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At issue in this appeal was the Circuit Court for Baltimore City’s grant of Defendant’s motion to transfer this case to Talbot County and the proper application of the standard of appellate review to the trial court’s order pursuant to Maryland Rule 2-327(c). The hearing judge granted the motion to transfer. The court of special appeals reversed, concluding that the moving party failed to meet its burden of demonstrating that the convenience of the parties and the interests of justice supported transfer of the case. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding (1) the facts of each case will dictate whether the plaintiff’s choice of venue will control the choice of forum; and (2) the hearing judge did not abuse his discretion in balancing the convenience of the parties and interests of justice and finding that the weight of the evidence favored transfer. View "University of Maryland Medical System Corp. v. Kerrigan" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure

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The law enforcement officers that stopped Defendant in this case had reasonable suspicion to conduct an investigatory stop when they witnessed what appeared to be criminal activity immediately before the stop. Alternatively, even assuming the stop was unlawful, the evidence recovered from Defendant would be admissible because the attenuation doctrine would apply. The Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment of the Court of Special Appeals to the extent that it held that the officers had reasonable suspicion to stop Defendant. Alternatively, the court affirmed the judgment of the intermediate appellate court and adopted the reasoning of the concurring opinion with respect to the application of the attenuation doctrine. Accordingly, Defendant’s motion to suppress should have been denied. View "Sizer v. State" on Justia Law

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At issue was the admissibility at a child in need of assistance (CINA) proceeding of the out-of-court statement of J.J., the nine-year-old daughter of Petitioner, alleging that Petitioner had sexually abused her. The circuit court, sitting as a juvenile court, determined that J.J.’s statement should be admissible to prove the truth of the matter asserted because it possessed the requisite particularized guarantees of trustworthiness. The court of special appeals affirmed. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding (1) Md. Code Ann. Crim. Proc. (CP) 11-304 does not require a juvenile court to determine a child’s truth competency when ruling on the admissibility of the child’s out-of-court statement; and (2) the juvenile court did not err in finding that J.J.’s out-of-court statement possessed the requisite particularized guarantees of trustworthiness required for admissibility under CP 11-304. View "In re J.J. and T.S." on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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A county may rescind its approval of a municipality’s rezoning of annexed land. The Town Commissioners of Queenstown annexed farm land adjacent to Queenstown in Queen Anne’s County and rezoned the annexed land for purposes of a planned development. The Town sought the County’s approval of the new zoning classification. The outgoing Board of County Commissioners approved the Town’s rezoning. After the November 2014 election, the newly installed Board of County Commissioners rescinded that approval. Waterman and the Town then brought this action against the County. The circuit court issued a declaratory judgment that the resolution rescinding approval had “no legal force and effect.” The Court of Special Appeals reversed. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the County had authority to rescind the initial resolution approving the rezoning. View "Waterman Family Ltd. Partnership v. Boomer" on Justia Law

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To be valid, a Development Rights and Responsibilities Agreement (DRRA) is not required to confer an enhanced public benefit on a county. After a DRRA was approved and recorded, Cleanwater Linganore, Inc. and other individuals and entities (collectively, Cleanwater) filed a petition for judicial review, challenging the validity of the DRRA, arguing that the DRRA was void for lack of consideration because Petitioners had failed to prove any “enhanced public benefits” as consideration. The circuit court affirmed the Frederick County Board of County Commissioner’s approval of the DRRA. The court of special appeals reversed, concluding that the DRRA was void for lack of consideration because it lacked any enhanced public benefits to Frederick County. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the DRRA was not required to confer any enhanced public benefit to the County and was supported by sufficient consideration. View "Lillian C. Blentlinger, LLC v. Cleanwater Linganore, Inc." on Justia Law

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In this child in need of assistance (CINA) case, the Court of Appeals settled conflicting decisions from the Court of Special Appeals on the appealability of a juvenile court’s order waiving the government’s obligation to provide reasonable reunification efforts to families. The Court of Appeals issued a writ of certiorari to answer two questions. The court did not reach the second question and answered the first question by holding that the Court of Special Appeals did not err in holding that the juvenile court’s order waiving reasonable reunification efforts was not a final order and not appealable, and therefore, Petitioner had no right to an interlocutory appeal. View "In re C.E." on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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In this criminal case concerning the State’s obligation to disclose to a defendant’s counsel information regarding a State’s witness’s pretrial identification of a co-defendant and whether the State was required to make such a disclosure under the circumstances of this case, the Court of Appeals held (1) Maryland Rule 4-263(d)(7)(B), by its plain language and history, does not require disclosure of pretrial identifications of co-defendants; and (2) a pretrial identification of a co-defendant is relevant information regarding pretrial identification of the defendant under Maryland Rule 4-263(d)(7)(B) where the pretrial identification of the co-defendant is the equivalent of a pretrial identification of the defendant as the person responsible for the crime. Accordingly, in this case, the State was obligated to disclose during discovery a witness’s pretrial identification of Defendant’s co-defendant as the person who was not the shooter. View "Green v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The suppression court did not err in denying Petitioner’s motion to suppress the images of his fifteen-year-old girlfriend that the police found while executing the warrant to search Petitioner’s cell phone because the warrant-issuing judge had a substantial basis for issuing the warrant to search Petitioner’s cell phone. Petitioner was convicted of possession of child pornography based in large part on photographs and a video of Petitioner’s girlfriend that the police found on his cell phone while executing a warrant to search it. The Court of Special Appeals affirmed the circuit court’s denial of Petitioner’s motion to suppress the photographs and video, concluding that the affidavit in support of the warrant provided a substantial basis who issued the warrant to find probable cause to search the cell phone. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that there was a substantial basis for the judge who issued the warrant to find probable cause that Petitioner’s cell phone contained evidence of suspected criminal behavior. View "Moats v. State" on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of Defendant’s motion to suppress of evidence obtained during a search of his cell phone seized by police incident to an arrest, holding that the affidavit in support of the warrant supplied a substantial basis for the judge who issued the warrant to find probable cause to issue it. The court also took this opportunity to explain that, even if the affidavit in support of the warrant did not provide a substantial basis for the warrant-issuing judge to find probable cause to search Defendant’s cell phone, Defendant was not entitled to suppression of the evidence by application of the “good faith” exception to the exclusionary rule outlined in United States v. Leon, 468 U.S. 897 (1984). View "Stevenson v. State" on Justia Law

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There is no procedural bar prohibiting a third-party from seeking to intervene in a custody dispute between parents because Maryland Rule 2-214 allows any person to intervene in an action "when the person's claim or defense has a question of law or fact in common with the action." Because a third-party may not obtain custody of a child over the child's biological parents unless the third-party can demonstrate that the parents are either unfit or that exceptional circumstances exist that may be detrimental to the child, the third-party seeking to intervene in a custody action must make a prima facie showing that the parents are either unfit or that exceptional circumstances exist in their pleading. In this case, the Court of Appeals held that the circuit court did not err in allowing the grandparents to intervene in the custody action between petitioner and father because the grandparents alleged sufficient facts in their motion to make a prima facie showing that petitioner and father were unfit and that exceptional circumstances may have existed in this case; the hearing judge abused his discretion in finding that petitioner was an unfit parent; the circuit court erred in applying the Hoffman factor test to the facts in this case; and because the circuit court abused its discretion in granting custody of the child to the grandparents, the circuit court also erred in ordering petitioner to pay child support to the grandparents. View "Burak v. Burak" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law