Maryland’s Frye-Reed era appears to be ending. Last month, in Savage v. State, the Court of Appeals handed down a significant decision on “the proper scope for the threshold evaluation of expert scientific evidence” under Maryland’s “Frye–Reed” test. Although the Frye-Reed test, as originally envisioned, would preclude only opinions based on novel scientific methodologies that were not “generally accepted as reliable within the expert’s particular scientific field,” its scope has greatly expanded in recent decades. The Savage opinion highlights that Frye-Reed now precludes opinions, even those based on methodologies that are both (1) not novel and (2) generally accepted, if the reasoning behind the opinion is simply unreliable. Under Savage, the Frye-Reed inquiry requires trial judges—regardless of whether the expert’s underlying methodology is well-established and valid—to examine “whether the expert bridged the ‘analytical gap’ between accepted science and his ultimate conclusion in a particular case.”
How did we get here and where are we headed? Read More…
[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…
The June 21 opinion of the Court of Appeals of Maryland in National Waste Managers, Inc. v. Forks of the Patxuent Improvement Association illustrates a serious problem with judicial review of state administrative decisions. The process takes a long time, often to accomplish very little. Read More…
State of Maryland v. Douglas Ford Bey II – Case No. 48, September Term, 2016
Issue – Criminal Law – Did CSA err in concluding that Criminal Law § 3-315, which prohibits engaging in a continuing course of conduct with a child, prohibits more than one conviction and sentence per victim, regardless of the duration of the abuse or the type of sexual acts committed?
Bey poses some interesting questions of interpretation that prompted a short concurrence by Judge Friedman in the lower appellate court. (The Court also summarily granted certiorari and remanded to the Court of Special Appeals the case of Antwann Gibson v. State of Maryland – Case No. 48, September Term, 2016.)
The case: Norman v. State, Sept. Term 2015, No. 1408 (Aug. 11, 2016)
The questions: Was the odor of marijuana effectively the only justification for a police officer’s alleged belief that a passenger in a vehicle was armed and dangerous? If so, is that belief reasonable for the purposes of the Fourth Amendment?
It’s been a slightly elongated layover since the Maryland Court of Appeals made their July certiorari decisions, but, with nine new cases, it’s clear the gears are starting to grind for the upcoming term. Included in the mix is Johnson v. State (we called it!), the much-publicized prosecution for the murder of Phylicia Barnes that ended in acquittal… or did it? Some big double-jeopardy questions in that one for the Court to figure out. Check out the rest of the grants after the jump.
By Michael Wein
Last year, with about one week to go before the Maryland Court of Appeals’ self-imposed deadline for deciding all cases in a September term by the following August, the Court had only four cases left to decide. Per the “Pending Cases” page on the Court of Appeals’ web site, with two weeks to go before this year’s deadline, 15 decisions are left to decide. Of these 15 cases, seven are civil, six are criminal, one is an Attorney Grievance matter (which the oral arguments indicate was, interestingly, remanded back to the trial judge for additional findings and re-argued in the same term), and one is a Bar application case.
Earlier this month, the Court of Appeals issued a decision in a case presenting the opportunity to revisit Maryland’s view of “de facto parents.” In Conover v. Conover, No. 79, Sept. Term, 2015 (July 7, 2016), a same-sex couple in a long-term relationship decided that they wanted to have a child. One member of the couple became the biological parent through artificial insemination, and the couple participated equally in raising the child. After the baby was born, the women married.
Those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer are here, but the Court of Appeals of Maryland is still hard at work, cranking out another batch of certiorari grants. Does heading out into the stifling, stuffy heat make you feel like you’re suffocating? Well, have hope: The Court is going to figure something out about toxic air pollutants in commercial parks. Also in the slate: questions about voir dire, searching for records subject to the Public Information Act, and the writ of actual innocence. See the full lineup after the jump.
Maryland Court of Appeals continues its cautious approach to finding implied private causes of action
On May 20, 2016, in Fangman v. Genuine Title, LLC, a case certified from federal court, the Maryland Court of Appeals held that Md. Code Ann., Real Prop. (“RP”) § 14-127 – which generally prohibits kickbacks and similar arrangements with respect to real-estate settlement business – does not create a private cause of action. Judge Watts wrote the opinion for the unanimous Court, which continued a winning streak in the Court of Appeals for defendants arguing against recognizing implied private rights of action.