Archive | January 2017

Mitchell v. MVA: The Court of Appeals’ Reluctant Engagement with the Public Forum Doctrine

By Alan Sternstein

Braving to step into the “Stygian swamp that envelops the public forum doctrine,” Slip Op. at 19, the Court of Appeals in Mitchell v. Maryland Motor Vehicle Admin., 450 Md. 282, 148 A.3d 319 (2016) (“Mitchell”), successfully emerges from the swamp but leaves its way out as murky as the swamp it dared to enter. The Court affirmed the decision of the Court of Special Appeals, which, in turn, affirmed the Circuit Court’s judicial review of an Administrative Law Judge’s determination to uphold an action of the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (“MVA”). That action revoked vehicle license plates issued to the Appellant and bearing the Spanish word “MIERDA,” whose primary English meaning is the expletive “shit.” Heeding public forum analysis, though not without periodic pause, the Court’s opinion adopts essentially the reasoning of the Court of Special Appeals and holds that state-issued license plates are a nonpublic forum. Slip Op. at 2, 22. Consequently, MVA’s action passed muster under the standard discussed below and applicable to determining the constitutionality of government limitations on speech and expression in nonpublic forums. Read More…

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Six New Maryland Certiorari Grants, January 9, 2017

The Court of Appeals of Maryland has posted six new certiorari grants. Five are criminal cases. The one civil case involves a Court of Special Appeals opinion, authored by Judge Arthur, with facts that read like a Trusts & Estates exam. On the criminal side, Savage v. State presents interesting questions regarding a defense expert’s neuropsychological examination and DSM-IV diagnosis.

The Court of Appeals is likely to issue any additional grants for this month on a rolling basis between now and January 20 (the day after its January 19 conference).The six grants, with questions presented, appear after the jump. Read More…

The Court of Special Appeals celebrates being 50 years young

By Michael Wein

As highlighted in a media release on the Maryland Judiciary web site, Maryland’s intermediate appellate court, the Court of Special Appeals, is having a fiftieth anniversary celebration today. This is meant to coincide, exactly, with the first day, January 6, 1967, that the original five Court of Special Appeals judges were sworn to the newly created constitutional position (including the first Chief Judge of that Court, Robert C. Murphy, who went on to be Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals 5 years later, and after whom the appellate courts’ building is now named). Read More…

Goodbye Chris, Hello Brandon

By Steve Klepper (Twitter: @MDAppeal)

We have some exciting but bittersweet news. Longtime blog manager Chris Mincher has departed, but for the best of reasons. He has taken a new job as Deputy Legal Counsel in the Governor’s Office of Legal Counsel. Chris has taken the laboring oar countless times over the past three years. We offer him the sincerest thanks for his hard work, discerning editorial eye, good humor, and font expertise.

Fortunately, Brandon Moore has agreed to take over the role of blog manager. Brandon is an obvious choice. He served three federal clerkships, with Fourth Circuit Judge Andre M. Davis and U.S. District Judges Theodore D. Chuang and George L. Russell, III. During law school, Brandon served as the Managing Editor of the Maryland Law Review and interned for then-Chief Judge Robert M. Bell on the Court of Appeals of Maryland. He is now an associate with Gallagher, Evelius & Jones in Baltimore. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Brandon for five years and am thrilled that he will be joining the blog.