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Law digest: 6/20/11

COURT OF SPECIAL APPEALS

Civil Procedure, Contempt: Although defendant’s appeal of the order holding her in contempt for failure to pay child support was dismissed as moot, the circuit court erred in entering the contempt order and imposing a sentence without first ascertaining that defendant had validly waived her right to counsel. Bradford v. State, No. 206, Sept. Term, 2010. RecordFax No. 11-0601-00.

Civil Procedure, Garnishment: Where life insurance company’s request for a writ of garnishment failed to clearly and unambiguously identify the garnishee, company’s motion for conditions for satisfaction of judgment of condemnation was properly denied. Phoenix Life Insurance Company v. Wachovia Bank, No. 0562, Sept. Term, 2010. RecordFax No. 11-0601-02.

Civil Procedure, Reply brief: Appellant’s reply brief, filed more than 10 days before the scheduled oral argument, was untimely pursuant to Rule 8–502(a)(3); therefore, appellee’s motion to strike appellant’s reply brief was granted. Heit v. Stansbury, No. 354 Sept. Term, 2010. RecordFax No. 11-0527-01.

Criminal Procedure, Voir dire: Trial court erred in asking venire panel whether any member believed the state was required to utilize specific investigative or scientific techniques in order for the defendant to be found guilty, as this question deprived the defendant of a fair and impartial jury by expressing a foregone conclusion as to the expected outcome of the trial. Stringfellow v. State, No. 0139, Sept. Term, 2010. RecordFax No. 11-0527-00.

Real Property, Foreclosure fees: Although it was improper to require a successful third-party bidder at a foreclosure sale to pay the trustees an additional $295 as an attorney’s fee where deed of trust did not authorize such a fee, mortgagor of the foreclosed property had no standing to raise the fee question because mortgagor suffered no injury-in-fact as a result of the improperly imposed fee. Maddox v. Cohn, No. 15, Sept. Term, 2009. RecordFax No. 11-0526-00.

U.S. 4th CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS

Civil Rights, Reasonableness of use of force: In lawsuit against police officers arising from the officer’s execution of a search warrant, district court did not abuse its discretion by failing to give plaintiffs’ requested jury instructions because, reviewed in their entirety, the jury instructions issued by the court made clear that the reasonableness requirement governed the search as a whole. Noel v. Artson, No. 09–1562. RecordFax No. 11-0602-60.

Constitutional Law, Civil commitment of former federal prisoners: A federal prisoner whose sentence includes a term of supervised release falls within the class of persons “in the custody of” the Bureau of Prisons and is therefore subject to the certification provisions of the Adam Walsh Act. United States v. Broncheau, Nos. 10–7611, 10–7616, 10–7617, 10–7618, 10–7619, 10–7620, 10–7621, 10–7622, 10–7623. RecordFax No. 11-0526-60.

Constitutional Law, Ineffective assistance of counsel: Where criminal defendant did not show that his counsel’s performance was deficient and that the deficiency prejudiced his defense, defendant was not entitled to federal habeas relief on the grounds of ineffective assistance of counsel. DeCastro v. Branker, No. 10-5. RecordFax No. 11-0603-60.

Constitutional Law, Legislative motive: Where the statute at issue was facially constitutional, evidence relating to the legislative motive behind the statute was inadmissible to prove a First Amendment violation. Kensington Volunteer Fire Department v. Montgomery County, Civil No. JFM–11–273. RecordFax No. 11-0531-40.