May 2017 Maryland Certiorari Grants

This month’s first batch of certiorari grants from the Court of Appeals of Maryland is here. The most interesting cases come from the criminal side, with questions regarding a “missing witness” instruction as to a defendant’s mother, and regarding the use of a “music video/slide show” as a victim impact evidence.

The Court may issue additional certiorari grants following its May 18 conference. The full list of five certiorari grants, with questions presented, appears after the jump.

Lillian C. Blentlinger, LLC; William L. Blentlinger, LLC v. Cleanwater Linganore, Inc. et al. – Case No. 13, September Term, 2017

Issues – 1) Did CSA err by holding that a Development Rights and Responsibilities Agreement (“DRRA”), in order to be valid, must include “enhanced public benefits” to the local governing body? 2) Did CSA err by holding that Petitioners’ proffer of a school site did not constitute adequate consideration for the DRRA?

Shelia Davis et al. v. Frostburg Facility Operations, LLC d/b/a Frostburg Village – Case No. 12, September Term, 2017

Issues – Torts – 1) Did CSA err in holding that Petitioner was required to file in the Md. Healthcare Alternative Dispute Resolution Office so that office could make the initial determination of whether Petitioner’s injuries were the result of ordinary negligence or medical negligence? 2) Did CSA err in holding that Petitioners’ complaint was not sufficient on its face to survive the granting of a motion to dismiss on the remaining counts?

Jerry Harris v. State of Maryland – Case No. 9, September Term, 2017

Issues – Criminal Law – 1) Did the trial court abuse its discretion by issuing a missing witness instruction concerning Petitioner’s mother, without conducting any inquiry or making any findings as to whether they had a relationship that would have rendered her peculiarly available to the defense? 2) Is a mother/son relationship, without more, sufficient to establish that the mother is peculiarly available to the son for purposes of the missing witness rule? 3) Did CSA err in finding that the trial court committed harmless error when it allowed a detective to testify that Petitioner had invoked his right to an attorney during a police interview?

Curtis Maurice Lopez v. State of Maryland – Case No. 11, September Term, 2017

Issue – Criminal Procedure – Is a music video/slide show depicting the lives of the victims a permissible form of victim impact evidence, and does its admission violate a criminal defendant’s rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution?

Isa Manuel Santiago v. State of Maryland – Case No. 10, September Term, 2017

Issues- Criminal Law – 1) Did CSA err in holding that the trial court properly admitted testimony from the State’s cellular communication expert when the expert admitted his opinion was based on a critical assumption the factual underpinning of which was not established and a report that was destroyed before trial? 2) Did CSA err in holding that the trial court properly admitted evidence of Petitioner’s silence during an investigation by his automobile insurer that was related to and concurrent with the police investigation in this case?

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