Issues – Courts & Judicial Proceedings – 1) Did the trial court erroneously apply Md. Rule 7-113(f) when it reviewed the district court’s construction of a contract’s terms for clear error rather than de novo? 2) Did the plain terms of the parties’ promissory note (“Note”) entitle Petitioner to a judgment against the Respondent? 3) In interpreting the Note, did Maryland law require the trial court to choose the one among two possible readings of the Note that was consistent with the parties’ intent?
The Court of Appeals today issued its first certiorari grants since Judge Brynja Booth took the bench last month. There were a total of five grants. They include a sequel to Comptroller v. Wynne, where in 2015 the Supreme Court, affirmed a Court of Appeals decision striking down portions of the state tax code as violating the “dormant” commerce clause. The cases are below, with the questions presented and links to the Court of Special Appeals opinions under review. Read More…
The Maryland Court of Appeals has been granting fewer certiorari petitions this term. Now we have some numbers to help analyze that decline.
For two years now, I’ve tracked the Court of Appeals’ petition docket. The judiciary’s annual statistical reports give the overall grant rate for civil and criminal certiorari petitions. Because the majority of petitions each year are filed pro se, the overall statistics are not terribly helpful for lawyers in advising their clients regarding the odds of certiorari.
Refining my approach from last year, I have compiled the statistics for the 2018 Term (petitions filed 3/1/2018 to 2/28/2019), alongside revised statistics for the 2017 Term (petitions filed 3/1/2017 to 2/28/2018). Read More…
Yesterday, the Maryland Court of Appeals granted two petitions in criminal cases that it will hear in the fall. (Update: After the Court of Appeals granted certiorari in State v. Santos, the State voluntarily dismissed its appeal.)
Dana T. Johnson, Jr. v. State of Maryland – Case No. 9, September Term, 2019 (Reported COSA Opinion by Judge Nazarian)
Issues – Criminal Law – 1) Section 5-612 of the Criminal Law Article, which prohibits possession of certain quantities of controlled dangerous substances, provides that “[a] person who is convicted of a violation of subsection (a) of this section shall be sentenced to imprisonment for not less than 5 years and is subject to a fine not exceeding $100,000.” What is the maximum allowable period of incarceration for a violation of this law? 2) Did the circuit court impose an illegal sentence of fourteen years of incarceration for a violation of section 5-612 of the Criminal Law Article?
State of Maryland v. Bryan Santos – Case No. 10, September Term, 2019 (Unreported COSA Opinion by Judge Raker) Issue – Courts & Judicial Proceedings – Did the trial court properly admit testimony by Respondent’s wife about statements he made to her and a statement by Respondent admitting some of the things he did with the victims?
On Wednesday, the Maryland Court of Appeals granted certiorari in six cases (four civil and two criminal) and, in a miscellaneous docket proceeding, accepted certified questions from the Court of Special Appeals to resolve three criminal appeals. Those cases, with questions presented, are below. Read More…
Here are the writs of certiorari granted by the Court of Appeals today:
State of Maryland v. Philip Daniel Thomas – Case No. 73, September Term, 2018
Issue – Criminal Procedure – As a matter of first impression, is a sentence imposed on remand legal if the new sentence imposes the same or fewer years of imprisonment but results in a later parole eligibility date than the original sentence? Read More…
Edinson Herrera Ramirez v. State of Maryland – Case No. 72, September Term, 2018 [Unreported COSA Opinion by Judge Shaw Geter]
Issues – Criminal Procedure – 1) Did CSA err when it held that a structural error did not occur when a biased juror was not stricken from the jury by trial counsel? 2) Did CSA err when it held that even if a structural error occurred Petitioner was not prejudiced? 3) Was Petitioner denied effective assistance of counsel under Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984)? 4) Did CSA err when, as support for its decision, it used the number of prospective jurors in St. Mary’s County when trial in this case was held in Carroll County?
Today’s cert grants will bring a wide variety of issues before the Court of Appeals, including: the method for obtaining appellate review of an incarceration sentence in light of the Justice Reinvestment Act of 2016; the authority of the Workers’ Compensation Commission to revise an incorrectly-calculated award; and whether statutory relocation benefits should be extended to tenants vacating government-owned property.
The September 2018 Term could become known as the “SIJ Term” for the Maryland Court of Appeals. “SIJ” stands for Special Immigrant Juvenile status under a federal statute, 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(27)(J). As the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website says, “you may qualify for lawful permanent residency (also known as getting a Green Card)” if “you are in the United States and need the protection of a juvenile court because you have been abused, abandoned, or neglected by a parent.”
Although the Court of Appeals has been granting certiorari in fewer cases than usual so far this term, it has given close attention to petitions in SIJ cases. Three of its 62 grants have involved SIJ status. Read More…