Archive | November 2018

Defense counsel’s opening statement didn’t open the door – Ford v. State

By Brad McCullough

Suppose defense counsel in a homicide trial gives an opening statement suggesting that the victim had been the aggressor and had initiated the fight that ultimately led to his death. Does that opening statement open the door to permit the prosecution, in its case-in-chief, to introduce evidence showing the victim’s character trait for peacefulness? That was one of the issues facing the Court of Appeals in Ford v. State, No. COA-REG-0011-2018 (Oct. 26, 2018).[i] In an opinion authored by Judge Shirley Watts, the Court held that defense counsel’s opening statement had not opened the door and that the trial court erred in allowing the State to introduce the character evidence in its case-in-chief. But the defense victory was pyrrhic, as the Court also held that the error was harmless and thus affirmed the conviction for second-degree murder.

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November 2018 Maryland Certiorari Grants

Yesterday, the Court of Appeals granted review in five cases: `

Baltimore County, Maryland v. Michael Quinlan – Case No. 50, September Term, 2018

(Unreported COSA Opinion by Judge Leahy)

Issues – Workers’ Compensation – 1) Did the trial court err in denying Petitioner’s motion for summary judgment, given the lack of a clearly defined occupational disease as the basis for the claim and evidence that the conditions were shown to be prevalent in all occupations involving heavy physical labor not uniquely related to the work of a paramedic or EMT as an inherent and inseparable risk? 2) Did CSA err in finding that Respondent met the statutory requirements set forth in LE §9-502(d)(1) and that he had sufficiently established at trial that his condition resulted from an inherent hazard of his employment as a paramedic or EMT? 3) Should this Court review the decision below under the statutory requirements and existing case law, particularly Black and Decker Corporation v. Humbert, 189 Md.App. 171 (2009), which similarly ignores the legislative requirement that a disease is only occupational if it is “due to the nature of an employment in which the hazards of the occupational disease exist” (LE §9-502(d)(1)(i)), to provide clarification and guidance on the requirement for establishing a legally sufficient claim for occupational disease? Read More…

Taxpayer Standing Cases Pending Yet Again in the Court of Appeals:  Herein, About Whose Interest Is It Anyways?

By Alan B. Sternstein

The Court of Appeals is poised once again to tackle the subject of standing in Maryland courts, particularly the doctrine of so-called “taxpayer standing.”[1]  Four relatively recent and lengthy decisions by the Court have already addressed the matter at length, including the related “property owner standing,” doctrine.  Anne Arundel County v. Bell, 442 Md. 539, 113 A.3d 639 (2015); State Center, LLC v. Lexington Charles Ltd. P’ship, 438 Md. 451, 92 A.3d 400, 458 (2014); 120 West Fayette St., LLLP v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore, 426 Md. 14, 43 A.3d 355 (2012) (“Superblock III”); and 120 W. Fayette St., LLLP v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore, 407 Md. 253, 964 A.2d 662 (2009) (“Superblock I ”).  Two new appeals raise issues showing the lack of clarity that remains regarding taxpayer standing in Maryland.  Read More…