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Law digest – 2/6/14

MARYLAND COURT OF APPEALS 

Criminal Law, Theft by deception: Evidence was sufficient to support conviction for theft, where defendant obtained possession of home through deception and occupied home for period of time without payment to lawful owner; consolidated theft statute did not require asportation of property or proof of actual deprivation. Hobby v. State, No. 33, Sept. Term, 2013. RecordFax No. 14-0124-22, 36 pages.

Criminal Procedure, Jury instructions: An “anti-CSI effect” jury instruction is to be given only in a curative fashion, when a material misstatement of law occurs, and shall not be entertained without legal and empirical proof that a “CSI effect” exists; in this case, where the defense merely pointed out what procedures might have been available to the State, giving the instruction impermissibly relieved the State of its burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Robinson v. State, No. 11, Sept. Term, 2013. RecordFax No. 14-0127-20, 32 pages.

Labor & Employment, State Personnel: Under State Personnel Management System, an agency may fill vacant positions through recruitment, as opposed to reinstatement, of former employees who had been laid off; but in so doing, agency must follow statutory procedures governing recruitment and may not conduct what is in effect a reinstatement process that does not comply with statutory provisions on reinstatement. Sturdivant v. Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, No. 96, Sept. Term, 2012. RecordFax No. 14-0127-21, 9 pages.

Professional Responsibility, Indefinite suspension: Attorney’s indefinite suspension from the practice of law in Maryland was proper because convincing evidence supported hearing judge’s conclusion that attorney failed to comply with discovery requests and to respond to a motion to compel responses to discovery requests. Attorney Grievance Commission v. Gray, Misc. Docket AG No. 52, Sept. Term, 2012. RecordFax No. 14-0124-20, 13 pages.

Professional Responsibility, Suspension: Attorney’s violation of the public safety law, by transferring a handgun to a former client when she had reason to know he could not legally possess it, violated MLRPC 8.4 as behavior prejudicial to the administration of justice and conduct negatively impacting the public’s perception of the legal profession; however, because neither party had recommended a sanction, the court ordered that they be given the opportunity to make that recommendation. Attorney Grievance Commission of Maryland v. Sandra Reno, Misc. Docket AG No. 5, Sept. Term, 2013. RecordFax No. 14-0124-21, 11 pages.

Workers’ Compensation, Going and coming rule: The “going and coming” rule, which generally precludes an award of workers’ compensation to an employee traveling to and from work, was not applicable when an employee was traveling from one site, where he was engaged in employer-encouraged activities, to another site, where he was to engage in a work-related task, to which his employer acquiesced. Roberts v. Montgomery County, No. 39, Sept. Term, 2013. RecordFax No. 14-0128-20, 21 pages.

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