July 2018 Maryland Certiorari Grants Include State v. Adnan Syed

The Court of Appeals today posted six certiorari grants, including in the high-profile State v. Adnan Syed appeal. The grants, with questions presented and links to the Court of Special Appeals decisions under review, follow the jump.

Reyna de la Paz de Trejos Garcia v. Israel Antonio Trejos Panameno  – Case No. 23, September Term, 2018 (Unreported COSA opinion by Judge Berger, with dissent by Judge Friedman)

Issues – Family Law – 1) Does the juvenile court lose continuing jurisdiction over custody/guardianship actions simply because the child has turned twenty-one years of age? 2) If the juvenile court loses jurisdiction over custody/guardianship actions because the child has turned twenty-one years of age, may a court of equity assume jurisdiction to issue a nunc pro tunc order of custody/guardianship along with Special Immigrant Juvenile Status findings based on the pleadings and the evidence presented at a hearing that occurred prior to the child turning twenty-one years of age?

Motor Vehicle Administration v. James R. Nelson  – Case No. 26, September Term, 2018 (certiorari directly to circuit court under CJP § 12-305)

Issue – Transportation Law – Where the administrative law judge found that a motorist, after being properly advised via the DR-15 Advice of Rights form, expressly refused to take a blood-alcohol concentration test, was the motorist correctly suspended for a test refusal under Transportation Article § 16-205.1, even though the detaining officer did not deviate from the Advice of Rights form and explicitly offer the motorist the option of choosing between a breathalyzer test and a blood test?

Celso Monterroso Romero v. Josefa Perez  – Case No. 27, September Term, 2018 (Reported COSA opinion by Judge Friedman)

Issues – Family Law – 1) Did CSA err in finding no error and upholding the trial court’s denial of Special Immigrant Juvenile (“SIJ”) status, even though the trial court stated that it was applying the incorrect “clear and convincing evidence” standard of proof regarding a neglect finding in an SIJ case? 2) Did CSA err in finding that the trial court had committed no error in its findings that there was insufficient evidence to prove neglect, and therefore no neglect under the law, in the context of an SIJ case?

Gregory Smith v. Wakefield, LP  – Case No. 28, September Term, 2018 (Bypass Petition)

Issues – Real Property – 1) Can a single sentence in a form residential lease grant a landlord an extra 9 years to bring a claim against a tenant? 2) Does Md. Code Ann., Real Prop. (“RP”) § 8-208(d)(2) prohibit the extension of the statute of limitations to 12 years in a residential lease? 3) Even if RP § 8-208 does permit an extension of the statute of limitations, must the extension be reasonable? 4) If a reasonable extension is permitted, is it reasonable to extend the statute of limitations in a month-to-month residential lease from 3 years to 12 years?

State of Maryland v. Adnan Syed  – Case No. 24, September Term, 2018 (Reported COSA opinion by Chief Judge Woodward, with dissent by Judge Graeff)

Issues – Criminal Law – 1) Did CSA err in holding that defense counsel pursuing an alibi strategy without speaking to one specific potential witness violates the Sixth Amendment’s guarantee of effective assistance of counsel? 2) Did CSA draw itself into conflict with Curtis v. State, 284 Md. 132 (1978), when it found that Respondent waived his ineffective assistance of counsel claim based on trial counsel’s failure to challenge cell-tower location data, where the claim implicated the fundamental right to effective counsel and was therefore subject to the statutory requirement of knowing and intelligent waiver?

Devon Jordan Taylor v. State of Maryland  – Case No. 25, September Term, 2018 (Reported COSA opinion by Judge Harrell)

Issues – Criminal Law – 1) Where the only disputed issue at trial was identity, and the only evidence of identity was the victim’s identification of Petitioner, did CSA misapply the harmless error test in holding that an erroneously-given scientific evidence or “anti-CSI effect” jury instruction was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt because the testimony of the victim is legally sufficient to sustain the convictions? 2) Did CSA err in holding that the sentencing court properly considered criminal charges not resulting in conviction and 11 juvenile contacts not resulting in adjudication in sentencing Petitioner to thirty years executed time, even though the sentencing guidelines called for a sentence between one and five years, where the State presented no evidence regarding any of the criminal charges or juvenile contacts? 3) Did the trial court’s emphasis on the importance of rendering a verdict, and failure to directly answer the deadlocked jury’s question as to whether a hung jury is a legitimate outcome, sufficiently coerce a verdict as to constitute plain error? 4) When he “excepted” to the scientific evidence instruction, but did not state any particular grounds for the objection, did Petitioner fail to preserve for appellate review the question of the claimed error of the trial court’s instruction? 5) If preserved, should review in this belated appeal of the claimed error of the trial court’s scientific evidence instruction be based on law existing at the time of the trial in 2008 and not based on this Court’s decisions in Atkins v. State, 421 Md. 434 (2011) and Stabb v. State, 423 Md. 454 (2011)? And if so, did the trial court act within its discretion when it gave the scientific evidence instruction when the instruction was proper under then existing law, i.e., Evans v. State, 174 Md.App. 549 (2007)? 6) Does this Court have jurisdiction to hear this belated appeal?

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