September 2019 Maryland Certiorari Grants

The Maryland Court of Appeals today granted review in four criminal appeals, including two cases regarding writs of actual innocence; and two civil appeals, including a constitutional challenge to Baltimore’s regulation requiring food trucks to operate more than 300 feet from brick-and-mortar restaurants.

The grant list, including the questions presented and links to the opinions below, appears after the jump.

Larry Daniel Bratt v. State of Maryland – Case No. 39, September Term, 2019
(Reported COSA Opinion by Judge Fader)

Issues – Criminal Procedure – 1) Does the failure of a sentencing judge to award a defendant mandatory credit against the sentence for time served in custody prior to trial render the sentence illegal and subject to correction under Maryland Rule 4-345(a)? 2) What is the proper remedy to correct the illegality when a sentence does not reflect the proper credit? 3) Is the claim that a sentencing court failed to comply with Md. Code Ann., Crim. Proc. § 6-218(e) properly raised in a Rule 4-345(a) motion when the court’s alleged failure to do so is a procedural flaw, i.e., not the result of a determination by the court that the defendant is not entitled to any or only partial credit for time that the defendant spent in pre-sentencing detention? 4) Where the defendant alleges that the sentencing court failed to comply with Md. Code Ann., Crim. Proc. § 6-218, and there is no dispute that the defendant is entitled to the credit that he or she requests, must the defendant seek correction of the procedural flaw by filing a Rule 4-351 motion or may the defendant seek the same relief by filing a Rule 4-345(a) motion?

David R. Faulkner v. State of Maryland – Case No. 42, September Term, 2019
(Unreported COSA Opinion by Judge Graeff)

Issues – Criminal Procedure – 1) Did the lower courts err in evaluating the cumulative impact of multiple discrete but complementary items of newly discovered innocence evidence? 2) Did the lower courts err in evaluating the impact of newly discovered third-party guilt evidence? 3) Did the lowers courts err by holding that evidence was not “newly discovered” for purposes of Maryland Code, Criminal Procedure, §8-301, because defense counsel failed to investigate an incomplete summary of a witness statement, where the State suppressed a videotaped statement by that witness with material additional information?

Rasherd Lewis v. State of Maryland – Case No. 44, September Term, 2019
(Reported COSA Opinion by Judge Graeff, Dissent by Judge Arthur)

Issues – Criminal Law – 1) Did CSA err in concluding that the odor of marijuana on a person, without more, constitutes probable cause to arrest? 2) When a majority of a CSA panel concludes that its decision “will result in injustice,” should the court exercise its discretion under Maryland Rule 8-131 and address a constitutional question, which the parties fully briefed in the absence of a preservation challenge, about whether incontrovertible body-camera evidence demonstrates the “seizure” or a person without probable cause?

Pizza Di Joey, LLC, and Madame BBQ, LLC v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore – Case No. 41, September Term, 2019
(Reported COSA Opinion by Judge Nazarian)

Issues – Local Code – Does Baltimore City Code, Art. 15, Section 17-33 violate Article 24 of the Maryland Declaration of Rights?

Jonathan D. Smith v. State of Maryland – Case No. 43, September Term, 2019
(Unreported COSA Opinion by Judge Graeff)

Issues – Criminal Procedure – 1) In considering a Writ of Actual Innocence, did the lower courts err in their evaluation of third-party perpetrator evidence? 2) Did the lower courts err in their evaluation of impeachment evidence that speaks to actual innocence?

Steamfitters Local Union No. 602 v. Erie Insurance Exchange; Steamfitters Local Union No. 602 v. Cincinnati Insurance Company – Case No. 40, September Term, 2019
(Reported COSA Opinion by Judge James Eyler, Dissent by Judge Friedman)

Issues – Torts – 1) Do Landowners owe their neighbors a duty of care to protect against potential fires starting in normal, harmless areas of their property, such as landscape mulch, caused by third persons over whom they have no control? 2) Does a Plaintiff need to provide expert testimony as to reasonable, standard and effective measures to prevent such fires? 3) Under the facts and circumstances of this case, was the spoliation instruction unfairly prejudicial to the appellants? 4) Was is proper for the trial court to enter summary judgment on an indemnity agreement where the contention was that the negligence was that of third parties whose activities were related to the indemnitor and where there were questions of fact with regard to whether the contract had expired?

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