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State urges Md. high court to overturn Unger decision

ANNAPOLIS — The judges on Maryland’s top court were unusually silent Tuesday as an attorney for the state urged them to overturn their controversial 2012 decision that reopened courthouse doors to many inmates convicted of violent crimes before 1980. But ...

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Property owners lack standing in zoning-law cases, court says

In a defeat for those concerned about increased neighborhood traffic, Maryland’s top court has ruled property owners cannot challenge a comprehensive local rezoning ordinance in court unless they are taxpayers who have suffered a financial loss or increased taxes due to the new law.

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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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