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Law digest – 4/17/14

MARYLAND COURT OF APPEALS 

Criminal Procedure, Jury instructions: Although trial court abused its discretion in giving “anti-CSI effect” jury instruction, the abuse of discretion was harmless because evidence presented at trial established certain essential facts of the case and, therefore, “anti-CSI effect” jury instruction could not have caused jury to overlook the lack of other evidence of these facts. Hall v. State, No. 53, Sept. Term, 2013. RecordFax No. 14-0325-20, 9 pages.

Criminal Procedure, Right to counsel of choice: Circuit court properly exercised its discretion in disqualifying one of defendant’s defense counsel, who had represented previously a key State’s witness in an unrelated and earlier criminal matter, which conflict of interest the witness refused to waive. Alexis v. State, No. 45, Sept. Term, 2013. RecordFax No. 14-0324-22, 37 pages.

Professional Responsibility, Disbarment: Where attorney violated Maryland Lawyers’ Rules of Professional Conduct regarding safekeeping property, misconduct, and commingling of funds by depositing personal funds into his attorney escrow account in order to conceal those funds from creditors, appropriate sanction was disbarment. Attorney Grievance Commission of Maryland v. Friedman, No. 49, Sept. Term, 2012. RecordFax No. 14-0324-23, 11 pages.

Professional Responsibility, Reciprocal discipline: Where an attorney claimed to be suffering from a mental illness that rendered him unable to defend himself in a pending disciplinary matter in D.C., and D.C. ordered the attorney’s indefinite suspension due to his self-professed disability and additionally held the pending disciplinary matter in abeyance, the most appropriate reciprocal action in Maryland was to place the attorney on inactive status until further order by the Court of Appeals. Attorney Grievance Commission v. Kourtesis, Misc. AG No. 4, Sept. Term, 2013. RecordFax No. 14-0324-20, 22 pages.

Tax Law, Special taxing districts: Where state law authorized the county to create a new taxing district if a supermajority of landowners in the defined geographic area volunteered to pay the special taxes, the law did not require the county to determine, before taking final action, whether changes in landownership affected the supermajority. Victoria Falls Committee for Truth in Taxation, LLC v. Prince George’s County, No. 59, Sept. Term, 2013. RecordFax No. 14-0321-20, 28 pages.

Tax Law, State income tax of corporations: Maryland had the authority to tax two out-of-state subsidiaries of a Maryland corporation because subsidiaries did not have economic substance as separate business entities apart from their parent corporation, a Maryland taxpayer. Gore Enterprise Holdings, Inc. v. Comptroller of the Treasury and Future Value, Inc., No. 36, Sept. Term, 2013. RecordFax No. 14-0324-21, 44 pages.

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