August 2021 Maryland Certiorari Grants (Batch 1)

Today, the Maryland Court of Appeals granted certiorari in two criminal cases. Both involve voir dire preservation issues left unresolved by its June 23 decision in State v. Ablonczy, which held that “objections that relate to the determination of a trial court to not ask a proffered voir dire question are not waived by later acceptance, without qualification, of the jury as empaneled.” The Court yesterday denied several petitions in which the State raised the same argument it did in Ablonczy.

The Lopez-Villa and Jordan petitions, granted today, were not among the petitions circulated to the judges at their July 30 conference. It is therefore likely that the Court will issue a second batch of certiorari grants later this month.

Additionally, on July 26, the Court of Appeals accepted a certified question from the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland. The three cases, with questions presented, are listed below.

Brigido Lopez-Villa v. State of Maryland – Case No. 22, September Term, 2021 (Unreported COSA Opinion by Judge Arthur)

Issues – Criminal Law – Where Petitioner submitted a written request for said voir dire questions and the trial court “reviewed” the questions and ruled that it was “not inclined to ask” them “because the Court will instruct on those areas of law,” did CSA err in holding that Petitioner “failed to preserve his objection to the court’s refusal to read his proposed voir dire questions,” because he “failed to ask or tell the court that he objected to the failure to ask those specific questions,” and because when, at the end of voir dire, the trial court inquired, “[d]id I miss any questions…what you previously objected to, which I will preserve for the record,” counsel responded “no”?

State of Maryland v. Latoya Jordan – Case No. 23, September Term, 2021 (Unreported Per Curiam COSA Opinion)

Issues – Criminal Law – Is it harmless error to fail to propound a voir dire question regarding a defendant’s right to remain silent and not testify where the defendant actually testifies?

Nagle & Zaller, P.C., et al. v. Jamal E. Delegall, et al. – Misc. No. 6, September Term, 2021
Certified Question from the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland

Question: The Maryland Consumer Loan Law, Md. Code Ann., Commercial Law §§12-301, et seq., applies to consumer “loans” made by “lenders,” and requires a “person engaged in the business of making loans” to be licensed. Based upon the allegations in the Third Amended Complaint, is Nagle & Zaller, P.C. subject to the statute?

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