Event: Chambers Chat with COSA Judge Beachley

From our inbox…

The YLS of the Frederick County Bar and MSBA YLS is hosting a

Chambers Chat


The Honorable Donald E. Beachley

Judge at the Court of Special Appeals


Wednesday September 27, 2017

5:30 p.m. until 7:00 p.m.

Miles & Stockbridge

30 West Patrick Street, 5th Floor

Frederick, Maryland 21701

Judge Beachley will be talking to the group about (1) preserving the record; (2) concise briefing; (3) and oral argument techniques.  There will also be a question and answer period.

Refreshments will be provided

RSVP not required

For more information please email Detric Kemp at Detric@conklynlawfirm.com


September 2017 Maryland Certiorari Grants

The merits docket for September Term 2017 is filling up fast, with 12 new grants posted yesterday on the Maryland Court of Appeals website. We’re now up to 47 merits cases, meaning that the merits dockets is probably about half full. The cases involve a drug-sniffing dog, a woman who needed to visit the rest room before submitting to a breathalyzer test, a challenge to the authentication of business records, a wrongful death claim against a pyschiatrist who discharged a patient from involuntary commitment, a statute-of-repose defense against an asbestos claim, and many more. The full list appears after the jump. Read More…

COSA Spotlight: Judge Stuart Berger

By Steve Klepper (Twitter: @MDAppeal)

This post kicks off a series of profiles of the judges of the Court of Special Appeals. Our guinea pig for this series is Judge Stuart R. Berger, who holds one of the Court’s eight at-large seats. I interviewed him at his Baltimore City chambers. Read More…

August 2017 Maryland Certiorari Grants

The Court of Appeals posted a batch of August 28 certiorari grants, but we were waiting for the questions presented to appear on the Court’s site before we did a post. They’re up, and they’re interesting. Question 1 in Seaborne-Worsely, for example, involves a bar-exam-type hypothetical on the operation of Maryland’s contributory negligence rule; it looks like the Court of Appeals took the case on bypass review. State v. Brookman (COSA opinion here) features a variety of appellate procedure questions arising out of Drug Court proceedings. Rodriguez v. Cooper (COSA opinion here) is on its second trip to the Court of Appeals, which in 2015 reinstated a jury finding of gross negligence against a corrections officer in charge of prison transport bus during one inmate’s murder of another. This time, the question is whether the cap on noneconomic damages applies.

The complete list of grants appears after the jump. Read More…

Clear and present danger: An abused spouse can hire a contract killer and argue imperfect self-defense.

By Brad McCullough

When is a threat of mortal harm so imminent that a preemptive attack is justified or at least understandable? No, this is not a discussion of the nuclear threat posed by North Korea and the possibility of preemptive military action by the Trump administration. Instead, this is a look at the recent decision of the Court of Appeals in Porter v. State, No. 88, Sept. Term, 2016 (Md. Aug. 7, 2017), a murder case involving battered spouse syndrome and imperfect self-defense. This is a very interesting case, made even more interesting by how the members of the Court split. We sometimes see appellate courts split along liberal versus conservative lines, or between Democratic appointees and Republican appointees. But here, the Court split along gender lines, with the four female judges forming the majority and the three male judges in dissent. And that split reflected diametrically opposed views of what constitutes a threat of imminent harm. To the majority, a threat of inevitable harm can constitute a threat of imminent harm. But to the dissent, only a contemporaneous threat can constitute imminent harm. Read More…

September Term 2016 is a wrap!

By Steve Klepper (Twitter: @MDAppeal)

At noon today, the Court of Appeals of Maryland hit a major milestone. For the fourth straight year, the Court of Appeals met its case management standard of deciding every single case in the same term in which it was argued. By August 31 of each year, the Court of Appeals issues its opinion in every case argued since September 1 of the previous year. This standard was the first major reform that Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera announced when she took over as Chief Judge in 2013. At the time, the Court had just issued multiple opinions that had taken years to decide. Four years later, Chief Judge Barbera is now four-for-four.

Judge Niemeyer’s dissent is the real headline in Maryland political gerrymandering case

By Steve Klepper (Twitter: @MDAppeal)

Today, a three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland stayed proceedings in Maryland’s political gerrymandering case, Benisek v. Lamone, pending the Supreme Court’s decision in the Wisconsin political gerrymandering case, Gill v. Whitford. The real headline, though, is Fourth Circuit Judge Paul Niemeyer’s dissent, which could have real implications for Gill. Read More…

A Procedurally Unusual En Banc Opinion from the Fourth Circuit

By Steve Klepper (Twitter: @MDAppeal)

Last Friday, in United States v. Chamberlain, the Fourth Circuit issued a unanimous en banc opinion overruling its precedents on “the pretrial restraint of a defendant’s innocent property pursuant to the federal criminal forfeiture statute.” The ruling was not a surprise, in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Luis v. United States, 136 S. Ct. 1083 (2016).

But the ruling was a procedural oddity. Read More…

Marking #WomanJusticeDay in Maryland

By Steve Klepper (Twitter: @MDAppeal)

Over at the Twitter machine, Tracey Heinhold (@theinhold), Jack Metzler (@SCOTUSPlaces), and others are posting today with the hashtag #WomanJusticeDay to recognize the 126 women serving on states’ highest courts. Maryland is among the 11 states with female-majority supreme courts. The current female majority on the Court of Appeals of Maryland is four-to-three; it was briefly five-to-two before the retirement of Judge Lynne Battaglia.

Coincidentally, Steve Lash (@Steve_Lash) notes, from behind the paywall at The Daily Record, that the Court of Appeals “split along gender lines” this week in Porter v. State.  Read More…

Supreme Court requests response to State’s petition on marijuana odor

[Update, 10/2/2017: The Supreme Court has denied certiorari.]

This March, the Court of Appeals of Maryland held in Norman v. State that an “odor of marijuana alone emanating from a vehicle with multiple occupants does not give rise to reasonable articulable suspicion that the vehicle’s occupants are armed and dangerous and subject to frisk.”

The State of Maryland petitioned for certiorari to the Supreme Court of the United States, posing the following question: Read More…