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Hidden Legal Horcruxes: “The Maryland Court of Appeals and the Amply Sized Certiorari Petition”

By Michael Wein

With the release of the movie “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” it’s worth noting that Maryland law embraces Harry Potter, at least tongue-in-cheek. Three appellate decisions, by three separate appellate judges, have cited the popular series of seven books by J.K. Rowling and nine movies — though the citations are only to the first and third books. See People’s Counsel for Balt. Cty. v. Loyola Coll. in Md., 406 Md. 54, 107 (2008) (J. Harrell) (discussing  how the “‘Sorting Hat’ is a magical artifact that is used to determine in which house (Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw or Slytherin) first-year students at Hogwarts School of Wizardry and Witchcraft are to be assigned” in “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”); Bishop v. State, 417 Md. 1, 26 (2010) (J. Battaglia) (in “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” a “‘boggart’ is a shape-shifting creature … that takes the form of the viewer’s worst fears. Because it instantly changes shape when someone first sees it, no one knows what a boggart looks like when it is alone. One way to combat a boggart is with the charm riddikulus.”); Bethesda Title & Escrow, LLC v. Gochnour, 197 Md. App. 450, 452 (2011) (J. Zarnoch) (during the litigation, “parties moved in and out of the complaint faster than Harry Potter’s broomstick in a Quidditch match.”) Now it’s time to bring out more advanced concepts of lawyer wizardry exhibited in the later books.

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No, a different Arthur and Kehoe…

By Steve Klepper (Twitter: @MDAppeal)

The Court of Appeals’ latest list of denied petitions included “Arthur v. Kehoe – Pet. Docket No. 50.” I Tweeted at the time: “I’m guessing not [Court of Special Appeals] Judges [Kevin] Arthur & [Christopher] Kehoe.”

As it turns out, the coincidence did not go unnoticed at the Court of Special Appeals. The unreported opinion of the Court of Special Appeals in Kehoe v. Arthur (Feb. 11, 2015) isn’t available online, but my Tweet prompted a reader to forward me a copy of Judge Nazarian’s opinion, which opens with a gem: Read More…

The Mezzanine of the Criminal Justice System

By Steve Klepper (Twitter: @MDAppeal)

Readers of How Appealing (which probably includes our entire readership) may have seen Howard Bashman’s quick post, “Fourth Circuit issues all but footnote 10 of panel’s opinion under seal, which at least allows the judges to argue over footnote 10’s propriety.” We plan to have a substantive post about the Fourth Circuit’s unusual order next week, but here’s a more trifling post in the meantime. Read More…

Willett v. Harrell: The Battle for Appellate Pop-Culture Dominance

By Steve Klepper (Twitter: @MDAppeal)

Last week, Justice Don Willett of the Supreme Court of Texas made news by citing extensively to Ferris Bueller’s Day Off in a dissent from denial of review. Receiving much less media attention was a September 3, 2014 opinion by Maryland’s own Court of Appeals Judge Glenn Harrell, who similarly began a dissent from denial of certiorari by quoting Otter from National Lampoon’s Animal House: “I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile … gesture be done on somebody’s part.”[*]

It’s a slow week for appellate blogging, so let’s play the feud! Read More…

Happy Holidays from the Maryland Appellate Blog and Sonia Soto-Minor

By Steve Klepper (Twitter: @MDAppeal)

We here at the Maryland Appellate Blog would like to wish our readers a happy holiday season. Our gift to you is appellate mirth.

At the same time that the Internet was celebrating Ruth Baby Ginsburg this past Halloween, my wife’s friend more quietly posted pictures of her daughter dressed as Sonia Sotomayor. Pictures of the jabot-clad aspiring justice, whom I have dubbed Sonia Soto-minor, are after the jump.

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Monster-At-Law: The Halloween Quiz

By Chris Mincher

It’s Halloween — have you picked out a costume of the most frightening, evil, wicked thing you can think of? If that means you’re dressing up this year as Justice McReynolds, we’ve got the perfect holiday distraction for you. Before co-mingling with them this evening, check out the quiz below and test your knowledge of the various supernatural creatures that have previously lurked through Maryland’s appellate jurisprudence.

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Pizza Is the New Broccoli

By Steve Klepper (Twitter: @MDAppeal)

In the 2012 NFIB v. Sebelius challenge to Obamacare, the now-famous broccoli analogy appeared 12 times in the majority, concurring, and dissenting opinions.

Today, we were treated to a (coincidental) same-day Circuit split, with the D.C. Circuit and the Fourth Circuit reaching opposite holdings regarding the legality of subsidies under the federal healthcare exchanges. In the process, Maryland’s own Fourth Circuit Judge Andre Davis has given us a new Obamacare food analogy du jour: Read More…

Team SCOTUS! 9 Action Hero Supreme Court Justices

By Steve Klepper (Twitter: @MDAppeal)

Maryland Court of Appeals Judge Glenn T. Harrell, Jr. likes his movie references. The first time I had dinner with him, he regaled the table with a lively discussion of The Expendables 2 – a cartoonish testosterone-fest featuring a collection of past-their-prime action stars. (Disclosure: I never saw the first one and made it through only 15 minutes of the second.) The Expendables 3 arrives this summer, and, at least judging by the posters, it looks simply awful. In honor of Expendables 3, and of Judge Harrell completing his term as Chair of the MSBA Section of Litigation, I proudly present my list of nine action-hero Supreme Court justices. Read More…

The Law of Game of Thrones

[Editor-in-Chief’s Disclaimer: This post doesn’t have much to do with Maryland law or appellate law. But with the large number of lawyers who watch it, we’ll make an exception for “Game of Thrones.”]

By Michael Wein

The season four premiere of “Game of Thrones” begins this Sunday, April 6, 2014 (with a free HBO weekend on most cable providers). The past three seasons have displayed why Game of Thrones is one of the best dramas on television today, being filmed worldwide in exotic locales, with increased ratings each year in the United States and abroad. Yet, one has to express fascination at the series’ regular barbaric atrocities and complete lawlessness, with self-proclaimed kings or their servants selfishly, arbitrarily, and summarily executing and maiming people. While you can praise its acting, writing, catchy theme music, or the theatrical presentation, Game of Thrones on first glance does not appear to have much ‘Law’ going on. Then again, perhaps along with its well-written plotting and acting, based on the George R.R. Martin series of books, it’s a morbid fascination of what life was like in the Middle Ages that people find entertaining. Read More…

Did the iPad kill the acronym?

By Steve Klepper (Twitter: @MDAppeal)

Over at Above the Law, David Lat is covering the D.C. Circuit’s recent clampdown on “uncommon acronyms” in briefs. (I’m quoted!) The Court’s anti-acronym push began in 2010, with a Notice that “the court strongly urges parties to limit the use of acronyms.” But now the D.C. Circuit has gone one step further—ordering parties to file new briefs, without the offending acronyms. Read More…