Another September 2016 Certiorari Grant

Though the usual collection of Court of Appeals certiorari grants came a little earlier than expected this month, the judges’ regularly scheduled monthly conference did result in one more:

State of Maryland v. Douglas Ford Bey II – Case No. 48, September Term, 2016

Issue – Criminal Law – Did CSA err in concluding that Criminal Law § 3-315, which prohibits engaging in a continuing course of conduct with a child, prohibits more than one conviction and sentence per victim, regardless of the duration of the abuse or the type of sexual acts committed?

Bey poses some interesting questions of interpretation that prompted a short concurrence by Judge Friedman in the lower appellate court. (The Court also summarily granted certiorari and remanded to the Court of Special Appeals the case of Antwann Gibson v. State of Maryland – Case No. 48, September Term, 2016.)

COSA Dissent Watch: Circumstantial evidence of lead paint in the post-Rowhouses world

By Chris Mincher

The case: Murphy v. Ellison, Sept. Term 2015, No. 0822 (Aug. 23, 2016) (unreported)

The questions: Can a plaintiff in a lead-paint case establish a property as a reasonably probable source of exposure without expert testimony or inspections of the property? Can the age of a house or its components establish that the property probably had lead paint? Can evidence of lead paint on the exterior of a home be evidence of lead paint on the interior?

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September 2016 Certiorari Grants

One day after its first oral arguments of the new term, the Court of Appeals of Maryland on Friday dropped an unexpected bundle of certiorari grants — the second set to be released in as many weeks. In two of the cases, the primary question presented is whether the odor of marijuana gives a police officer probable cause to search a vehicle; as we briefly noted here, depending on how the Court resolves that issue, there could be a lot of remandin’ happening with these later on down the line. Check out all the grants after the jump.

[Blog editor-in-chief Steve Klepper was not involved in the review, editing, or posting of this piece.]

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COSA Dissent Watch: Marijuana Odors and Pat-Downs

By Chris Mincher

The case: Norman v. State, Sept. Term 2015, No. 1408 (Aug. 11, 2016)

The questions: Was the odor of marijuana effectively the only justification for a police officer’s alleged belief that a passenger in a vehicle was armed and dangerous? If so, is that belief reasonable for the purposes of the Fourth Amendment?

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COSA Dissent Watch: Plea Bargains That Ignore Mandatory Probation

By Chris Mincher

The case: Crawley v. State, Sept. Term 2013, No. 0467 (Aug. 8, 2016)

The questions: If a plea agreement would be invalid without the inclusion of probation, is probation an implied term of the agreement? If a plea agreement is invalid because it provides for an illegal sentence, can a trial court, sua sponte, increase the sentence to make it legal? If a plea agreement is invalid for failure to include probation, is a defendant’s renegotiation of the plea limited to the addition of probation, or can he renegotiate the entire agreement?

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“A Case About Nothing”: Ireton v. Chambers

By Brad McCullough

If the iconic 1990s television comedy series “Seinfeld” was a show about nothing, then a recent decision of the Court of Special Appeals was – in the words of Judge Kevin Arthur – “a case about nothing.” Ireton v. Chambers, No. 1038, Sept. Term 2105, slip op. at 1 (July 28, 2016). But while the case might have been “about nothing,” the litigants disagreed about nearly everything, including what exactly the court was reviewing, what standard of review the court should employ, and how a statute granting qualified immunity to municipal officials should be interpreted.

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August 2016 Maryland Certiorari Grants

It’s been a slightly elongated layover since the Maryland Court of Appeals made their July certiorari decisions, but, with nine new cases, it’s clear the gears are starting to grind for the upcoming term. Included in the mix is Johnson v. State (we called it!), the much-publicized prosecution for the murder of Phylicia Barnes that ended in acquittal… or did it? Some big double-jeopardy questions in that one for the Court to figure out. Check out the rest of the grants after the jump.

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Fifteen Days to Go, and an Avalanche — 15 — Maryland Court of Appeals Cases Left to Decide!

By Michael Wein

Last year, with about one week to go before the Maryland Court of Appeals’ self-imposed deadline for deciding all cases in a September term by the following August, the Court had only four cases left to decide. Per the “Pending Cases” page on the Court of Appeals’ web site, with two weeks to go before this year’s deadline, 15 decisions are left to decide. Of these 15 cases, seven are civil, six are criminal, one is an Attorney Grievance matter (which the oral arguments indicate was, interestingly, remanded back to the trial judge for additional findings and re-argued in the same term), and one is a Bar application case.

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COSA Dissent Watch: Post-mistrial Acquittals and Double Jeopardy

By Chris Mincher

The case: State v. Johnson, Sept. Term 2015, No. 0189 (June 29, 2016)

The questions: Does a circuit court have fundamental jurisdiction to acquit a defendant after the grant of a mistrial? Does such an acquittal bar further prosecution even if court relies on evidence that is technically not before it?

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Anthony Kennedy’s 80th Birthday and Trump’s Legacy

By Steve Klepper (Twitter: @MDAppeal)

Anthony Kennedy turns 80 today. In the aftermath of Donald Trump’s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, I’ve seen numerous posts from longtime Republicans to the effect of “I have no party anymore.” That thought may have popped into the head of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. Read More…