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The Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment of the Court of Special Appeals affirming the ruling of the circuit court that precluded Defendant from playing video excerpts of trial court testimony during closing argument, holding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in prohibiting the use of video excerpts of trial testimony during closing argument. The Court of Special Appeals concluded that the trial court did not abuse its discretion by excluding the video excerpts because of the genuine concern of undue delay, waste of time, and juror confusion. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the trial court’s stated concerns regarding waste of time and juror confusion were well within the bounds of its sound discretion and reason to justify the exclusion of the video excerpts. View "Cagle v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Court of Appeals reversed the judgment of the circuit court, holding that, under the plain language of Md. Code Ann., Transp. (TR) 16-205.1(b)(2)(ii), a law enforcement officer in requesting that a driver take an alcohol concentration test is not required specifically to advise the driver whether the test will be a blood test or a breath test. After James Nelson crashed a vehicle that he had been driving, Corporal Brandon Foor requested that Nelson take an alcohol concentration test. Nelson refused, and Corporal Foor confiscated Nelson’s commercial driver’s license. An administrative law judge determined that Nelson had violated TR 16-205.1 and ordered that Nelson’s commercial driver’s license be disqualified for twelve months. The circuit court reversed, holding that Corporal Foor was required specifically to request that Nelson take a blood test. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that an officer is not required specifically to request that a driver take a blood test or a breath test, and the circuit court erred in determining otherwise. View "Motor Vehicle Administration v. Nelson" on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the Court of Special Appeals affirming the judgment of the trial court admitting an audio-recorded conversation recovered from Defendant’s cell phone during trial and convicting him of drug- and firearm-related offenses, holding that the trial court did not err in admitting the audio-recorded conversation over Defendant’s objection. On appeal, Defendant argued that the Maryland Wiretap Act, Md. Code Ann. Cts. & Jud. Proc. 10-402, prevented admission of the recording because the unidentified speaker with whom Defendant was communicating in the recording did not consent to its interception. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that where a party to a communication consents to or participates in the interception of a communication, section 10-402(a) of the Maryland Wiretap Act does not render the intercepted communication inadmissible against the consenting party. View "Agnew v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment of the circuit court affirming the administrative law judge ruling that Petitioner was fully advised of the sanctions imposed upon him after refusing a chemical test, holding that Petitioner received his statutory right to full advisement. Specifically, the Court of Appeals held (1) Defendant’s due process rights were not violated, nor was full advisement of the administrative penalties that shall be imposed for refusing a breath test pursuant to Md. Code Ann. Transp. 16-205.1 negated when, after reading the Motor Vehicle Administration’s DR-15 advice form, a police officer’s oral restatement of the penalties for failing and refusing a breath test omitted the most severe mandatory penalty for refusal; and (2) the DR-15 is unambiguous regarding the duration of participation in the Interlock Program and is consistent with Petitioner’s right to due process and the statutory right to full advisement under section 16-205.1. View "Owusu v. Motor Vehicle Administration" on Justia Law

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In this case involving the State Correctional Officers’ Bill of Rights and the interplay between Md. Code Ann. 10-910(b)(1) and 10-910(b)(6), the Court of Appeals reversed the judgment of the Court of Special Appeals concluding that an appointing authority may not have the opportunity to hold another penalty-increase meeting after the thirty-day deadline for issuing a final order when recording equipment malfunctioned preventing the substance of the initial meeting from being captured “on the record,” holding that the proper remedy for the unforeseen technological glitch is that the parties must reconvene for another meeting to be held on the record. Section 10-910(b)(1) provides that [w]ithin 30 days after receipt of” the hearing board’s recommended penalty, “the appointing authority shall…issue a final order.” Section 10-910(b)(6) states that “the appointing authority may increase the recommended penalty” if the appointing authority “meets with the [charged] correctional officer and allows” the officer “to be heard on the record.” The Court of Appeals concluded in this case that the appointing authority’s failure to satisfy the “on the record” requirement was incurable after the thirty-day deadline. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that because the technical failure could be easily cured with a remand and because the appointing authority must protect the due process rights of a charged correctional officer by adhering to all the enumerated procedures, remand was required to cure the procedural defect. View "Baltimore City Detention Center v. Foy" on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment of the Court of Special Appeals concluding that the circuit court was permitted to order Appellant to pay restitution in a theft case without a request from the victim or State, holding that the restitution requirement in Md. Code Ann. Crim. Law 7-104 authorizes a court in a theft case to award restitution, regardless of whether the State or the victim requests that relief. The restitution order in this case stemmed from Appellant’s theft conviction and required him to pay his victim the value of the goods he stole in the amount of $18,964.55. On appeal, Appellant argued that restitution was improper because Md. Code Ann. Crim. Proc. 11-603(b)(1) contains a provision that obliges the victim or State to request restitution in order to trigger a presumed right to receive restitution. The Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the order of restitution, concluding that the sentencing judge was obliged to order restitution pursuant to section 7-104(g)(1)(i)(2). The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that section 7-104(g)(1)(i)(2) exists as an exception to section 11-603(b)(1). View "Ingram v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Court of Appeals vacated all of Petitioner’s sentences and remanded the case for resentencing, holding that, under the circumstances of this case, it was appropriate for the Court to exercise its discretion to vacate all of Petitioner’s sentences. Specifically, the Court held (1) the law of the case doctrine does not bar a trial court from considering under Maryland Rule 4-345(a) an issue as to a sentence’s legality that an appellate court has not resolved, and the Court of Special Appeals erred in concluding that the law of the case doctrine barred the circuit court from considering Defendant’s second challenge to his sentence for conspiracy to commit false imprisonment because the Court of Special Appeals did not resolve that challenge in the first appeal in this case; (2) under CR 1-202, where a defendant is convicted of both a crime and conspiracy to commit that crime, a trial court cannot impose for the conspiracy a sentence that exceeds the maximum sentence that the trial court imposed for the crime that the person conspired to commit; and (3) under CR 12-702(b), an aggregate sentence of a certain number of years of imprisonment is more severe than a sentence of life imprisonment, with all but a lower number of years suspended. View "Nichols v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Court of Appeals held that the trial judge abused his discretion in directing the State to reopen its case-in-chief to recall an expert witness after the defense moved for judgment of acquittal, and therefore, Respondent was entitled to a new trial. A jury convicted Respondent of murder. The Court of Special Appeals vacated the trial court’s judgment and remanded the case for a new trial, holding that the trial court abused its discretion when it reopened the State’s case before ruling on Respondent's motion for judgment of acquittal. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that Respondent’s right to a fair trial was compromised because the trial judge (1) impermissibly weighed the nature of the charges brought against Respondent; (2) exceeded the bounds of judicial impartiality when he effectively assumed the role of prosecutor in directing the state to fix a perceived defect in its case; and (3) acted in contravention to caselaw when he permitted the State to reopen its case to avoid granting Respondent an acquittal. View "State v. Payton" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Court of Appeals reversed the judgment of the Court of Special Appeals and directed the remand of this matter to the circuit court for a hearing on the merits of Petitioner’s motion for a new trial under Maryland Rule 4-331(c) based on newly discovered evidence, holding that because the trial court failed to consider whether Petitioner presented a prima facie case based on the newly discovered evidence, the trial court erred in summarily denying the motion without a hearing. Petitioner was convicted of first degree murder and other offenses. Approximately two weeks after his sentencing, Petitioner filed a motion for a new trial under Rule 4-331(c) based on newly discovered evidence. The circuit court summarily denied the motion. The Court of Appeals upheld the denial of the motion. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that Petitioner alleged a prima facie basis for newly discovered evidence in his motion for a new trial, and therefore, the trial court erred when it denied Petitioner’s request without holding a hearing. View "Cornish v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals affirming the judgment of the circuit court convicting Defendant of second-degree murder, holding that the trial court erred in admitting certain evidence, but the error was harmless, and the court did not err in admitting other evidence. Specifically, the Supreme Court held (1) the trial court erred in concluding that defense counsel had “opened the door” for the State to present evidence of the victim’s trait of peacefulness under Maryland Rule 5-404(a)(2)(C) and in permitting the State to elicit testimony in its case-in-chief from State’s witnesses that the victim was a peaceful person, but the error was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt; and (2) the trial court properly permitted Defendant’s ex-girlfriend to testify about Defendant’s post-crime conduct as evidence of consciousness of guilt. View "Ford v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law