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Court Report

Beware of your property easements

gavel2As Maryland’s Court of Special Appeals said in its opinion last week in the case of  McClure v. Montgomery County Planning Board of MNCPCC, “few cases inflame such deep passions as a dispute involving individual property rights.”  This is particularly true when a person’s home is involved. This case illustrates the importance, when buying property, of the buyer making sure he is aware of any recorded rights someone else may have over the land.

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Hospital not liable for not admitting

gavel2Maryland’s law on involuntarily admitting mentally disturbed persons to inpatient care was explored last week by the Court of Appeals, finally resolving the appeals in a case called Gineene Williams v. Peninsula Regional Medical Center. The Court upheld the decision of the intermediate appellate court, that the hospital was not liable for the tragic events that followed a decision not to admit a patient.

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Long time identifying evidence

gavel2DNA evidence has become a powerful tool to determine whether persons convicted of crimes may have been wrongfully convicted. One problem with looking for such evidence is that the State may not have retained evidence for convictions that occurred long ago.  How the Courts handle this problem is illustrated by an opinion last week from Maryland’s highest Court called Steven Johnson v. State.

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Suing for witholding evidence

gavel2There have been a number of cases since the advent of DNA testing  where, often times many years later, a person who has been wrongfully convicted has had his conviction overturned when evidence is later tested. Whether the wrongfully convicted person can obtain damages from the government officials who participated in the prosecution was explored by a three judge panel of the federal Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in an opinion last month in the case of James Owens v. Baltimore City State’s Attorneys’ office.

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Statements regarding child abuse

gavel2Proving child sexual abuse cases are a particular challenge for the prosecution, primarily because the State has to often rely on the testimony of alleged child victims who may be testifying to events that occurred many years earlier.  How the State may go about bolstering the testimony of the victim is illustrated in a recent case from Maryland’s intermediate appellate court called Robert Mitchell Acker v. State.

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