Recent Maryland Decisions

MARYLAND COURT OF APPEALS

Administrative Law, LEOBR statute of limitations: After law enforcement officer knowingly made a material false statement during an investigation of prior misconduct, law enforcement agency had one year from the day the false statement came to its attention to bring an administrative charge against the officer for making that false statement. Robinson v. Baltimore Police Department, No. 17, Sept. Term, 2011. RecordFax No. 11-1220-22, 16 pages.

Criminal Law, Theft by deception: Vendor was improperly convicted of theft by deception in connection to his failure to perform eight construction contracts for detached homes, as there was no evidence that vendor lacked either a right to the money he received or an honest belief in that right, while there was evidence that the vendor gave value for the money he received in the way of advances to pay for the lots, as provided under the contracts. State v. Coleman, No. 14, Sept. Term, 2011. RecordFax No. 11-1215-20, 21 pages.

Criminal Procedure, Verdict sheet: For purposes of Maryland Rule 4-326(d), which requires that a court disclose to counsel all “communications” between the court and the jury, verdict sheet completed by jury in defendant’s criminal trial was not a “communication” between the court and the jury, and trial court therefore did not err in failing to disclose the contents of the verdict sheet prior to dismissing the jury. Ogundipe v. State, No. 54, Sept. Term, 2010 (filed Dec. 21, 2011). RecordFax No. 11-1221-20, 44 pages.

Estates and Trusts, Accounting: An order for accounting is not a final appealable judgment or an appealable interlocutory order; therefore, the circuit court’s order requiring the trustor of an inter vivos trust to provide an accounting was dismissed. Moreland Johnson v. Johnson, No. 63, Sept. Term, 2009. RecordFax No. 11-1214-20, 9 pages.

Professional Responsibility, Disbarment: For the protection of the public, disbarment was appropriate sanction for attorney who engaged in ongoing and intentional dishonest conduct, including knowingly and willfully attempting to induce real estate agent and her client to enter a contract of sale through provision of fraudulent documents and bad checks, misappropriation of client funds, development of multiple schemes to defraud and steal from others. Attorney Grievance Commission of Maryland v. Seltzer, Misc. Docket AG No. 55, Sept. Term, 2010. RecordFax No. 11-1222-21, 26 pages.

COURT OF SPECIAL APPEALS

Civil Rights, Fair Housing Amendments Act: During mediation of dispute between disabled tenant and building management company, management company could not have violated Maryland Code, Article 49B §22(a)(9) by holding mediation meeting in a wheelchair-inaccessible location because tenant never made a request for reasonable accommodation for his wheelchair. Wallace H. Campbell & Company, Inc. v. Maryland Commission on Human Relations, Nos. 291, 1310, Sept. Term, 2010. RecordFax No. 11-1222-02, 23 pages.

Criminal Law, Merger: Court properly denied defendant’s motion to correct illegal sentence, in which defendant argued that merger of his separate, consecutive sentences for first-degree assault, false imprisonment, and unlawful taking of a motor vehicle was required under the double jeopardy clause, because each offense required proof of an element that the other offenses did not, and offenses were therefore separate offenses for double jeopardy purposes. Pair v. State, No. 1396, Sept. Term, 2010. RecordFax No. 11-1222-03, 33 pages.

Criminal Procedure, Voir dire: In defendant’s criminal trial, where trial judge advised attorneys that they could ask individual questions of jurors and permitted individual questioning of jurors, and defendant failed to ask additional questions of a particular member of jury panel, failed to object in any manner to the court’s alleged oversight in not asking the member additional follow-up questions, and agreed that the subsequently empanelled juror was acceptable to the defense, defendant failed to preserve issue of juror’s empanelment for appellate review. Alford v. State, No. 2459, Sept. Term, 2010. RecordFax No. 11-1222-04, 37 pages.

Evidence, Prior inconsistent statement: In defendant’s criminal trial, the circuit court erred in admitting police detective’s prior inconsistent statement as substantive evidence rather than for purposes of impeachment alone; however, because the critical content of the statement was introduced, without objection, at various other times during trial, the admission of the detective’s statement was harmless error. Yates v. State, No. 2399, Sept. Term, 2009. RecordFax No. 11-1222-02, 33 pages.

Real Property, Adverse possession: In plaintiff’s action to quiet title to a water well on plaintiff’s land, where plaintiff’s neighbor had previously used the well with permission from the previous owner of the land and now sought to establish an easement by prescription, circuit court circuit court properly granted summary judgment in favor of plaintiff on the issue of adverse possession because neighbor failed to offer evidence sufficient to rebut the presumption of permissive use of the property in question. Rupli v. South Mountain Heritage Society, Inc., No. 2555, Sept. Term, 2009. RecordFax No. 11-1222-01, 26 pages.

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