July 2019 Maryland Certiorari Grants

The Court of Appeals closed this week by granting certiorari in six cases, on issues including shelter care in CINA cases, insurance coverage, and tolling the Hicks Rule for DNA testing:

In re: O.P. – Case No. 26, September Term, 2019

(Reported CSA Opinion by Fader, C.J.)

Issues – Courts & Judicial Proceedings – 1) Is the preponderance of the evidence standard adopted by the intermediate appellate court inconsistent with the plain language and protective purpose of the shelter-care statute? 2) Did CSA err in finding that the juvenile court did not commit error and abuse its discretion when it denied the local department’s petition to place in shelter care an infant who had suffered unexplained brain injuries consistent with non-accidental trauma and whose parents had delayed seeking medical treatment for four full days after the infant had stopped breathing for several minutes? 3) Does the appellate court have jurisdiction over a State appeal from an order denying a request for shelter care? 4) Given the fundamental, Constitutional right that parents and children have to an intact family free from unwarranted governmental interference, must the juvenile court apply a clear and convincing or preponderance of the evidence standard of proof, rather than a mere reasonable basis standard, during a shelter care hearing, where the State seeks to separate children from their parents due to an alleged need to prevent serious, immediate harm?

Bettye Jean McFarland v. Baltimore Community Lending, Inc. – Case No. 27, September Term, 2019

(Unreported CSA Opinion by Berger, J.)

Issues – Financial Institutions – 1) For joint-ownership bank accounts, should the “equal share” approach apply under Maryland law to impose a rebuttable presumption that all account holders own equal shares of the funds held in a joint account? 2) Did CSA err in holding that Petitioner failed to meet her burden of proving (by clear and convincing evidence) that she was the sole owner of her social security and pension retirement funds in the bank account?

Patrick Rossello v. Zurich American Insurance Company – Case No. 24, September Term, 2019

(On Bypass)

Issue – Insurance Law – Does Maryland Law construe Respondent’s 1974 insurance policies as promising to pay the judgment in full, contrary to the law of some other states?

State of Maryland v. Christopher Mann – Case No. 29, September Term, 2019

(Reported CSA Opinion by Beachley, J.)

Issues – Criminal Law – Did CSA err when it held that defense counsel’s failure to request an alibi jury instruction was prejudicial, for the purpose of Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984), when the presence of that instruction would not have presented a likelihood of a different outcome of the trial?

State of Maryland v. Hussain Ali Zadeh – Case No. 25, September Term, 2019

(Unreported CSA Opinion by Nazarian, J.)

Issues – Criminal Law – 1) When a jointly tried defendant claims that there were too many limiting instructions for a jury to effectively follow, should the reviewing court first consider whether the limiting instructions were justified by non-mutually admissible evidence? 2) When a warrant authorizes the seizure of certain evidence from a car, and an officer, during a lawful frisk of the driver, feels evidence that falls within the warrant, does the plain-feel doctrine permit the seizure of that evidence?

Anthony Marlin Tunnell v. State of Maryland – Case No. 28, September Term, 2019

(Unreported CSA Opinion by Beachley, J.)

Issue – Criminal Procedure – Is the 180-day deadline set forth by Md. Rule 4-271 and Md. Code (2008 Repl. Vol.) § 6-103 of the Criminal Procedure Article, known as the ‘Hicks Rule,’ tolled while the State awaits the results of DNA testing?

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