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The Court of Appeals reversed the judgment of the Court of Special Appeals affirming the trial court’s denial of Petitioner’s motion for a new trial, holding that the trial court’s error of supplying the jury with an instruction that was an incorrect statement of the law was not harmless. Petitioner was convicted of first-degree child abuse. Petitioner subsequently filed a motion for new trial on the grounds that the trial court gave a pattern jury instruction that erroneously omitted an element of the sole offense for which Petitioner was convicted. The circuit court denied the motion, concluding that the erroneous jury instruction did not have an impact on the defense’s theory of the case. The Court of Special Appeals affirmed. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the erroneous jury instruction was prejudicial error and warranted a new trial. View "Williams v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the circuit court affirming the decision of the Mayor and Common Council of Westminster (the Council), holding that substantial evidence in the record as a whole supported the Council’s denial of Petitioner’s application to amend the General Development Plan for Wakefield Valley (the Wakefield Valley GDP) to permit construction of fifty-three homes on “Parcel W” of a former golf course (the Application). After the Council voted to deny the Application, the Council adopted an ordinance denying the Application and incorporating an attached written decision. The circuit court affirmed the Council’s decision as set forth in the ordinance. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding (1) the Council’s decision denying the Application was a quasi-judicial act, not a legislative act, as was therefore subject to judicial review; (2) the Council did not err in considering the zonal classification of Parcel W in evaluating the Application; and (3) there was substantial evidence in the record to support the Council’s decision. View "WV DIA Westminster, LLC v. Mayor & Common Council of Westminster" on Justia Law

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At issue was whether, at a criminal trial on drug charges, the introduction of valid prescriptions for controlled substances are barred by the rule against hearsay or if, instead, they are non-hearsay and admissible as a “verbal act.” The circuit court in this case granted the State’s motion to suppress introduction of any supposed prescriptions for controlled substances on hearsay grounds. The Court of Special Appeals reversed each of Defendant's convictions except for his two convictions for possession of heroin and possession with intent to distribute heroin on the basis that “[v]alid prescriptions provide the basis of a statutory defense to the charges for possession of and possession with intent to distribute methadone, alprazolam, and oxycodone.” The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that evidence of a valid prescription can fall under the category of “verbal acts,” admissible not for the truth of the matter asserted but as the basis of a statutory defense under Md. Code Ann. Crim. Law 5-601(a) and 602(2). View "State v. Young" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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In answering a question of law certified to it by the United States District Court of the District of Maryland, the Court of Appeals held that Md. Code Ann. Cts. & Jud. Proc. (CJP) 12-601 to 12-613 is a statutory specialty and that actions on it are accorded a twelve-year limitations period. At issue was whether the licensing requirement of the Maryland Consumer Loan Law (MCLL), Md. Code Ann. Com. Law 12-302, was a statutory specialty as contemplated by CJP 5-102(a)(6) requiring filing within twelve years after the cause of action accrues. The Court of Appeals answered the question certified to it in the affirmative, holding that the MCLL’s licensing requirement is an “other specialty” within the meaning of CJP 5-102(a)(6) and that a claim brought on it is entitled to a twelve-year limitations period. View "Price v. Murdy" on Justia Law

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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