Archive | May 2023

Daubert “Fit” and the “Appropriateness” of Expert Testimony Under Rule 5-702(2)

By Derek Stikeleather

With Maryland’s formal adoption of the Daubert standard for admissibility of expert testimony in all civil and criminal cases, the meaning of Maryland Rule 5-702 should now mirror the meaning of Federal Rule of Evidence 702. But the textual structure and ordering of the two rules still differs. The federal rule was revised in 2000 to better reflect the holdings of the Daubert trilogy. The Maryland rule was modeled after FRE 702 as it existed in 1995.

Despite their different structure and ordering, the two rules, which are presented in full at the bottom of this post, share three core requirements for expert testimony:

  • Qualifications: both rules require that the witness be “qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education.”
  • Helpfulness: Both rules require that the testimony will either “help” (FRE 702(a)) or “assist” (Md. R. 5-702) “the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue.”
  • Sufficient Factual Basis: The rules require that the testimony rest upon either “a sufficient factual basis” (Md. R. 5-702(3)) or “sufficient facts or data” (FRE 702(b)). Incorporating the Daubert trilogy, the federal rule then spells out that the testimony must be “the product of reliable principles and methods” (FRE 702(c)) that were “reliably applied” to “the facts of the case.” (FRE 702(d)). Maryland has long imposed the same requirement through case law. See Rochkind v. Stevenson, 471 Md. 1, 22 (2020).
Read More…

Suing State-Court Judges: An Anti-Primer

By Joseph Dudek

Because suing judges is often ill-advised, the doctrines governing those lawsuits are often ill-considered. In resolving a lawsuit against a prosecutor, the Supreme Court largely missed that the lawsuit was really against judges. However, Justice Thomas didn’t miss it and state-court practitioners should take lessons from what Justice Thomas’s dissent says about federal jurisdiction and procedure.

Read More…

Boundless at the Trial Level, Toothless on Appeal: Maryland’s Law on Sentencing.

By Isabelle Raquin

A few weeks ago, our Editor-in-Chief, Steve Klepper, wrote a piece entitled “Mental Illness and Maryland’s Toothless Review of Criminal Sentences” regarding the unreported decision, Robbins v. State. In Robbins (Nazarian, J.), the Court lamented, in dicta, about the lack of meaningful appellate review of a classic “over-sentence” for a defendant who suffered from severe mental health issues.  In contrast, on March 8, 2023, the Appellate Court of Maryland chose to report Robson v. State, ACM-REG-0764-2022) (Moylan, J.) a decision affirming the trial court’s sentence that was substantially above the State’s recommendation, and without any of the regrets expressed in Robbins. Robson precisely makes Mr. Klepper’s point: a sentencing judge has boundless discretion and the appellate court’s review is toothless. Robson also suggests that changes in the status quo is unlikely without legislative action or new caselaw emanating from the Supreme Court of Maryland.

Read More…

Kenneth Ravenell seeks Rehearing En Banc

By Megan E. Coleman, Esq.

On May 9, 2023, Kenneth Ravenell filed a Petition for Rehearing En Banc of the panel majority’s holding that Mr. Ravenell was not entitled to a jury determination on the applicability of the statute of limitations after Mr. Ravenell raised the defense at trial.

By way of background, Mr. Ravenell was acquitted of six of the seven charges against him, the sole count of conviction was for conspiracy to commit money laundering, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956(h). At trial, Mr. Ravenell moved for judgment of acquittal arguing, inter alia, that the government had not proven that the money laundering conspiracy lasted into the applicable statute of limitations period, past July 2, 2014. The district court denied the motion for acquittal, finding that the government had shown evidence of acts associated with the conspiracy past July 2, 2014, and that there was no evidence of withdrawal from the conspiracy on Mr. Ravenell’s behalf. At the end of the defense case, Mr. Ravenell renewed his motion which the court again denied.

Read More…

Who was Maryland’s First Female Appellate Attorney?

By Diane E. Feuerherd

In 2006 and upon the realization that “the State’s history of female lawyers was lost” on members of the Bar and the general public,[1] Judge Lynne A. Battaglia founded The Finding Justice Project, which resulted in extensive historical research and the publication of Finding Justice: A History of Women Lawyers in Maryland Since 1642 (“Finding Justice”).[2]

In the spirit of Finding Justice, I ask – Who was Maryland’s first female appellate attorney?[3]

Read More…