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Law digest – 6/11/14

MARYLAND COURT OF APPEALS 

Administrative Law, Driver’s license suspension: A driver who was stopped by police on suspicion of drunk driving, who was asked to take a breath test under the “implied consent, administrative per se law,” and whose license was administratively suspended as a result of an adverse result or refusal to take the test, was not entitled to have the suspension set aside on the ground that the driver was not permitted to consult counsel before taking the test. Motor Vehicle Administration v. Deering, No. 52, Sept. Term, 2013. RecordFax No. 14-0521-20, 34 pages.

Professional Responsibility, Suspension: Sixty-day suspension was the appropriate sanction for a Maryland lawyer who misrepresented her legal experience on her résumé and a job proposal, established a law practice with an attorney in a specific field without verifying his expertise and experience, provided incompetent representation, and failed to promptly, adequately, and fully respond to and inform a client of the client’s case status and available options. Attorney Grievance Commission v. Narasimhan, Misc. Docket AG No. 77, Sept. Term, 2012. RecordFax No. 14-0523-20, 61 pages.

MARYLAND COURT OF SPECIAL APPEALS 

Administrative Law, Default order: Administrative law judge erred in denying property owner’s motion to vacate a default order for lack of proper service of order where the only evidence before the judge regarding service of process was two conflicting affidavits regarding whether the property owner was served, because, given the conflicting reports, there was insufficient evidence to support the judge’s decision to deny property owner’s motion to vacate the default order. Wilson v. Maryland Department of the Environment, No. 2551, Sept. Term, 2012. RecordFax No. 14-0527-02, 18 pages.

Criminal Procedure, Plea agreement: Where a judge imposed a sentence that was less than the sentence agreed upon by the judge, the prosecutor and the defendant in an ABA plea agreement, it was proper for another judge, pursuant to Maryland statute governing imposition of criminal sentences, to later increase that sentence. Bonilla v. State, No. 0508, Sept. Term, 2012. RecordFax No. 14-0527-01, 11 pages.

Election Law, Laches: Circuit court correctly invoked doctrine of laches to find that plaintiff’s complaint, seeking a writ of mandamus ordering the governor to issue her a commission to serve as judge of the Orphan’s Court for Baltimore City, was time-barred, where plaintiff delayed nearly two years in bringing her claim for relief in contravention of public policy that claims for judicial relief relative to an election must be prosecuted without delay. Baker v. O’Malley, No. 2393, Sept. Term, 2012. RecordFax No. 14-0527-03, 13 pages.

Evidence, Dying declaration: In defendant’s criminal trial for murder and related charges, circuit court erred in suppressing victim’s extrajudicial identification of defendant as the person who shot him because at time of trial, victim was dead, and record indicated that although victim did not ultimately die until almost two years after making the identification of the defendant, at the time that he made the identification, victim had heard doctor state that victim was not expected to live more than 24 hours, thereby satisfying the unavailability and “belief in impending death” requirements of Maryland’s “dying declaration” exception to the hearsay rule. State v. Hailes, No. 2384, Sept. Term, 2013. RecordFax No. 14-0527-04, 63 pages.

U.S. 4TH CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS 

Bankruptcy Law, Exceptions to automatic stay: Construction subcontractors entitled to a lien on funds under North Carolina law had an interest in property when debtor contractor filed for bankruptcy, by which time the subcontractors had not yet served notice of, and thereby perfected, their liens; therefore, given that all additional conditions for an exception to the automatic stay were met, district court properly allowed subcontractors to serve notice of, and thereby perfect, their liens post-petition.

In re: Construction Supervision Services, Inc.; Branch Banking & Trust Company v. Construction Supervision Services, Inc., No. 13-1560. RecordFax No. 14-0522-60, 19 pages.

Constitutional Law, Vagueness doctrine: Legislative act prohibiting distribution of “designer drugs” was not unconstitutionally vague as applied to defendant, because a person of “common intelligence” would reasonably understand what the statute was intended to prohibit. United States v. McFadden, No. 13-4349. RecordFax No. 14-0521-60, 28 pages.

Criminal Procedure, Supervised release: District court erred in finding that defendant had violated the terms of his supervised release by possessing marijuana, and thereby revoking his release, because the finding relied on a laboratory report prepared by a forensic examiner who did not testify at the hearing, and defendant was thus denied a chance to cross-examine the forensic examiner. United States v. Ferguson, No. 13-4396. RecordFax No. 14-0521-61, 21 pages.

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