May 2019 Maryland Certiorari Grants

The Court of Appeals today issued its first certiorari grants since Judge Brynja Booth took the bench last month. There were a total of five grants. They include a sequel to Comptroller v. Wynne, where in 2015 the Supreme Court, affirmed a Court of Appeals decision striking down portions of the state tax code as violating the “dormant” commerce clause. The cases are below, with the questions presented and links to the Court of Special Appeals opinions under review. Read More…

Maryland Certiorari Statistics, 2018 Term: The Numbers Behind the Declining Grant Rate

By Steve Klepper (Twitter: @MDAppeal)

The Maryland Court of Appeals has been granting fewer certiorari petitions this term. Now we have some numbers to help analyze that decline.

For two years now, I’ve tracked the Court of Appeals’ petition docket. The judiciary’s annual statistical reports give the overall grant rate for civil and criminal certiorari petitions. Because the majority of petitions each year are filed pro se, the overall statistics are not terribly helpful for lawyers in advising their clients regarding the odds of certiorari.

Refining my approach from last year, I have compiled the statistics for the 2018 Term (petitions filed 3/1/2018 to 2/28/2019), alongside revised statistics for the 2017 Term (petitions filed 3/1/2017 to 2/28/2018). Read More…

April 2019 Maryland Certiorari Grants, Batch #2

Yesterday, the Maryland Court of Appeals granted two petitions in criminal cases that it will hear in the fall. (Update: After the Court of Appeals granted certiorari in State v. Santos, the State voluntarily dismissed its appeal.)

 

Dana T. Johnson, Jr. v. State of Maryland – Case No. 9, September Term, 2019 (Reported COSA Opinion by Judge Nazarian)

Issues – Criminal Law – 1) Section 5-612 of the Criminal Law Article, which prohibits possession of certain quantities of controlled dangerous substances, provides that “[a] person who is convicted of a violation of subsection (a) of this section shall be sentenced to imprisonment for not less than 5 years and is subject to a fine not exceeding $100,000.” What is the maximum allowable period of incarceration for a violation of this law? 2) Did the circuit court impose an illegal sentence of fourteen years of incarceration for a violation of section 5-612 of the Criminal Law Article?

State of Maryland v. Bryan Santos – Case No. 10, September Term, 2019 (Unreported COSA Opinion by Judge Raker)

Issue – Courts & Judicial Proceedings – Did the trial court properly admit testimony by Respondent’s wife about statements he made to her and a statement by Respondent admitting some of the things he did with the victims?

Dos and Don’ts When You Learn Who Is on Your Court of Special Appeals Panel

By Steve Klepper (Twitter: @MDAppeal)

Few Maryland lawyers are accustomed to advance notice of which judges will be deciding their appeal. The Fourth Circuit and the Court of Special Appeals have traditionally kept the identities of three-judgment panels secret until the morning of argument. But the Court of Special Appeals will now be announcing panels 7 to 10 days before argument.

That lead time gives counsel an opportunity to make productive or counter-productive use of that information. In this post, I address what you must do, should do, and should not do when you learn who is on your three-judge panel. Read More…

Corporations Need Counsel

By Karen Federman Henry

It’s not really new—corporations cannot participate in court proceedings without an attorney.  The same concept applies to the otherwise informal process before an administrative agency.  So what should a corporation do when its counsel withdraws from an administrative proceeding?  The Court of Special Appeals recently answered the question in an unreported decision—retain counsel or say something to preserve the issue for further review.

Read More…

April 2019 Maryland Certiorari Grants

On Wednesday, the Maryland Court of Appeals granted certiorari in six cases (four civil and two criminal) and, in a miscellaneous docket proceeding, accepted certified questions from the Court of Special Appeals to resolve three criminal appeals. Those cases, with questions presented, are below. Read More…

Court of Special Appeals to Disclose Panels 7-10 Days Before Argument

By Steve Klepper (Twitter: @MDAppeal)

Until now, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals (like the Fourth Circuit) has not disclosed the identities of the three judges hearing an appeal until the morning of argument. That is changing, beginning next month.

According to the Court’s May 2019 schedule:

Panel assignments for argued cases will be identified for each courtroom approximately 7 – 10 days in advance of argument. Panel assignments are always preliminary and subject to change. If any party has a basis for seeking recusal of any judge listed as sitting in a courtroom in which that party’s case is pending, a motion should be filed no later than three business days before the argument.

This change comes just four months after Chief Judge Matt Fader took the reins at the Court of Special Appeals.

The timing of panel disclosure means that briefing will have closed by the time the parties learn which judges will be hearing their cases. Without leave of court, replies must be filed at least ten days before argument, under Rule 8-502(b).

 

March 2019 Maryland Certiorari Grants (Batch 2)

On Friday, the Maryland Court of Appeals granted certiorari in two cases. The Court has assigned both to its docket for next term, which begins September 1. The grants are below, with links to the Court of Special Appeals opinions under review. Read More…

The Renewed Push to Rename Maryland’s Appellate Courts

By John Grimm

It’s no secret that the names of Maryland’s appellate courts are not to be taken literally: The Court of Special Appeals hears all appeals, while the Court of Appeals hears only special ones. Even lawyers admitted in Maryland who do not practice regularly in state court stumble over this nomenclature, and for non-lawyers or out-of-state lawyers (or even judges), the courts’ names provide little useful information about their roles in the Maryland judiciary.

A proposed amendment to the Maryland Constitution—SB 595 and its companion HB 1329—would eliminate this confusion, by renaming the State’s appellate courts. Read More…