Recent Maryland Decisions – 5/18


Administrative Law, Appeal of public employee’s termination: Petitioner’s appeal of her termination was properly dismissed because she failed to file the appeal in a timely manner pursuant to SP §11-110(a)(1). Fisher v. Eastern Correctional Institution, Department of Public Safety & Correctional Services, No. 90, Sept. Term, 2011. RecordFax No. 12-0426-21

Administrative Law, Discovery under Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights: The Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights does not provide for compelling production of records and documents by subpoena in advance of a disciplinary hearing. Popkin v. Gindlesperger, No. 104, Sept. Term, 2011. RecordFax No. 12-0426-22

Constitutional Law, DNA collection: The Maryland DNA Collection Act — which allows DNA collection from persons arrested, but not yet convicted, for crimes of violence — was unconstitutional as applied to a defendant who was arrested for assault in 2009; therefore, his conviction for a 2003 rape, based on that DNA sample, could not stand. King v. State, No. 68, Sept. Term, 2011. RecordFax No. 12-0424-22

Environmental Law, License to fill and dredge state wetlands: In denying plaintiff’s application for a license to fill and dredge on certain State wetlands, the Board of Public Works committed legal error by basing its decision on factors outside the scope of its authority and discretion. Maryland Board of Public Works v. Hovnanian Kent Island, LLC, No. 67, Sept. Term, 2011. RecordFax No. 12-0423-20

Family Law, Collateral estoppel effect of CINA determination: Child in Need of Assistance determinations preclude the re-litigation of issues presented in contested case hearings where the elements of collateral estoppel are satisfied. Cosby v. Department of Human Resources, Allegany County Department of Social Services, No. 74, Sept. Term, 2011. RecordFax No. 12-0425-22

Insurance Law, First named insured: The waiver of enhanced uninsured motorist coverage signed by plaintiff was effective since plaintiff was the “first named insured” with respect to her car insurance policy at the time she executed the waiver, even though her husband’s name was listed first in the policy. Swartzbaugh v. Encompass Insurance Company of America, No. 100 Sept. Term, 2011. RecordFax No. 12-0425-23

Professional Responsibility, Indefinite suspension: Where attorney negotiated a settlement and suggested to the court that the settlement had his client’s approval even though attorney had not, in fact, consulted with his client on the matter, indefinite suspension was the appropriate sanction. Attorney Grievance Commission of Maryland v. McGlade, No. 6, Sept. Term 2010. RecordFax No. 12-0424-23

Professional Responsibility, Reinstatement: Attorney was reinstated to the Bar of Maryland because the criminal convictions pursuant to which he was disbarred were reversed on appeal, the underlying charges dismissed on remand and not further pursued, and attorney has, since his disbarment, demonstrated that he has been rehabilitated and is legally competent. In the Matter of Ira C. Cooke for Reinstatement to the Bar of Maryland, No. 82 Sept. Term, 2007. RecordFax No. 12-0425-20

Torts, Dog attacks: Upon a plaintiff’s sufficient proof that a dog involved in an attack is a pit bull, and that the owner knows that the dog is a pit bull, that person is strictly liable for the damages caused to one who is attacked by the dog on or from the owner’s. Tracey v. Solesky, No. 53, Sept. Term, 2011. RecordFax No. 12-0426-20


Criminal Procedure, Inculpatory custodial statements: Inculpatory statements given to police by suspect in custody after he had invoked his right to counsel should have been suppressed from evidence at trial because the State did not satisfy its burden to rebut the presumption that such statements were involuntary. Henry v. State, No. 952, Sept. Term, 2010. RecordFax No. 12-0425-02

Criminal Procedure, Mistake of law: Police officer’s detention of defendant, which was based on officer’s mistaken belief that defendant’s act of parking so that his car took up two spots in a private lot constituted a traffic violation, was an unreasonable use of police authority; therefore, items seized during a subsequent search of defendant were inadmissible at defendant’s trial for drug crimes. Gilmore v. State, No. 2744, Sept. Term, 2009. RecordFax No. 12-0425-01

Criminal Procedure, Voir dire questions: Court’s voir dire question to potential jurors, which used neutral language, advised potential jurors that shows like CSI are fiction and use exaggerated or non-existent scientific methods and that jurors must base decisions solely on evidence presented in court, and did not suggest that finding defendant guilty was a foregone conclusion, was a permissible inquiry and was not grounds for reversal. Morris v. State, No. 1705, Sept. Term, 2010. RecordFax No. 12-0425-03

Environmental Law, Critical Area Act: Critical Area Commission for the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays acted in a quasi-legislative capacity when it decided that certain provisions of Wicomico County’s Critical Area program did not conform to state law, and Commission did not exceed its statutory authority in so doing. Lewis v. Gansler, No. 2174, Sept. Term, 2009. RecordFax No. 12-0425-00

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