By Stuart Berman
In its 2008 decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, the Supreme Court revolutionized Second Amendment jurisprudence by holding unconstitutional the District of Columbia’s ban on possession of handguns in the home, as well as its requirement that all firearms in the home be stored in a manner that rendered them inoperable for immediate self‑defense. When the Court subsequently held in McDonald v. City of Chicago that the Second Amendment applied to state and local governments, some observers predicted a string of decisions invalidating firearms prohibitions. Because the five states in the Fourth Circuit are home to a large population of firearms owners, and several of those states have loosened gun restrictions and even permitted “open carry” of weapons, firearms advocates had reason to hope the Fourth Circuit might to take the lead in reading Heller expansively. As a recent decision demonstrates, however, those hopes have not been fulfilled.
The Fourth Circuit recently reminded us that “[t]he scope of judicial review of an arbitration award ‘is among the narrowest known at law.’” UBS Fin. Servs., Inc. v. Padussis, slip op. at 6, No. 15-2148 (4th Cir. Nov. 22, 2016) (citation omitted). When reviewing arbitrators’ decisions, reviewing courts ask only “whether the arbitrators did the job they were told to do – not whether they did it well, or correctly, or reasonably, but simply whether they did it.” Id. (internal quotation marks omitted) (citation omitted). A disgruntled UBS Financial Services likely wanted to borrow a phrase from Johnny Paycheck and tell the arbitrators to “take this job and shove it,” but its attempt to obtain relief from the arbitration decision fell on deaf judicial ears.
By John Grimm
The Court of Appeals recently held that defendants who plead guilty or enter an Alford plea are not eligible to request post-conviction DNA testing pursuant to Criminal Procedure § 8-201. Section 8-201 allows anyone convicted of a crime of violence to request DNA testing of evidence in their case, and § 8-201(d)(1) requires the court to order the requested testing if two conditions are satisfied:
(i) a reasonable probability exists that the DNA testing has the scientific potential to produce exculpatory or mitigating evidence relevant to a claim of wrongful conviction or sentencing; and
(ii) the requested DNA test employs a method of testing generally accepted within the relevant scientific community.
Md. Code Ann., Crim. Pro. § 8-201(d)(1). If the results of the DNA test are favorable to the petitioner, the court must open or reopen a post-conviction proceeding, or order a new trial. Id. § 8-201(i)(2).
Keeping up regular updates to a blog isn’t easy, but the Maryland Court of Appeals is making things easier for us by issuing certiorari grants on a rolling basis. The Court’s monthly conference was yesterday. After the six grants earlier this month, there was only one cert-worthy case left. Read More…
The case: Porter v. State, Sept. Term 2013, No. 1916 (Oct. 25, 2016)
The questions: Does Md. Code, Cts. & Jud. Proc. (“CJP”) § 10-916 permit a defendant implicated in a murder-for-hire scheme to introduce evidence of battered-spouse syndrome? Did the evidence in the case establish that the defendant had a subjective belief of an apparent imminent or immediate danger of death or serious bodily harm?
We’ve been posting (here and here) about apparent changes in the timing of certiorari grants by the Court of Appeals of Maryland. It’s becoming clear that the Court of Appeals will now be granting certiorari as soon as the judges decide a case is worthy of review. They will not be waiting for their monthly conferences, which are likely to focus on closer calls that warrant discussion. Yesterday, the court posted its second pre-conference batch of certiorari grants for November. It also recently accepted a certified question from the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland.
In other news affecting the Court of Appeals docket, The Daily Record’s Steve Lash reported yesterday (from behind the paywall) that Glenn Grossman is retiring as Bar Counsel on January 31, 2017. We don’t usually cover Attorney Grievance Commission cases here at the blog, but it’s important to remember that those cases represent a significant part of the court’s business.
The new certiorari grants and the certified question are listed (with questions presented) after the jump. Read More…
It looks like the new normal is that the Court of Appeals of Maryland will now issue two batches of certiorari grants each month: one during its argument session at the beginning of the month, and one following its mid-month conference. The Court just posted four certiorari grants. Lewis v. State presents some interesting questions under the Uniform Act to Secure Attendance of Witnesses from Without a State in Criminal Proceedings (Court of Specials opinion here). The full list, including questions presented, appears after the jump.
Anyone who has clerked for a judge knows that a special bond develops during that relationship. For a budding attorney, a clerkship provides one of the first opportunities to gain insights into the practice of law. The perspective of a judge can form a strong foundation for a law clerk’s future pursuit of a law practice. I had the good fortune to serve as a law clerk to the Hon. Rosalyn B. Bell when she sat on the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland. With her passing in August, and a memorial service in October, it seemed like a good time to reflect on the impact she had on her clerks, the legal profession, and the practice of law.