Jul 5, 2013 0
Incoming Court of Appeals Judge Shirley M. Watts filed an unusual dissenting opinion in one of her last cases as a Court of Special Appeals judge.
In a 2-1 decision in Costen v. State, the Court of Special Appeals vacated a criminal conviction and sent the case back to Worcester County Circuit Court because of an incorrect application of Maryland Rule 4-246(b), which deals with the waiver to the right of a jury trial.
Court of Special Appeals Judge Timothy E. Meredith, writing for the majority, cited the Court of Appeals’ May decision in Valonis v. State. In that case, the top court more clearly defined Rule 4-246(b), with Judges Robert N. McDonald and Sally D. Adkins dissenting.
Back to Watts: In Costen, not only does Watts dissent with the majority, but she also writes that she agrees with the dissenters in Valonis.
In other words, Watts disagrees with the law as established by the Court of Appeals.
Come September, should a similar case come before her, now she’ll have a chance to change that law.