Archive | December 2017

What was the “First” Appellate Court in the Colonial Americas?

By Michael Wein

With the coming New Year, reflection and reexamination on the past is natural, to understand and fully appreciate the challenges and hopes for the coming year. At least in Maryland, the history of “appeals” has not been the focus of determinate scholarly debate, internally, or in comparison to other jurisdictions.  For example, did you know that appellate courts in the Colonial Americas may have preexisted Thanksgiving, and that the first appellate court continues to be the subject of debate?

If this were the game show Jeopardy! and the “Answer” was “[t]his was the first appellate court established in the Western Hemisphere,” many people might instinctively say the United States Supreme Court.  However, it is certainly not the Supreme Court, as part of the U.S. Constitution, Congress’ 1789 Judiciary Act, and a first “session” with Justices in 1790.  Instead, the correct response choices include not only Massachusetts (including Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay colonies), but also Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania in North America, and the Real Audiencia in Latin America.  These are all “colonial” appellate courts tracing to at least the 1600s, well-before the Supreme Court.  A brief description of each contender follows.
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December 2017 Maryland Certiorari Grants

Seasons greetings from the Maryland Appellate Blog! Is there a better gift than news of freshly-granted writs of cert? You be the judge—the Court of Appeals of Maryland granted seven today. Read More…

#AppellateTwitter’s “cleaned up” craze hits Maryland

By Steve Klepper (Twitter: @MDAppeal)

If you’re on Twitter, you may have come across the campaign by Jack Metzler (@SCOTUSplaces) to convince attorneys and judges to use a new parenthetical. Metzler has found remarkable success in a short time, and that success is now official in Maryland.[*]

Two reported opinions of the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, released on Friday and Monday, included the parenthetical “(cleaned up)” at the end of a citation and dropped a footnote to explain this strange new creature. Read More…