September 2021 Maryland Certiorari Grants, Batch 2

The Maryland Court of Appeals today granted review in two criminal cases.

Mashour Howling v. State of Maryland – Case No. 35, September Term, 2021 (Unreported COSA Opinion by Judge Beachley)

Issues – Criminal Law – 1) In a question of first impression, did the trial court err by giving a jury instruction that omitted a scienter requirement for the offenses charged, contrary to the holding of Rehaif v. United States, 139 S.Ct. 2191 (2019), on the presumptions in law in the equivalent Federal Statute, the Rule of Lenity, and this Court’s decisions in Dawkins v. State, 313 Md. 638 (1988) and Chow v. State, 391 Md. 431 (2006)? 2) Under the facts of this case, in which no evidence was adduced that Petitioner was previously notified by government authorities that he was prohibited from possessing a regulated firearm in Maryland, did the trial court err in giving the pre-Rehaif pattern jury instructions lacking scienter requirements?

Funiba Abongnelah v. State of Maryland – Case No. 36, September Term, 2021 (Unreported COSA Opinion by Judge Wells)

Issues – Criminal Law – 1) In a matter of first impression, did CSA err by holding that the evidence was sufficient to convict Petitioner of illegally possessing a regulated firearm where the State failed to prove he had knowledge of his prohibited status – i.e., that he was a convicted felon – because that result was inconsistent with the U.S. Supreme Court’s interpretation of the analogous Federal statute in Rehaif v. United States, 139 S.Ct. 2191 (2019), and was at odds with this Court’s precedent? 2) Did CSA err by upholding the trial court’s refusal to instruct the jury that the State was required to prove that Petitioner had knowledge of his prohibited status? 3) Was the knowledge issue raised herein adequately preserved where both trial and appellate counsel argued that Rehaif required knowledge of prohibited status and appellate counsel clarified in Appellant’s Reply Brief that prohibited status meant Petitioner’s status as a felon?

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