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Administrative law — Conditional release from DHMH — Substantial evidence

Appellant, Neal Manning, applied for conditional release from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene under Section 114(c) of the Criminal Procedure Article of the Maryland Code. See Md. Code Ann., Crim. Proc. §§ 3-114 et. seq. Following an administrative hearing, an administrative law judge (“ALJ”) recommended Mr. Manning’s release subject to numerous conditions, and the Office of the State’s Attorney for Anne Arundel County (the “State’s Attorney”) filed exceptions. The Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County, after conducting a hearing on those exceptions, denied Mr. Manning’s request for conditional release. Mr. Manning applied for leave to appeal, which the State asked this Court to grant in its response. We granted the application for leave to appeal, but ordered briefing on the following questions, rephrased as follows:

1. Where the State declined to participate in the hearing before the ALJ on Mr. Manning’s petition for conditional release, did the State lack standing to file exceptions to the ALJ’s report recommending the granting of that petition?

2. Did the circuit court err when the court concluded that the findings and the recommendation of the ALJ to grant a conditional release were not supported by substantial evidence?

Read the opinion here: