Issues to Watch

The Rise of Cryptocurrency: What Is It and How Should It Be Regulated? By Christina Martin


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The Rise of Cryptocurrency: What Is It and How Should It Be Regulated?

By Christina Martin*

        Within the past six months, the price of one Bitcoin has risen 174%, and other cryptocurrencies are experiencing similar increases.  Andrew Hallam, Bitcoin Gains 174 Percent in Just Six Months: Should It Be Part of Your Portfolio?, Assetbuilder (June 21, 2017), https://assetbuilder.com/knowledge-center/articles/bitcoin-gains-174-percent-in-just-six-months-should-it-be-part-of-your-portfolio.  Until recently, cryptocurrencies have had a reputation as mainly being used for illegal activity on the dark web.  See Omri Marian, A Conceptual Framework for the Regulation of Cryptocurrencies, 82 U. Chi. L. Rev. 53, 56–57 (2015).  Today, everyone from investors to legislators have begun to take note as cryptocurrencies gain popularity throughout the United States and across the world.  See id; see also Hallam, supra.

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Case Notes

Highest Case Note from Write-On 2017, discussing Gupta v. State, 156 A.3d 785 (Md. 2017).


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Meegan Jayne Smith[1]

The Maryland Court of Appeals affirmed the holding of the Court of Special Appeals, finding the Circuit Court for Montgomery County violated Rule 4–326(d)(2), but that the error was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt.  Additionally, the Court of Appeals held the court did not err in denying Petitioner’s motion to suppress the statements he made during his interrogation.  Gupta v. State, 156 A.3d 785 (Md. 2017).

I. Introduction

The instant case of Gupta v. State involved two major issues.  First, the trial judge’s ex parte communication with a juror that violated Maryland Rule 4–326(d)(2).[2]  In Gupta, the Maryland Court of Appeals found the communication between the judge and a juror about the juror’s impending conflict pertained to the action and the judge erred in not consulting the parties.[3] However, the Court also found the error was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt.[4]  This was the first time in Maryland that a violation of Rule 4–326(d)(2) was deemed harmless.[5]  The Court has created a difficult dynamic between ex parte communications and the strict nature of the governing rules.

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Issues to Watch

Facial Recognition Technology: First and Fourth Amendment Implications


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Facial Recognition Technology: First and Fourth Amendment Implications

Ashley Triplett*

On October 18, 2016, the Georgetown Law Center on Privacy & Technology released a report regarding the use of facial recognition technology in law enforcement agencies throughout the country.  Clare Garvie et al., The Perpetual Line-Up: Unregulated Police Face Recognition in America 1 (2016), https://www.perpetuallineup.org/sites/default/files/2016-12/The%20Perpetual%20Line-Up%20-%20Center%20on%20Privacy%20and%20Technology%20at%20Georgetown%20Law%20-%20121616.pdf.  According to the report, over 117 million American adults are subject to face scanning programs with their picture in a law enforcement database.  Id.  The report highlights the risks of such programs and calls for legislative oversight at the state and federal level.  See id. at 1–6.

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Issues to Watch

Should a Bright-Line Rule Control Taser Deployment?


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Should a Bright-Line Rule Control Taser Deployment?

Janet Franklin*

The Fourth Circuit’s recent decision in Armstrong v. Village of Pinehurst, 810 F.3d 892 (4th Cir. 2016), cert. denied, 2016 WL 2839881 (S. Ct. Oct. 3, 2016), which established a bright-line rule in regards to taser deployment by law enforcement officers, effectively limits the scope of the “reasonable officer” standard for evaluating excessive force.

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Issues to Watch

Could Harsher Penalties Deter Prosecutors from Tampering with Exculpatory Evidence?


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Could Harsher Penalties Deter Prosecutors from Tampering with Exculpatory Evidence?

Richard Byrne III*

Any practicing attorney, law student, or layperson knows that tampering with evidence is one of the worst misdeeds an attorney can commit. Not only does the tampering of evidence often result in otherwise incorrect rulings, it completely undermines the judicial system’s primary function of dispensing justice. This rings especially true in criminal cases where the ultimate result of evidence tampering may cost defendants precious years of their lives, if not life itself. Despite such injustice, overzealous prosecutors seeking an easy trial or a high conviction rate might feel inclined to conceal, tamper with, or even destroy evidence that could quite possibly exonerate a defendant.

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