March 2020 Maryland Certiorari Grants
Eight reported opinions of the Court of Special Appeals are now under further appellate review. Here are the writs of certiorari issued by the Court of Appeals today:
Dayle K. Byrd v. State of Maryland – Case No. 4, September Term, 2020
Issues – Criminal Law – 1) Did CSA err in holding that Petitioner’s guilty pleas were valid even though the State did not disclose material impeachment evidence about key police witnesses (including evidence of lying in federal court and falsifying a warrant)? 2) Did the non-disclosure of the evidence violate the State’s constitutional discovery obligation under Brady v. Maryland, 343 U.S. 83 (1963), and its progeny? 3) Did the non-disclosure of the evidence constitute a misrepresentation by the State rendering the pleas invalid under Brady v. United States, 397 U.S. 742 (1972), and its progeny?
Lawrence Ervin Montague v. State of Maryland – Case No. 75, September Term, 2019
Issue – Criminal Law – Is artistic expression, in the form of rap lyrics, that does not have a nexus to the alleged crime relevant as substantive evidence of guilt?
Nationwide Property & Casualty Insurance Company, et al. v. Selective Way Insurance Company – Case No. 1, September Term, 2020
Issue – Civil Procedure – Did CSA err in ruling that prejudgment interest is not recoverable as a matter of right on amounts paid for defense costs where a liability insurer breaches its duty to defend?
State of Maryland v. Kennard Carter – Case No. 74, September Term, 2019
Issues – Criminal Law – 1) Does the Maryland Transit Administration’s (“MTA”) practice of fare inspection on the Light Rail comply with the Fourth Amendment? 2) If fare inspection does not comply with the Fourth Amendment, did the discovery of an open warrant for Respondent’s arrest nevertheless attenuate the violation under Utah v. Strieff, 136 S.Ct. 2056 (2016), where any unconstitutionality of the MTA’s fare inspection practice was not previously established?
State of Maryland v. Latoya Bonte Elzey – Case No. 3, September Term, 2020
Issue – Criminal Law – Was CSA wrong in holding that a jury may not be instructed to find that the victim abused the defendant and the defendant suffers from Battered Spouse Syndrome before considering expert testimony on the syndrome?
Devon Jordan Taylor v. State of Maryland – Case No. 2, September Term, 2020
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 “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) Was the error by the trial court in giving the scientific evidence instruction over Petitioner’s generalized objection harmless? 3) Did the trial court act within its discretion in sentencing Petitioner? 4) Should this Court decline to review for plain error the trial court’s instruction to the jury to continue deliberating?
Tyson Farms, Inc., et al. v. Uninsured Employers’ Fund – Case No. 5, September Term, 2020
Issues – Labor & Employment – 1) Did CSA err in reversing the trial court’s determination that the jury should resolve conflicting facts and inferences regarding whether Mr. Garcia was Petitioner’s employee? 2) Did CSA err in concluding that no reasonable jury could find that Mr. Garcia was not Petitioner’s employee, even though Petitioner’s contract was with the owner of the farm, and Petitioner did not hire (or fire) Mr. Garcia; pay him; set his hours or wages; or have a contract with him?
Eric Wise v. State of Maryland – Case No. 73, September Term, 2019
Issues – Criminal Law – 1) Did CSA err in affirming the admission of a statement by a witness with memory loss as a prior inconsistent statement, in conflict with Corbett v. State, 130 Md.App. 408, cert. denied, 359 Md. 31 (2000)? 2) Did CSA err in expanding the circumstances under which hearsay is admissible under Rule 5-802.1(a) to include statements containing a “material” inconsistency with the witness’s testimony?