January 2014 Certiorari Grants

On Friday, January 24, the Court of Appeals granted certiorari in four cases. Below are the four cases, with questions presented, as they appear on the Court’s website:

Granted January 24, 2013

Bernard Delaney McCree, Jr. v. State of Maryland– Case No. 20, September Term, 2014

Issue – Criminal Law – Is the trademark counterfeiting statute, Md. Code, Crim. Law Art. § 8-611 (2012 Repl. Vol.), unconstitutional because it is overbroad and/or void-for-vagueness?

Dominik Oglesby v. State of Maryland– Case No. 23, September Term, 2014

Issue – Criminal Law – Pursuant to the rule of lenity, was Appellant required to be sentenced for possession of a firearm pursuant to Crim. Law Art., § 5-622, one of the two statutes punishing the conduct for which he was sentenced, because it prescribed a more lenient sentence than that mandated by the statute, Public Safety Art., § 5-133, under which he was sentenced?

People’s Insurance Counsel Division v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Company, et al.– Case No. 21, September Term, 2014

Issues – Insurance Law – 1) Should this Court reexamine Maryland common law on construing insurance contracts and, recognizing that such contracts are not the product of equal bargaining, hold that terms contained in an insurance policy must be strictly construed against the insurer? 2) Did the Commissioner err in allowing State Farm to deny coverage for damage to a collapsed carport under a policy that insured against “the sudden, entire collapse of a building” based on a restrictive definition of the term “building” that does not appear in the insurance policy or any other written document, and is based only on oral instructions given to a catastrophe claims adjuster when she was dispatched to handle claims following a severe snowstorm?

William Siam Simpson, III v. State of Maryland– Case No. 22, September Term, 2014

Issues – Criminal Law – 1) Does the State violate a criminal defendant’s rights under the Fifth Amendment and Article 22 of the Maryland Declaration of Rights when a prosecutor repeatedly and over objection assures the jury in opening statement that the defendant “will tell you” that he committed the alleged offenses? 2) Does a trial court commit reversible error when it allows the State to offer opinion testimony from a law enforcement officer concerning his canine partner’s alleged detection of an accelerant without requiring the State to name the officer as an expert prior to trial or to qualify the officer as an expert at trial? 3) Did CSA err in holding that a police officer may not testify as to the significance of an accelerant-detecting dog’s actions unless that officer is first qualified and accepted as an expert pursuant to Md. Rule 5-702?

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