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Court Report

Having drugs versus possessing them

Determining whether an individual is in possession of narcotics is sometimes not as easy as it seems, particularly when the controlled substances are not found on the individual charged with possession.  Just how tricky this can be when drugs are just found where someone lives is illustrated by a divided 4-3 decision from Maryland’s highest Court last month in a case called State v. Hector Gutierrez.

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Consent A Go Go - where did it go?

It is rare that lawyers get to read an appellate Court opinion that in its first paragraph says: “In musical terms, this case, at first glance, may look like the Miracles’ 1965 hit ‘Going to a Go Go’ meets 1984’s ‘Footloose.’ ” Such is the case with an opinion filed last week in a Maryland Court of Special Appeals’ opinion called Sutasinee Thana v. Board of License Commissioners.

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Watch where the airport big trucks go

All of us who use the busy airports are aware of various types of commercial vehicles that provide transportation to and from the airport.  Though it may appear sometimes that those vehicles come and go as they please, they are subject to regulation and police enforcement just like private vehicles.  This is illustrated by a case this week from Maryland’s highest Court called State of Maryland v. Vadim Roshchin.

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Student athletes and the concussion issue

For some time now there has been a lot of publicity and discussion about sports concussions and their effects, starting some years ago with the National Football League as dramatized in the new movie “Concussion.” This includes an article in this week’s Washington Post Sports pages about parents who sued to allow their allegedly concussed son to play in a high school football game. The State of Maryland enacted its own law in 2009 to address this issue, and Montgomery County and the other counties have addressed this issue as well.

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Controversy generated by police testimony

 

scales of justiceThe reputation of police officers in many parts of the country is currently a matter of some controversy, with a number of reported cases of alleged police shootings that have been questioned or have even led to criminal charges. That being said, Maryland law governs questions that prospective jurors must be asked when a police officer is to testify for the State in a criminal trial. This is illustrated by a recent case from Maryland’s intermediate appellate Court called Jovan Brice v. State.

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Following rules in judicial election

scales of justiceMaryland still provides for the election of Circuit Court judges, who are appointed by the Governor after vetting by Judicial Nominating Commissions and must then stand for election. If an attorney decides to challenge a “sitting judge” in a contested election, this results in political campaigning. Since lawyers and judges are subject to rules of professional conduct, candidates must be careful not to run afoul of their ethical rules, as illustrated by a case last month from Maryland’s Court of Appeals called Attorney Grievance Commission v. Stanalonis.

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Challenging the Tax Man


scales of justiceThe Maryland Tax Court hears appeals from decisions of State or local tax authorities, including decisions of the Comptroller of Maryland. Once appeals are made to the Circuit Court, they may end up in the Appellate Courts, as illustrated by a recent opinion from Maryland’s Court of Special Appeals called John Zorzit v. Comptroller of Maryland.  

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Using cell tower data to catch criminals

scales of justiceOne of the tools that technology has provided to law enforcement to assist in proving criminal cases is the use of cell tower data. That is, given sufficient information it is possible to determine which cell phone towers communicated with a cell phone within a given time frame, which can help place the alleged perpetrator near the scene of the crime. When and how such evidence can be used was explored by a case last month from Maryland’s intermediate appellate court called Calvin Jerome Hall v. State.

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Don't Bogart that joint account, my friend

 

It is common for one party, such as an older parent, to put another person’s name on their checking account for such purposes as helping them pay their bills. Who actually owns the money in the account, should a creditor attempt to seize those funds, was the subject of a recent case from Maryland’s intermediate appellate court in a case called Morgan Stanley v. Andrews.

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The problems of immigration legislation

scales of justiceThere is much talk in the political arena these days about immigration issues, including claims about alleged criminal activity involving immigrants. Regardless of what those running for high office may say, the Courts are called upon to deal with the legal rights of immigrants who are charged with crimes. This is illustrated by a case earlier this month from Maryland’s intermediate appellate Court called Prado v. State.

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