Maryland Courts

SCHEDULE OF ORAL ARGUMENTS

September Term, 2016

 

Thursday, May 4, 2017:

Bar Admissions

Misc No. 25 Ukeenan Nautica Thomas v. State of Maryland

Certified Question from the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland

Question - Did the circuit court err in declining to ask prospective jurors trial counsel's proposed voir dire question as to whether prospective jurors would 'give greater weight to the testimony of a police officer based on the officer's occupation' and, instead, asked whether the prospective jurors would 'give more or less weight to the testimony of a physician, a clergyman, a firefighter, a police officer, psychiatrist, social worker, electrician or any other witness merely because of their title, profession, education, occupation or employment?'

Attorney for Appellant: Katherine P. Rasin
Attorney for Appellee: Sarah Page Pritzlaff

No. 80 Stephanie Smith v. State of Maryland

Issues – Criminal Law – 1) Do the holdings in Cuffley v. State, 416 Md. 568 (2010) and Baines v. State, 416 Md. 204 (2010), under which a plea agreement is construed according to what a reasonable lay person in the defendant’s position would have understood it to mean, apply when the State challenges a sentence allegedly imposed in violation of Md. Rule 4-243(c)? 2) Would a reasonable lay person in Petitioner’s situation have believed that probation before judgment was precluded by the plea agreement where the agreement was silent as to probation before judgment and required Petitioner to pay restitution? 3) Under Md. Rule 4-243(c), which provides in part that “if [the guilty plea] is accepted, [the judge] may approve the [plea] agreement or defer decision as to its approval or rejection until after such pre-sentence proceedings and investigation as the judge directs,” is the court bound to the plea agreement upon accepting the guilty plea or may it reject the agreement after accepting the plea, and if the latter, did the trial court reject the agreement after accepting Petitioner’s guilty plea? 4) Did CSA err in holding that Petitioner’s sentence was imposed in violation of Rule 4-243(c)?

Attorney for Petitioner: Helki L.C. Philipsen
Attorney for Respondent: Michelle M. Martin

No. 81 Bashawn Montgomery Ray v. State of Maryland

Issues – Criminal Law – 1) Under this Court’s decisions in Cuffley v. State, 416 Md. 568 (2010) and Baines v. State, 416 Md. 204 (2010), which require that a plea agreement is construed according to what a reasonable lay person in the defendant’s position would have understood it to mean, would a reasonable lay person understand a “cap of four years on executed incarceration” to mean that the court could impose suspended time in addition to a four-year term of non-suspended incarceration? 2) Where the trial court bound itself to a “cap of four years on executed incarceration,” but the term “executed” was never explained to Petitioner and he was never informed that the court could impose suspended time in addition to incarceration for up to four years, and the court sentenced him to ten years’ incarceration, with six years suspended, is the sentence imposed on Petitioner illegal?

Attorneys for Petitioner: Claire R. Caplan and Mark Colvin
Attorney for Respondent: Mary Ann Ince

 

Friday, May 5, 2017:

No. 67 James Patrick Beaman v. State of Maryland

DNA appeal.

Attorney for Appellant: Nancy S. Forster
Attorney for Appellee: Robert K. Taylor, Jr.

No. 79 Sadie M. Castruccio v. The Estate of Peter A. Castruccio et al.

Issues – Estates & Trusts - 1) Is a Will validly executed if (a) the witnesses did not sign on the same page as the testator, or on one physically connected to it, (b) the Will contained no proper attestation clause, and (c) the Will was not otherwise regular on its face because it expressly stated the pages were initialed but they were not? 2) Can a presumption of due execution attach to such a Will, where the only confirmation that the witnesses signed in the presence of the testator is a common font and consecutive page numbering? 3) Can summary judgment as to the validity of the Will properly be granted where two of the witnesses testified the Will was stapled when they signed, and one testified the pages were initialed, but the Will submitted for probate was never stapled or initialed?

Attorney for Petitioner: Kenneth B. Frank
Attorney for Respondent: Shale D. Stiller

No. 91 Theodore Scott v. State of Maryland

Issues – Criminal Law – 1) Where the State fails to prove the existence of a prior conviction for purposes of imposing a mandatory sentence pursuant to Md. Code Ann., Criminal Law § 14-101, is the State barred from attempting to prove the prior conviction on remand for resentencing under the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment and/or the Md. common law prohibition against double jeopardy? 2) If so, did CSA err in holding that the State was not barred from attempting to prove the existence of a prior conviction of Petitioner on remand for resentencing? 3) Did the trial court err in resentencing when it concluded it did not have the discretion to make the remanded sentence run concurrently with other sentences that were not remanded for resentencing on appeal? 4) Did CSA err in holding that the issue in question 3 had not been preserved for appellate review?

Attorney for Petitioner: Jeffrey M. Ross
Attorney for Respondent: Brenda Gruss

 

Monday, May 8, 2017:

No. 89 Timothy Alan Moats v. State of Maryland

Issues – Criminal Law – 1) Does an individual’s suspected involvement in a crime and a police officer’s belief that a cell phone could be used in that crime, without more, constitute probable cause to search and seize that individual’s cell phone? 2) Does the good faith exception to illegal searches and seizures apply in this case?

Attorney for Petitioner: John N. Sharifi
Attorney for Respondent: Daniel Jawor

No. 92 Timothy Stevenson v. State of Maryland

Issues – Criminal Law – 1) Did the search warrant applications establish a sufficient nexus between the alleged crimes and Petitioner’s cell phone, such that the warrant-issuing judges had a substantial basis for finding probable cause? 2) Did the trial court err in denying petitioner’s motion to suppress the fruits of a search conducted pursuant to the warrant? 3) If the warrant-issuing judges did not have a substantial basis for finding probable cause, did police nonetheless rely on the warrants in good faith?

Attorney for Appellant: Katherine P. Rasin
Attorney for Appellee: Todd W. Hesel

AG No. 77 In the Matter of the Petition for Reinstatement of Tiffany T. Alston

Attorney for Petitioner: Timothy F. Maloney
Attorney for Respondent: Raymond A. Hein

No. 90 National Waste Managers, Inc Chesapeake Terrace v. Forks of the Patuxent Improvement Association, Inc. et al.

Issues – Zoning & Planning – 1) Did CSA err in failing to reverse the Board’s action and in failing to remand the case with instruction to the Board to grant National Waste Managers’ (“NWM”) fourth variance request? 2) Did CSA err in remanding the case for consideration of whether NWM’s variance was necessary? 3) Did CSA err in construing the county variance statute and in denying preclusive effect to prior adjudications and findings of the Board

Attorneys for Petitioner: Susanne K. Henley and Steve Resnick
Attorney for Respondent: Phillip T. Bennett

 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017:

No. 86   Donta Newton v. State of Maryland

Issue – Criminal Law – Did CSA err in reversing the trial court’s determination that trial counsel, appellate counsel and the trial court committed reversible error in permitting alternate jurors to be present during jury deliberations?

Attorney for Petitioner: Lisa J. Sansone
Attorney for Respondent: Michelle M. Martin

No. 88 Karla Louise Porter v. State of Maryland

Issues – Criminal Law – 1) Did CSA improperly apply harmless error review when, rather than considering the effect of an erroneous imperfect self-defense instruction on the jury’s verdict, it applied de novo review to the trial court’s underlying decision to grant the instruction – a question not before it – resolved that issue in favor of the State, and retroactively determined that the jury would have convicted if the trial had unfolded as CSA believed it should have? 2) If so, did CSA err when it found the provision of legally erroneous instruction on imperfect self-defense harmless beyond a reasonable doubt?

Attorney for Petitioner: Marta K. Kahn
Attorney for Respondent: Brenda Gruss

No. 83 State of Maryland v. Otis Rich

Issue – Criminal Law – Where the trial court denied Respondent’s coram nobis petition challenging his 2001 conviction without a hearing, in light of Smith v. State, 443 Md. 572 (2015), did CSA err in not remanding this matter to the trial court for a hearing to determine whether Respondent was, in fact, unaware of the nature of a conspiracy charge at the time of his plea?

Attorney for Petitioner: Cathleen C. Brockmeyer
Attorney for Respondent: Thomas M. Donnellys

 

On the day of argument, counsel are instructed to register in the Clerk’s Office no later than 9:30 a.m. unless otherwise notified.

After May 9, 2017, the Court will recess until June 1, 2017.

 

BESSIE M. DECKER

CLERK