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The Court of Appeals Continues Defining the Fourth Amendment Implications of the Odor of Marijuana in a Post-Decriminalization Maryland

By John R. Grimm

In 2014, the General Assembly decriminalized possession of small amounts of  marijuana; rather than being a crime, possessing less than 10 grams of marijuana is now a civil offense punishable by a fine.[1]  Courts have been grappling with the effects of this change ever since.  Most notably, since the possession of marijuana is no longer categorically a crime, courts have had to clarify the rules for whether the odor of marijuana still constitutes probable cause sufficient to justify a search or arrest.  Several recent Court of Appeals decisions define the contours of the Fourth Amendment with respect to the odor of marijuana in a post-decriminalization world, and a recent cert grant seems poised to confirm Fourth Amendment limits on marijuana-related arrests. Read More…

September 2019 Maryland Certiorari Grants

The Maryland Court of Appeals today granted review in four criminal appeals, including two cases regarding writs of actual innocence; and two civil appeals, including a constitutional challenge to Baltimore’s regulation requiring food trucks to operate more than 300 feet from brick-and-mortar restaurants.

The grant list, including the questions presented and links to the opinions below, appears after the jump. Read More…

August 2019 Maryland Certiorari Grants & Certified Questions

With the new term right around the corner, the Court of Appeals granted certiorari in nine cases, and the Court of Special Appeals certified questions of law in another one:

Darlene Barclay v. Sadie M. Castruccio – Case No. 30, September Term, 2019

(Unreported CSA Opinion by Nazarian, J.)

Issues – Torts – 1) Did the trial court err when it ruled that the cause of action for intentional interference with an expectancy is not a cause of action under Maryland law? 2) Did Petitioner adequately plead facts to succeed on a claim of intentional interference with an expectancy? Read More…

July 2019 Maryland Certiorari Grants

The Court of Appeals closed this week by granting certiorari in six cases, on issues including shelter care in CINA cases, insurance coverage, and tolling the Hicks Rule for DNA testing:

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June 2019 Maryland Certiorari Grants (one extra)

The Court of Appeals granted certiorari today in one additional civil case.

Gables Construction, Inc. v. Red Coats, Inc., et al.– Case No. 23, September Term, 2019 (Reported COSA opinion by Judge Wright)

Issue – Torts – As a matter of first impression, did CSA err in holding that a defendant can be liable for joint tortfeasor contribution even though it is not liable to the injured person in tort by virtue of a contractual waiver of claims covered by insurance?

Pirates and Piracy: The Supreme Court Will Examine Whether States are Immune from Copyright Infringement Claims in a Dispute Over Blackbeard’s Shipwreck

By John Grimm

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case that will determine whether Congress can abrogate states’ sovereign immunity with respect to copyright infringement claims.  Allen v. Cooper, No. 18-877.    The case arises out of an underwater research expedition to document and salvage the wreck of Blackbeard’s ship off the coast of North Carolina.  The salvage team alleges that, without permission, North Carolina published some of the team’s footage on the internet, violating its copyright in the footage.

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June 2019 Maryland Certiorari Grants

On Friday, June 7th, the Court of Appeals granted the following writs of certiorari:

Credible Behavioral Health, Inc. v. Emmanuel Johnson – Case No. 19, September Term, 2019

(District Court Appeal, from the Circuit Court for Montgomery County)

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?

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May 2019 Maryland Certiorari Grants

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…

April 2019 Maryland Certiorari Grants, Batch #2

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?

April 2019 Maryland Certiorari Grants

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…