Problem

By Michael Wein

The Maryland judiciary website posted last Wednesday about the Syed case guidelines for the public and news media interested in attending oral arguments. As noted in the detailed order by new Chief Judge Patrick Woodward, oral arguments are being held in Courtroom 1 on the second floor of the Courts of Appeal Building in Annapolis (the larger of the two courtrooms regularly used by the Court of Special Appeals). Courthouse security is taking significant protections against recording devices, and limited seating is being provided to the public and media.

This post is not about the Syed case, specifically. But the circumstances of the Syed oral arguments expose a lack of proper public access to any of the intermediate appellate court’s oral arguments, in noted contrast with the Court of Appeals.[1] Syed is quite obviously a highlighted, media-interest case, which poses an opportunity to discuss what procedures Maryland’s intermediate appellate court should consider, in at least the future, to accommodate public interest in specific, important oral arguments.

Read More…

Court of Appeals leaves unanswered how no-contest clauses reduced four decades of estates and trusts case law

By Michael Wein

Maryland estates and trusts law does not get its fair share of reported appellate decisions. The vast majority of estates and trusts cases are handled quickly and adroitly by the orphans’ court or, in some counties, the circuit court. Few cases are seriously litigated on appeal, and even fewer are decided by the Maryland appellate courts. A survey reveals that only 2 out of the 97 cert petitions granted by the Court of Appeals in the 2016 term fell under the category of “Estates and Trusts.”[1] In 2015, there were none.[2]

One of the two Court of Appeals cases from the 2016 term, Vito v. Grueff, was heard at oral argument on March 31, 2017. Vito highlights the lack of wills and estates case law in Maryland.

Read More…