April 2018 Maryland Certiorari Grants

The Maryland Court of Appeals granted five writs of certiorari today:

Rodney Lee Agnew v. State of Maryland – Case No. 9, September Term, 2018
(Unreported CSA Opinion by Graeff, J.)

Issues – Criminal Law –Was a recorded communication on a cell phone between Petitioner and an unidentified speaker intercepted in violation of the Md. Wiretap Statute and erroneously admitted at trial when there was no enumerated exception for its admissibility?

Ronald Cornish v. State of Maryland – Case No. 12, September Term, 2018
(Unreported CSA Opinion by Eyler, James R., J.)

Issue – Criminal Law – Where a criminal defendant has satisfied all the pleading requirements entitling him to a hearing on his motion for a new trial pursuant to Md. Rule 4-331 (c) and (f) and the trial court summarily denies the motion without a hearing, does an appellate court err in affirming the trial court by ruling on the merits of the motion?

David Leander Ford v. State of Maryland – Case No. 11, September Term, 2018
(Reported CSA Opinion by Berger, J.)

Issues – Criminal Law – 1) Did the trial court err in allowing the State to introduce evidence of the victim’s character for peacefulness, in a homicide case, when, in his opening statement, the defendant clearly stated that the victim was the first aggressor and suggested that evidence would be introduced to prove it? 2) What is the correct standard for determining whether a defendant’s conduct is too ambiguous or equivocal to be admissible as evidence of “consciousness of guilt”? 3) Did the trial court err in allowing, as evidence of consciousness of guilt, the State’s witness to testify about Petitioner’s reaction to being told that he had to leave her home?

Darryl Nichols v. State of Maryland – Case No. 8, September Term, 2018
(Unreported CSA Opinion by Kehoe, J.)

Issues – Criminal Procedure – 1) Can the law of the case doctrine bar a claim of an illegal sentence for failure to properly raise the issue on appeal, despite Maryland Rule 4-345’s provision that a court may correct an illegal sentence at any time?  2) Is Petitioner’s total sentence of 80 years of imprisonment, which was imposed at resentencing, an illegal increase from his previous total sentence of life with all but 50 years suspended

Bradford Owusu v. Motor Vehicle Administration – Case No. 10, September Term, 2018
(On Bypass from the Circuit Court for Montgomery County – Petition for Writ of Certiorari granted without prior review by the CSA)

Issues – Transportation – 1) Is it a violation of due process and a failure to “fully advise” a driver of the administrative penalties that shall be imposed for refusing a breath test pursuant to Transp. §16-205.1 when, after reading the MVA’s DR-15 advice form, a police officer’s oral restatement of the penalties for failing and refusing a breath test omits the most severe mandatory penalty for refusal? 2) Is the DR-15 form’s failure to advise suspected drunk drivers of the length of time the ignition interlock would be required in the event of a refusal – one year – a violation of due process and a failure to “fully advise” a driver of the administrative penalties that shall be imposed for refusing a breath test pursuant to Transp. §16-205.1?

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