August 2021 Maryland Certiorari Grants (Batch 2) Include Beltway Sniper’s Petition

Yesterday, the Maryland Court of Appeals granted review in eight cases. Three involve juvenile life sentences, including that of Lee Boyd Malvo, one of the 2002 “Beltway Snipers.” The Court has calendared the juvenile cases for argument during its January 2022 sitting.

The cases are below, with links to the Court of Special Appeals opinions under review.

Arthur Becker, et al. v. Falls Road Community Association, et al. – Case No. 24, September Term, 2021 (Unreported COSA Opinion by Judge Wells)
Issue – Zoning & Planning – In order for collateral estoppel to bar a subsequently filed development plan, must the two plans be found to be identical?

Maryland Small MS4 Coalition, et al. v. Maryland Department of the Environment – Case No. 25, September Term, 2021 (Reported COSA Opinion by Judge Harrell)
Issues – Environmental Law – 1) Has Maryland Department of the Environment (“MDE”) unlawfully made the Queen Anne’s County (“County”) responsible for the discharges from independent third parties and nonpoint source runoff that do not discharge from the County’s MS4? 3) Has MDE unlawfully imposed requirements beyond the maximum extent practicable in the General Permit?

Kenyatta M. Smith v. State of Maryland – Case No. 26, September Term, 2021 (Unreported Per Curiam COSA Opinion)
Issues – Criminal Law – 1) When a petitioner satisfies the substantive requirements for receiving coram nobis relief – i.e., they have exhausted all other available remedies, have proven that the convictions they are challenging suffer from constitutional or other fundamental error, and have established that the challenged convictions create a significant collateral consequence – to what extent does the petitioner still need to show that there are “compelling circumstances” warranting relief? 2) Where Petitioner met the established prerequisites for obtaining coram nobis relief, did the circuit court err in ruling that, under dicta in Coleman v. State, 219 Md.App. 339 (2014), there are not “compelling circumstances” to vacate Petitioner’s convictions because, inter alia, the legislative purpose behind the creation of Petitioner’s significant collateral consequence (i.e., her inability to obtain a license as a mortgage originator) takes precedence?

In Re D.D. – Case No. 27, September Term, 2021 (Reported COSA Opinion by Judge Graeff)
Issue – Criminal Law – 1) Does the scent of marijuana provide reasonable suspicion to conduct an investigatory stop to determine if someone possesses a criminal amount of marijuana or could be cited for civil violations of marijuana laws? 2) Assuming, arguendo, that the stop was constitutional, was the frisk unlawful because the police lacked reasonable suspicion to believe that Respondent was armed and dangerous?

Thornton Mellon LLC v. Adrianne Dennis Exempt Trust – Case No. 28, September Term, 2021 (Reported COSA Opinion by Judge Arthur)
Issues – Tax-Property – 1) Can “impeded redemption,” a doctrine created by the trial court and upheld by the CSA, be employed in tax sale cases as a basis to dismiss timely-filed complaints to foreclose rights of redemption and deny statutory attorneys’ fees where Md. Code § 14-829 of the Tax-Property (“TP”) Article specifically provides a redemption procedure when the amount in redemption is in dispute after a complaint is filed? 2) Can a property owner who fails to redeem a property for six months after a tax sale avoid owing additional statutory attorneys’ fees under the impeded redemption doctrine without proving they had the ability to redeem the property prior to the filing of the complaint to foreclose right of redemptions? 3) Is a tax sale purchaser, after waiting the requisite six months after a tax sale, required to delay filing a complaint to foreclose right of redemption if the owner of the property states an intent to redeem the property? 4) Can a tax sale purchaser be deemed to have filed a complaint to foreclose right of redemption “prematurely” if the complaint is filed more than the requisite six months after the tax sale? 5) Was CSA correct to find that the trial court committed no errors in dismissing Petitioner’s complaint and denying its requests for attorneys’ fees based on the impeded redemption doctrine, where Respondent failed to attempt to redeem the property in accordance with TP § 14-829, conceded that she was aware of her ability to redeem the property minutes after paying fees to Petitioner, and otherwise did not provide any evidence of her ability to redeem prior to Petitioner filing its complaint? 6) Was CSA correct to find that the trial court acted within its discretion in denying Petitioner’s motions for extraordinary attorneys’ fees, when the trial court did not review the requests for fees on the merits and denied them solely on the basis that they flowed from Petitioner’s “premature” complaint?

Lee Boyd Malvo v. State of Maryland – Case No. 29, September Term, 2021 (Bypass Review)
Issues – Tax-Property – 1) Can “impeded redemption,” a doctrine created by the trial court and upheld by the CSA, be employed in tax sale cases as a basis to dismiss timely-filed complaints to foreclose rights of redemption and deny statutory attorneys’ fees where Md. Code § 14-829 of the Tax-Property (“TP”) Article specifically provides a redemption procedure when the amount in redemption is in dispute after a complaint is filed? 2) Can a property owner who fails to redeem a property for six months after a tax sale avoid owing additional statutory attorneys’ fees under the impeded redemption doctrine without proving they had the ability to redeem the property prior to the filing of the complaint to foreclose right of redemptions? 3) Is a tax sale purchaser, after waiting the requisite six months after a tax sale, required to delay filing a complaint to foreclose right of redemption if the owner of the property states an intent to redeem the property? 4) Can a tax sale purchaser be deemed to have filed a complaint to foreclose right of redemption “prematurely” if the complaint is filed more than the requisite six months after the tax sale? 5) Was CSA correct to find that the trial court committed no errors in dismissing Petitioner’s complaint and denying its requests for attorneys’ fees based on the impeded redemption doctrine, where Respondent failed to attempt to redeem the property in accordance with TP § 14-829, conceded that she was aware of her ability to redeem the property minutes after paying fees to Petitioner, and otherwise did not provide any evidence of her ability to redeem prior to Petitioner filing its complaint? 6) Was CSA correct to find that the trial court acted within its discretion in denying Petitioner’s motions for extraordinary attorneys’ fees, when the trial court did not review the requests for fees on the merits and denied them solely on the basis that they flowed from Petitioner’s “premature” complaint?

Seth D. Jedlicka v. State of Maryland – Case No. 30, September Term, 2021 (Unreported COSA Opinion by Judge Berger)
Issues – Constitutional Law – 1) How should a sentencing court evaluate where on the McCullough “spectrum,” Carter v. State, 461 Md. 295 (2018), a juvenile offender falls, and how does that analysis determine what term-of-years sentence or period of parole ineligibility is too long to comport with the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and U.S. Supreme Court precedent in Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 60 (2012), and Montgomery v. Louisiana, 136 S.Ct. 718 (2016)? 2) As to juvenile offenders, does the statute, Md. Code § 7-301(d)(2) of the Correctional Services Article, prescribing a mandatory 25 years of parole ineligibility in every case where the State seeks life without parole, violate the Equal Protection Clause and/or the Eighth Amendment? 3) What is the scope of the individualized sentencing requirement for juveniles who have committed homicide and did the lower court err in upholding Petitioner’s concurrent 60 year aggregate term and life suspend all but 60 years sentences, imposed without an individualized sentencing proceeding? 4) Due to a concern that juveniles will be forced to serve disproportionate sentences, should this Court recognize a substantive right for non-incorrigible juveniles to be released, as set forth by the U.S. Supreme Court in Miller and Montgomery interpreting the Eighth Amendment? 5) Did the lower court err in finding that a life sentence in Maryland is not the functional equivalent of life without parole, even though the structure of the Maryland parole system allows offenders to be diverted from parole to clemency?

Michael Farmer v. State of Maryland – Case No. 31, September Term, 2021 (Unreported COSA Opinion by Judge Beachley)
Issues – Constitutional Law – 1) As part of a juvenile lifer’s constitutional right to a meaningful opportunity to obtain release based upon demonstrated maturity and rehabilitation, as recognized in Carter v. State, 461 Md. 295 (2018), does a juvenile lifer have a federal constitutional right to state-furnished counsel in proceedings before the Maryland Parole Commission? 2) As part of a juvenile lifer’s constitutional right to a meaningful opportunity to obtain release based upon demonstrated maturity and rehabilitation, as recognized in Carter, does a juvenile lifer have a Maryland constitutional right to state-furnished counsel in proceedings before the Maryland Parole Commission? 3) Assuming a juvenile lifer has a constitutional right to state-furnished counsel in proceedings before the Maryland Parole Commission, does that Maryland Parole system allow for the effective exercise of that right? 4) Is Petitioner’s sentence illegal pursuant to Maryland Rule 4-345(a)?

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