Recent Maryland Decisions – 5/10

MARYLAND COURT OF APPEALS

Criminal Procedure, Voir dire objection: An overruled objection to a “CSI effect” voir dire question, where the nature of the objection was directed to the composition of the jury, was waived when the defense thereafter accepted the jury without qualification. State v. Stringfellow, No. 62, September Term, 2011. RecordFax No. 12-0423-22

Professional Responsibility, Disbarment: Under the totality of the circumstances, given the gravity and pervasiveness of attorney’s misconduct, disbarment was the appropriate sanction. Attorney Grievance Commission v. Brown, Misc. Docket AG No. 1, September Term, 2011. RecordFax No. 12-0423-24

Professional Responsibility, Disbarment: Disbarment was the appropriate sanction for multiple violations of the Maryland Lawyers’ Rules of Professional Conduct, including the misuse of trust funds and misconduct involving fraud, deceit and dishonesty.: Attorney Grievance Commission v. Camus, Misc. Docket AG No. 15, September Term, 2011. RecordFax No. 12-0423-21

Zoning, Conflict with Master Plan: Approval of plaintiff’s amended development plan was properly denied because the plan conflicted with the Baltimore County Master Plan. HNS Development, LLC v. People’s Counsel for Baltimore County, No. 85, September Term, 2011. RecordFax No. 12-0423-23

U.S. 4TH CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS

Civil Procedure, Collateral Order Doctrine: The U.S. District Court’s order resolving which evidentiary standard an ERISA claims administrator should apply in assessing a disability benefits claim, and remanding the claim to restore long-term disability benefits, could not be appealed under the collateral order doctrine because the order did not resolve an important issue completely separate from the merits of the action and was not effectively unreviewable on appeal from a final judgment. Dickens v. Aetna Life Insurance Company, No. 11-1434. RecordFax No. 12-0420-61

Constitutional Law, Animal Welfare Act: A statute that prohibits sponsoring or exhibiting an animal in an animal-fighting venture was a constitutional exercise of Congress’s powers under the Commerce Clause, and the statute’s additional evidentiary burden requiring the government to prove actual knowledge of interstate transportation of birds if the fighting occurred in a “state” where animal fighting remains legal did not violate the Equal Protection Clause. United States v. Lawson, No. 10-4831. RecordFax No. 12-0420-60

Criminal Procedure, Collateral consequence of guilty plea: The defendant’s loss of benefits under the Federal Employees Compensation Act was merely a collateral consequence, not a direct consequence, of his guilty plea to charges of using false statements to obtain federal employees’ compensation; therefore, the court was not required to advise the defendant of that consequence pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 11. United States v. Nicholson, No. 11-4531. RecordFax No. 12-0418-60

Evidence, Prior Bad Acts: In defendant’s trial for possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and knowingly using and carrying a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking, the trial court erred in admitting prior “bad act” evidence of defendant’s statements showing his knowledge of crack cocaine and his willingness to manufacture and distribute it, and this error was not harmless. United States v. McBride, No. 10-5162. RecordFax No. 12-0423-60

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