Articles Posted in Criminal Law

I look at Maryland appellate opinions every week, looking for new Maryland personal injury cases. Nothing interesting in PI, but here are some other cases I stumbled across in a search for something related to my practice. If I get a lot of traffic for this, I’ll keep doing it. Otherwise, I won’t.

  • Charles County, I know you didn’t mean it. Still, even in zoning, due process is due process, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals says. (Is there a lot of pent up demand for a firing range and a driving track in Charles County?)
  • Anonymous lawyer, you begin practicing law.

Paul E. Schurick, Bob Ehrlich’s 2010 campaign manager, was convicted Tuesday on four counts of election-law violations stemming from an anonymous robocall he authorized in the waning hours of election day.

Really just an unbelievable story. You can read the Washington Post article here.

In Fleming v. Maryland, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland affirmed a murder conviction and touched on two issues that are of interest to all trial lawyers in Maryland involved in personal injury cases.

The first issue discusses the admissibility of expert testimony concerning scientific or forensic evidence in Maryland under the Frye-Reed standard, which provides that scientific techniques can be admissible at trial if they are “generally accepted” in the medical and/or scientific community. The second involves the doctrine of harmless error, which applies in defining the scope of cross-examination.

In many personal injury car accident trials in Maryland, a trial can pass with few rulings that are not completely discretionary for the court. If a plaintiff prevails at trial, there are few issues for the defendant’s lawyer to attack. So it is not uncommon to get motions for new trials after a verdict that involves discretionary rulings and errors that are clearly harmless.

When a Court of Appeals of Maryland opinion starts off with, “Reminiscent of a scene from a Cheech & Chong movie…”, you know the opinion will be interesting. Particularly when the dissent responds by quoting Mr. Mackey from South Park.

You can find the full Smith v. State opinion here.

The United States Supreme Court ruled today that the government can keep some sex offenders in prison after they serve their sentences, affirming the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act that authorized the civil commitment of sexually dangerous federal prisoners.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruling, issued just minutes ago, states that the government may indefinitely imprison convicts that are found “sexually dangerous” even after their prison sentences have been completed. In the case before the court, four men who served prison terms for possession of child pornography or sexual abuse of a minor were not released at the end of their sentences.

Justice Breyer wrote for the majority in a 7-2 opinion:

The Maryland Court of Appeals made us all a bit safer by its ruling in MVA v. Dove. I like safer. Whether there was justice in this individual case, I have no idea.

Facts of Dove

In Dove, the defendant rear-ends a car while driving his motorcycle on Route 4 in Calvert County. When the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office arrived at the scene, they found the Defendant being treated by the EMT. The officer noticed red, watery eyes and a strong odor of alcohol coming from him. He used the “I had one beer” defense and said he was afraid of needles so he couldn’t take a blood test to determine his BAC.

Jurors in the Sheila Dixon trial are convening for the 38th consecutive day today. Okay, not really, but it just feels that way.

Jurors are watching a videotape of the trial testimony of one witness. To say the least, this is unusual. But I don’t think it is a reversible error. This judge knows what he is doing.

The Baltimore Sun is tweeting the story. I check in periodically. The jury is out. Which means a lot of tweeting about nothing right now.

Another Above the Law link. A former Portland High School teacher convicted of having sex with her underage teacher’s aide has been sentenced to 12 years in prison.

The title of the post is a little misleading. She is eligible for parole in four years. She was a teacher who slept with the student who was in high school. Maybe she should go to jail for that, she is in loco parentis and all of that. But the kid was a month from turning 18. Twelve years seems insane?