December 2014 Maryland Certiorari Grants

The holidays are here for Maryland court-watchers, with a new pile of certiorari grants waiting to be eagerly unwrapped. Those with appellate-procedure matters on their wishlists will find their days particularly merry and bright. Did the Court of Appeals bring you what you wanted this season? Find out after the jump.

Granted December 19, 2014

Board of Trustees, Community College of Baltimore County v. Patient First Corporation – Case No. 89

Issues – Torts – 1) Whether the trial court erred as a matter of law in awarding indemnification damages to Respondent related to its defense and settlement of claims against it for its own negligence, even though Petitioner did not expressly and unequivocally agree to indemnify Respondent for its own negligence? 2) Whether the trial court abused its discretion in allowing Respondent’s general counsel to testify to the reasonableness of the attorneys’ fees charged by outside counsel and clearly erred in awarding Respondent attorneys’ fees based on that testimony?

Larry Cooper v. Melissa Rodriguez, et al. – Case No. 87

Issues – Torts – 1) Is a correctional officer who acts without malice in performing discretionary acts within the scope of his public duties entitled to public official immunity? 2) Did the trial court properly strike the jury’s finding of gross negligence by the correctional officer where there was no evidence of an intentional failure to perform a duty or of reckless disregard for the life or property of another?

Shyquille Griffin v. Andrew Lindsey, et al. – Case No. 88

Issues – Criminal Law – 1) Do crime victims lack statutory authority to appeal from the denial of a motion for reconsideration under Maryland Code (2008, 2011 Supp.), Criminal Procedure Article § 11-103(e), thus depriving CSA of jurisdiction to review the trial court’s denial of Respondent’s motion for reconsideration of his request for restitution? 2) Did the trial court properly deny Respondent’s motion for reconsideration of his request for restitution from Petitioner, when the court had already accepted Petitioner’s guilty plea pursuant to a plea agreement, Petitioner had already performed his part of the plea agreement, and the court had already sentenced Petitioner? 3) Under the principles of Cuffley v. State, 416 Md. 568 (2010) and Baines v. State, 416 Md. 604 (2010), does a binding plea agreement prohibit restitution when it makes no mention of restitution and purports to be the “full and complete agreement of the parties”? 4) Does the trial court lack authority to grant a victim’s request for restitution if the victim does not request restitution until after the court has already accepted a plea agreement that does not include it? 5) When a court has already imposed a sentence that does not include restitution, would granting a victim’s request for restitution illegally increase the sentence?

State of Maryland v. Hector Leonel Gutierrez & Edgar Perez-Larazo – Case No. 86

Issues – Criminal Law – 1) Did CSA usurp the role of the jury by viewing the contested facts in the light most favorable to the defendants and accepting, nearly verbatim, the defendants’ statement of facts? 2) Under Smith v. State, 415 Md. 174 (2010), can a rational jury infer that two roommates had joint constructive possession of cocaine found in common areas of a one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment? 3) Did CSA err in finding that the State’s rebuttal argument was improper?

State of Maryland v. Peter Sutro Waine – Case No. 90

Issues – Criminal Law – 1) Did the trial court retain the discretion, granted by Criminal Procedure Article § 7-104, to determine whether the interests of justice would be served by reopening Respondent’s prior post conviction proceeding to litigate an unwaived challenge to “advisory” jury instructions? 2) Should a circuit court consider a challenge to instructions under Unger v. State, 427 Md. 383 (2012), on a case by case basis to determine whether there is “a reasonable likelihood” that the jurors understood the court’s 1977 instructions as allowing them to convict Respondent on proof less than beyond a reasonable doubt? 3) Where the Unger majority ignored the underpinnings of the doctrine of stare decisis, and, in any event, was “plainly wrong” when it held that Stevenson v. State, 289 Md. 167 (1980) and Montgomery v. State, 292 Md. 84 (1981) had set forth a new interpretation of Article 23 of the Maryland Declaration of Rights over thirty years earlier and when it held that Stevenson and Montgomery were to be applied retroactively, should Unger be overruled?

George Varriale v. State of Maryland – Case No. 85

Issues – Criminal Law – 1) Whether the Fourth Amendment applies to law enforcement’s retention and use, for general investigatory purposes, of Petitioner’s DNA profile collected for a limited purpose? 2) If applicable, whether the Fourth Amendment permits the police to use Petitioner’s DNA profile for a purpose that exceeded the limited terms of consent police relied on to collect Petitioner’s DNA samples? 3) Did Petitioner consent to the collection and subsequent use of his DNA profile?

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