December 2013 Certiorari Grants, Including 2 New DNA Cases

By Steve Klepper (Twitter: @MDAppeal)

On December 20, 2013, the Court of Appeals of Maryland granted certiorari in seven cases. All seven cases have been set for argument during the term beginning September 2014.

The first two listed cases include interesting variations on the Maryland DNA Collection Act, which the U.S. Supreme Court upheld in Maryland v. King, 133 S. Ct. 1 (2012). Two criminal defendants now want to use DNA matches to point the finger at other potential culprits.

Traimne Martinez Allen v. State of Maryland – Case No. 16, September Term, 2014

Issue – Criminal Law – Did the lower court err in reading MD Code, Public Safety Art., § 2-510, so broadly as to conclude that crime scene DNA of other suspects – one of whom had a conviction for a crime very similar to the events for which Petitioner stood trial – was not admissible at trial, and was Petitioner denied his constitutional right to present a defense?

Howard Bay Diggs v. State of Maryland – Case No. 17, September Term, 2014

Issues – Criminal Law – 1) Does MD Code, Public Safety Art., §2-510, which provides that “a DNA database match may be used to establish probable cause to charge and arrest an individual” but “the database match would be inadmissible at a trial of that individual…,” prohibit the introduction at trial by a criminal defendant of evidence of DNA matches to alternative suspects; and if so, does §2-510 deny a criminal defendant his/her constitutional right to present a defense? 2) Did the trial court err in excluding evidence offered by Petitioner of DNA database matches to other suspects on evidence collected at the crime scene?

Kevin E. Jones v. State of Maryland – Case No. 14, September Term, 2014

Issue – Criminal Law – Was the evidence sufficient to convict Petitioner of second degree assault of the intent to frighten modality where the State failed to prove that Petitioner was aware of the existence of the victim?

Jerrod M. Peterson v. State of Maryland – Case No. 13, September Term, 2014

Issues – Criminal Law – 1) Did the trial court err in ruling that the attorney-client privilege prevented the co-conspirator’s attorney from testifying about the co-conspirator’s proffer session with a prosecutor and a county homicide detective? 2) Was Petitioner’s Sixth Amendment Right of Confrontation violated when the trial court limited his cross-examination of multiple State witnesses? 3) Did the trial court commit reversible error by limiting Petitioner’s cross-examination of multiple State witnesses? 4) Are Petitioner’s claims regarding cross-examination of witnesses properly before this Court for review?

William Rounds, et al. v. Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission, et al. – Case No. 19, September Term, 2014

Issues – Local Government – 1) Whether parties seeking redress from alleged government violations of the Constitution should be required to adhere to the strict notice requirements of the Local Government Tort Claims Act? 2) Did CSA err in upholding the severe remedy of dismissal for an alleged failure to join necessary parties, despite the Complaint’s assertion that non-defendant neighbors did not oppose action? 3) Did CSA err in its factual determination that Petitioners failed to file this cause of action within the statute of limitations?

State of Maryland v. Kenneth Martin Stachowski, Jr. – Case No. 15, September Term, 2014

Issues – Criminal Law – 1) Did CSA err in holding that a court may not order restitution as part of a plea agreement on a charge as a condition of a probation in another matter before the court, creating uncertainty in conflict with this Court’s holdings in Walczak and Lee? 2) Did CSA err in vacating only the negotiated and accepted restitution condition required of Petitioner, which was part of the plea agreement, rather than rescinding the entire plea agreement, thus allowing Petitioner the full benefit of his bargain with the State without assuming any of his negotiated burden?

Gineene Williams, etc., et al. v. Peninsula Regional Medical Center, et al. – Case No. 18, September Term, 2014

Issue – Torts – Does MD’s involuntary admission immunity statute, Health General § 10-618, apply to health care providers who evaluate an individual and decide to discharge the patient from psychiatric care?

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