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Law digest – 7/30/12

Daily Record Staff//July 29, 2012

Law digest – 7/30/12

By Daily Record Staff

//July 29, 2012


Criminal Procedure, Illegal sentence: Defendant’s conviction and sentence for assault with intent to murder were illegal because that crime was not contained in the indictment returned by the grand jury. Johnson v. State, No. 84, September Term, 2011. RecordFax No. 12-0710-21, 26 pages.

Professional Responsibility, Disbarment: Disbarment was the appropriate sanction for an attorney who engaged in a pattern of misconduct that included the abandonment of paying and pro bono clients and denying to bar counsel that she represented one of the pro bono clients, as that conduct was dishonest and prejudicial to the administration of justice. Attorney Grievance Commission of Maryland v. Dominguez, Misc. Docket AG No. 47, September Term, 2011. RecordFax No. 12-0703-20, 21 pages.

Professional Responsibility, Disbarment: Disbarment was the appropriate sanction where attorney had previously been disbarred and, after reinstatement, engaged in intentionally dishonest conduct. Attorney Grievance Commission of Maryland v. London, No. 12, September Term, 2011. RecordFax No. 12-0710-20, 28 pages.


Criminal Law, Single larceny doctrine: The evidence was sufficient to support defendant’s convictions for robbery, second-degree assault, and obtaining property by use of a stolen credit card; however, pursuant to the “single larceny” doctrine, defendant should have incurred only one conviction for theft and one conviction for obtaining property by use of a stolen credit card. Montgomery v. State, No. 1063, September Term, 2011. RecordFax No. 12-0702-00, 58 pages.


Constitutional Law, Compelled non-commercial speech: City ordinance requiring limited-service pregnancy centers to post signs disclaiming that they did not provide or make referral for abortion or birth control services violated pregnancy center’s right to free speech, because ordinance was content-based restriction compelling non-commercial speech and was not narrowly tailored to serve compelling government interest, and therefore did not satisfy applicable strict scrutiny standard. Greater Baltimore Center for Pregnancy Concerns, Incorporated v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore, No. 11-1111. RecordFax No. 12-0627-60, 79 pages.

Criminal Procedure, Effective assistance of counsel: A death-row inmate failed to show ineffective assistance of counsel based on his trial lawyer’s decision to let him make an inculpatory statement to police without any promise of reduced sentence, because it was a reasonable litigation strategy to attempt to avoid the death penalty by demonstrating the defendant’s genuine remorse and willingness to help police, and because the outcome of the guilt phase would have been no different had the defendant not made the statement to police. U.S. v. Fulks, No. 11-3. RecordFax No. 12-0626-61, 22 pages.

Criminal Procedure, Habeas corpus: Death-row inmate’s state-court attorneys were ineffective for failing to argue during sentencing that petitioner was mentally retarded and hence ineligible under Virginia law for death penalty, and, given that the state court did not adjudicate defendant’s habeas corpus claims on the merits, that court’s decision was not entitled to substantial deference under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act. Winston v. Pearson, No. 11-4. RecordFax No. 12-0625-60, 29 pages.

Criminal Procedure, Predicate offense for enhanced sentence: For purposes of statute imposing mandatory sentence for person with certain predicate convictions, defendant’s prior conviction under Virginia law for “Production, Publication, Sale, or Possession, etc. of Obscene Items Involving Children” constituted conviction “related to either sexual abuse or abusive sexual conduct involving a minor” and therefore triggered mandatory statutory sentence. U.S. v. Colson, No. 11-4709. (filed June 25, 2012) RecordFax No. 12-0625-61, 9 pages.

Tax Law, Willful blindness: In defendants’ trial for tax evasion crimes, court’s provision of willful blindness instruction was not abuse of discretion because defendants denied knowledge of wrongdoing and evidence supported inference of deliberate ignorance on part of defendants, and content of instruction was proper as it plainly conveyed government’s burden to prove beyond reasonable doubt conduct that transcended recklessness and negligence. U.S. v. Jinwright, No. 10-5289. RecordFax No. 12-0622-60, 28 pages.

Zoning, Parol evidence: The parol evidence rule barred evidence of an alleged oral agreement between the county and an automobile salvage business, in which the county allegedly agreed to refrain from enforcing a written zoning consent order if certain conditions were met, because that evidence would directly contradict the plain and unamibuous language of the zoning consent order and the business did not show that the consent order was the product of fraud, duress, or mutual mistake. Huggins v. Prince George’s County, No. 10-2366. RecordFax No. 12-0627-61, 22 pages.


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