Rules Committee recommends ending ethics prohibition on “specialist” label

By Michael Wein

In a report released online on Wednesday, the Maryland Rules Committee recommended to the Maryland Court of Appeals that attorneys be no longer prohibited from advertising themselves as “specialists.” This was proposed as an amendment to Rule 19-307.4, Communication of Fields of Practice. (If you’ve never heard of Chapter 19, which now incorporates the Maryland Lawyers’ Rules of Professional Conduct (MLRPC), you’re in good company, as the reorganization only took effect on July 1.) A briefing on why this change has been suggested can be found in my previous extensive write-up two years ago on this Blog.

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Doe I, Doe II, Federal Dough and Federalism

By Alan Sternstein

Though supreme in their own domains, even sovereigns may, by agreement, accept obligations that lawfully bind them. Depending on the case, they may also pursue, even by coercion, rights granted by other sovereigns. This reflects nothing more than the operation at ever-higher levels of organization (partnerships, corporations, municipalities, states, and nations) the fundamental principles governing legal relationships between individuals. See generally W. Hohfeld, Fundamental Legal Conceptions (1919). These principles recognize the ability of juridical entities through the power of contract to create rights, duties, and other legal relationships among themselves, regardless of the comparative strength of their sovereignties by other measures.[i]

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October 2016 Maryland Certiorari Grants

By Steve Klepper (Twitter: @MDAppeal)

Six days after granting expedited review of a Baltimore City ballot dispute,  the Court of Appeals issued its regularly scheduled monthly batch of certiorari grants. The five grants include Norman v. State (previously covered by Chris Mincher as part of his COSA Dissent Watch feature), involving pat-downs of passengers when officers smell marijuana during a traffic stop. Continuing the theme of impaired driving, the Court of Appeals accepted two petitions by the MVA in cases where drivers refused intoxication tests. The entire list, including questions presented, appears after the jump. Read More…

Regulatory deference, not restrooms, at issue in high-profile petition

By John Grimm

One of the most closely watched cert petitions before the U.S. Supreme Court in its new term is G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board, scheduled for conference on October 14. The Fourth Circuit decision — which gained national attention in April — was a major milestone for transgender rights, but the petition raises only a narrow question unrelated to civil rights: whether the Court should abandon a relatively obscure, but increasingly controversial, doctrine of administrative law. G.G. is a striking example of how seemingly dry concepts of administrative procedure can have unexpected relevance outside of traditional “administrative law” practice areas.

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Maryland high court grants expedited hearing for Baltimore City Council ballot

By Steve Klepper (Twitter: @MDAppeal)

This past Thursday, which seems like a political lifetime ago, the Court of Appeals of Maryland granted certiorari in the following case:

Linda H. Lamone, et al. v. Ian Schlakman, et al. – Case No. 50, September Term, 2016

Issue – Election Law – Did the trial court err in entering an ex parte temporary restraining order that requires the Appellants to remove the name of a qualified candidate from the ballot in Baltimore City Councilmanic District No. 12 for the 2016 General Election?

The Court of Appeals will hear the argument at a special sitting on October 18.

Green Party nominee Ian Schlakman and independent candidate Frank W. Richardson filed suit against the State Administrator of Elections, seeking to remove Dan Sparco (a self-described “Unaffiliated Democrat”) from the ballot. According to an August article by the Baltimore Sun’s Luke Broadwater, Sparaco “acknowledges he missed the state’s deadline,” but he “gained access to the ballot through his own federal lawsuit, which alleged that Maryland’s February filing deadline was unconstitutionally too early.” Sparaco “agreed to drop his suit once State Board of Elections officials agreed to let him on the ballot if he gathered enough signatures.” Read More…

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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