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Top court upholds dying man’s ID of alleged killer

Video of a dying man blinking at a photo of his alleged killer is admissible evidence at trial, even though the victim cannot be cross-examined and he lived for another two years, Maryland's top court held Friday. A unanimous Court of Appeals held Mevlin Pate's identification of Jermaine Hailes was a "dying declaration," meaning Hailes does not have a Sixth Amendment right of confronting his accuser in Prince George's County Circuit Court. "Here, we reach the same conclusion that the Supreme Court has consistently endorsed for more than a century, and hold that the Confrontation Clause does not apply to dying declarations," Judge Shirley M. Watts wrote in affirming the Court of Special Appeals.

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Md. Court overturns conviction on Fifth Amendment grounds

A prosecutor’s opening statement to the jury that the defendant “will tell you” about his setting fires doomed the state’s case from the start, Maryland’s top court has unanimously ruled in overturning a man’s conviction for trying to set his ex-girlfriend’s family car ablaze. The statement likely fueled the Prince George’s County jurors’ expectation that William Simpson would testify in his own defense – thus making him appear guilty when he exercised his federal and state constitutional privilege not to testify, the Court of Appeals said.

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High court will hear Actos failure-to-warn appeal

With more than $1.75 million at stake, Maryland’s top court said it will consider whether a pharmaceutical company should be held financially liable for negligently failing to warn doctors about a drug’s potentially carcinogenic side effect even though the cancer victim contributed to the fatal disease by smoking cigarettes.

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Court rejects set standards for photo arrays

Judges need not consider expert testimony on the limits of human perception and memory before ruling on the admissibility of a witness’ identification of a criminal defendant in a photo array, Maryland’s top court ruled Monday in upholding an attempted-murder conviction and life sentence following a 2011 shooting in Salisbury.

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Court moves up arguments in Carroll County case to Monday

In a nod to time being of the essence, Maryland’s high court said it will hear arguments Monday on whether the Carroll County Republican Central Committee should have refused Gov. Larry Hogan’s demand for additional names once the committee notified him of its choice to fill a state Senate vacancy.

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