Law digest – 5/22/14


Administrative Law, Executive employees: The Register of Wills is part of the Judiciary, and the state comptroller’s limited powers over it are not sufficient to convert the Chief Deputy Register’s position into an executive branch position; thus, the Chief Deputy Register was a judicial branch employee and, as such, could not bring a whistleblower complaint. White v. Register of Wills of Anne Arundel County, Maryland, No. 677, Sept. Term, 2013. RecordFax No. 14-0501-00, 11 pages.

Criminal Procedure, Right to a jury trial: Maryland’s constitutional right to a jury trial does not attach at the initial level to theft of property valued at less than $100 because petit theft was not historically tried before a jury, the possible punishment is not an infamous penalty, and the offense is not an infamous crime or considered a serious offense. Abe v. State, No. 0099, Sept. Term, 2013. RecordFax No. 14-0501-03, 13 pages.

Criminal Procedure, Voir dire: Trial court committed reversible error by refusing defendant’s request for voir dire question on whether the fact that defendant is an African-American would affect jurors’ ability to be fair and impartial, and prosecutor’s suggested cure of a mid-trial voir dire was not an adequate or effective substitute. Hayes v. State, No. 2684, Sept. Term, 2012. RecordFax No. 14-0501-02, 15 pages.

Workers’ Compensation, Disabling accidents: A supervisor’s personnel decisions, whatever their character and however delivered, are a foreseeable part of employment with the State and, therefore, cannot constitute an “accident” for purposes of accidental disability; therefore, an employee whose permanent disability was triggered by her surprise at personnel decisions conveyed to her at meeting with her supervisor was not entitled to an accidental disability retirement allowance, but only to an “ordinary” disability retirement allowance. Burr v. Maryland State Retirement and Pension System, No. 761, Sept. Term, 2013. RecordFax No. 14-0501-01, 18 pages.

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