On Wednesday, October 7, a panel of judges from the Maryland Court of Special Appeals will hear oral arguments in Maryland Carey Law’s Ceremonial Moot Court Room. The panel will include Judge Deborah Eyler, Judge Dan Friedman, and Judge Douglas Nazarian. Members of the Carey Law community are encouraged to attend.
Arguments will begin at 9:30 a.m. and are open to the public, but a photo ID will be required for entry. There will be four cases argued, at approximately 45-minute intervals. There will be a brief Q & A session with the panel following arguments (but not about the pending cases).
No back packs, cameras, recording devices, weapons, or computers will be allowed in the court room. Phones are permitted, but must be turned off in the courtroom. Attorneys may bring briefcases and computers.
Cases to be heard:
Mark Steven Anderson v. State of Maryland (September Term, 2014, No. 2485) - Mark Steven Anderson appeals his conviction on charges of second-degree assault, carrying a weapon openly with the intent to injure, and violating a protective order.
The facts: On March 18, 2014, maintenance workers at a Baltimore County apartment complex heard a man and woman screaming from inside one of the apartments. They approached the apartment and audio recorded a brutal beating. The police responded, but when they entered the apartment the defendant was gone. He had jumped out of the apartment balcony, but was later arrested. At trial, admitted evidence included the graphic recording, photos of the victim’s injuries, and the belt that was allegedly used by defendant to hit the victim. However, she testified that she did not recognize the male voice on the recording, that she didn’t remember how she got the injuries portrayed in photographs or the police coming to her apartment, etc. The prosecutor attempted to impeach her to show that she was feigning a lack of memory.
Issues on appeal: Did the trial court err in allowing the prosecutor to conduct a cross examination that included assertions of fact not in evidence? The State concedes this was an error, but argues it was harmless error. Appellant also argues that there was insufficient evidence to convict him for carrying a weapon openly with intent to injure. The State argues that this issue was not preserved for appeal, but if preserved, the evidence was sufficient to convict.
Marie Carter v. Housing Authority of Baltimore City (September Term, 2014, No. 01565) - In this lead paint poisoning case, Appellant, Marie Carter, appeals the lower court’s decision granting summary judgment in favor of the City.
The facts: As a young child, Marie Carter lived in a property owned by the Housing Authority of Baltimore City (City). While living there, tests revealed she had elevated lead levels in her blood, and thus she sued the City for negligence. At trial, a pediatrician with 30 years of experience diagnosing and treating lead-poisoned children testified that the City-owned home was the source of Carter’s lead exposure. A jury verdict in favor of Carter was appealed, and the Court of Special Appeals reversed, finding: 1) Carter’s expert was not qualified to offer that opinion; and 2) it was the circuit court’s role on remand to determine the admissibility of a lead-test report prepared by Martel, Inc. The Martel report indicated that there was lead paint on the exterior of the house but not the interior. On remand, the City filed a motion for summary judgment arguing that the expert’s opinion –supplemented by a 17-page affidavit—was inadmissible and that Carter could not prove causation because the Martel report indicated that there was no lead paint inside the house. The motion was granted.
Issues on appeal: Whether the trial court erred in deciding that Carter’s expert was not qualified to testify as to the source of the poisoning and that he did not have sufficient facts to support his opinion. Carter also argues that the Martel report was not admissible, but if it was, it should have been considered in light most favorable to Carter as the non-moving party. Finally, Carter contends that she proffered sufficient circumstantial evidence to defeat a summary judgment motion. The City argues that the Court of Special Appeals’ previous decision holding that Carter’s expert was not qualified to render an opinion about the source of the poisoning should not be disturbed and that the lower court properly considered the Martel report to conclude that Carter failed to generate sufficient facts to prove causation.
Ryan C. Hewett v. Angela M. Dinatale-Hewett (September Term, 2014, No. 02604) - Mr. Hewett appeals the circuit court’s decision granting his ex-wife indefinite alimony, a monetary award, and sole custody of the couple’s children.
The Facts: This couple’s troubled ten-year marriage involved infidelity, drug addiction and overall bad behavior by both parties. The couple ultimately separated. The lower court found that Mr. and Mrs. Hewett, while separated, did not demonstrate a record of successful communication regarding the children and that Mr. Hewett verbally abused Mrs. Hewett and the children. Mr. Hewett was the family’s primary breadwinner, while Mrs. Hewett had a part-time business that earned very little. The marital home and six vehicles were all titled to Mr. Hewett. He also had a 401K through his job. The lower court awarded Mrs. Hewett alimony of $2,000 a month indefinitely, a monetary award of $13,500, and sole legal custody of the children.
Issues on appeal: Whether the trial court erred in determining the amount and duration of the alimony award under Md. Family Law §§ 11-106, 11-107, whether it properly valued the marital property, and whether it erred in awarding sole legal custody of the children to Mrs. Hewett.
Baltimore County, Maryland v. Daniel and Vienna Dietrich (September Term, 2014, No. 01297) - This is an administrative appeal arising out of the County’s enforcement of its zoning regulations.
The Facts- The Dietrichs built a garage and an addition to their home on rolling, difficult-to-survey farmland in Baltimore County. The County cited them for exceeding the Baltimore County Zoning Regulation set-back requirements. The back-story includes significant animosity between the Dietrichs and their neighbors. Following a hearing on the citations, an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) determined that the structures violated the applicable regulations and ordered the Dietrichs to “seek a variance to except them from the violation or ‘restore the property to the extent possible to its condition before the violation, including removal of the source of the violations.’” Appellant’s Brief at 1. The Dietrichs petitioned for judicial review at the circuit court, which affirmed the ALJ’s findings of fact and conclusions of law, except that it reversed and remanded on the issue of the appropriate remedy, holding that the ALJ’s remedy was arbitrary and capricious because it was “not reasonable or proportionate to the nature and extent of the violations.” Id. at 2.
Issue on Appeal- Whether the circuit court correctly held that the ALJ’s sanction was reasonable, specifically, whether the ALJ’s sanction in effect requires the Dietrichs to demolish the garage and addition to comply with the zoning law.