November 2020 Maryland Certiorari Grants

Today the Maryland Court of Appeals granted review in three civil cases and five criminal cases. The criminal petitions include a challenge to the Court of Special Appeals’ practice of issuing summary denials of applications for leave to appeal.

The cases are listed below, with the questions presented and, where applicable, links to the Court of Special Appeals opinion under review.

Clifford Cain, et al. v. Midland Funding – Case No. 38, September Term, 2020 (Unreported COSA Opinion by Judge Kehoe)

Issues – Courts & Judicial Proceedings – 1) Does the statute of limitations for actions on judgments under Md. Code § 5-102(a)(3) of the Courts & Judicial Proceedings Article (“CJP”) apply to both parties to the judgment? 2) If Petitioner’s claims here are not governed by CJP § 5-102(a)(3), do claims under Maryland’s consumer protection laws concerning the continuing unfair, deceptive, and wrongful conduct accrue each time a damage occurs or an ill-gotten benefit is realized by the wrongdoer? 3) Does Federal tolling under 28 U.S.C.A. § 1367(d) or class action tolling from a prior Federal action apply to a subsequent Maryland state action? 4) Did CSA have jurisdiction to review the trial court’s non-final orders?

Robert F. Cherry, Jr., et al. v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore – Case No. 36, September Term, 2020 (Bypass Review)

Issues – Municipal Codes – 1) Did the trial court err in its reliance on Appellee’s actuarial expert who, in calculating breach of contract damages, failed to estimate what retirement benefit increases would have been owed by implementing the statutory plan contract as written and applied for decades? 2) Did the trial court err in computing breach of contract damages when it misinterpreted the actuarial funding required under Appellee’s statutory pension contract? 3) Did the trial court err in holding that Appellee did not breach its statutory pension contract with the active employee members of the retirement plan by the passage of Baltimore City Ordinance 10-306, which reduced promised pension benefits?

Tasha Gambrell v. Midland Funding, LLC – Case No. 39, September Term, 2020 (Unreported COSA Opinion by Judge Kehoe)

Issues – Courts & Judicial Proceedings – 1) Does the statute of limitations for actions on judgments under Md. Code § 5-102(a)(3) of the Courts & Judicial Proceedings Article (“CJP”) apply to both parties to the judgment? 2) If Petitioner’s claims here are not governed by CJP § 5-102(a)(3), do claims under Maryland’s consumer protection laws concerning the continuing unfair, deceptive, and wrongful conduct accrue each time a damage occurs or an ill-gotten benefit is realized by the wrongdoer?

Kenneth Mahai v. State of Maryland – Case No. 41, September Term, 2020 (Application for Leave to Appeal Denied by COSA)

Issues – Constitutional Law – 1) Does Article IV, § 14A of the Maryland Constitution, which authorizes CSA to exercise only intermediate appellate jurisdiction, preclude CSA from exercising final appellate jurisdiction by issuing a summary denial of an application for leave to appeal without addressing the issues raised, which has been held to bar further appellate review under Md. Code § 12-202 of the Courts & Judicial Proceedings Article (“CJP”). 2) Did Petitioner receive ineffective assistance of counsel at trial when counsel failed to object to jury instructions regarding the definition of reasonable doubt? 3) Did Petitioner receive ineffective assistance of counsel at trial when counsel failed to object to voir dire questions that shifted the burden of determining bias to the venirepersons? 4) Did Petitioner receive ineffective assistance of counsel when counsel failed to file a motion for modification of sentence and a motion for sentence review?

State of Maryland v. Sean Morris – Case No. 37, September Term, 2020 (Unreported COSA Opinion by Judge Leahy)

Issues – Criminal Law – 1) As a matter of first impression, does the trial court have discretion to admit testimony regarding a witness’ fear in the absence of a prior inconsistent statement by that witness? 2) If the trial court has that discretion, does the trial court have the discretion to admit testimony regarding the witness’ fear on direct examination in an appropriate case? 3) Did the trial court properly exercise its discretion in admitting brief testimony regarding fear, which made no mention of Respondent, during the direct examination of two witnesses?

Toni Tengeres v. State of Maryland – Case No. 42, September Term, 2020 (Appeal from District Court to Circuit Court)

Issues – Criminal Procedure – 1) Did the trial court abuse its discretion in denying Petitioner’s timely Motion to Reinstate, where good cause was shown, pursuant to the liberal standard for reinstatement in Md. Rule 7-112? 2) Did the trial court violate Petitioner’s due process rights by dismissing her de novo appeal for failure to appear at a status conference, where no critical issues would be decided?

Kevin Whittington v. State of Maryland – Case No. 35, September Term, 2020 (Reported COSA Opinion by Judge Leahy)

Issues – Criminal Procedure – 1) Did CSA, in a case of first impression, err in holding that the placement and use of a GPS tracking device was legal because a GPS Order issued under Md. Code § 1-203.1 of the Criminal Procedure Article satisfied the Fourth Amendment warrant requirement? 2) Did CSA err in finding that the good faith exception to the Fourth Amendment exclusionary rule applied in this case? 3) Did the issuing judge have a substantial basis for finding probable cause from exclusively circumstantial evidence of Petitioner’s criminal activities that provided a sufficient nexus to support a warrant to search his home, car, and person?

D’Angelo Wright v. State of Maryland – Case No. 40, September Term, 2020 (Reported COSA Opinion by Judge Raker)

Issue – Criminal Law – Did the trial court err in giving a flight instruction where the sole contested issue in the case was the identity of the person who committed the crime and fled the scene?

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