Author: University of Baltimore Law Review Staff

Issues to Watch

Expert Testimony in Maryland: Frye-Reed or Daubert?


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*Reginald Smallwood

Laws undoubtedly evolve over time.  However, is there ever a point when a law evolves into an entirely new law?  Many states use federal laws as guidance for creating new state laws. Michael Morgenstern, Daubert v. Frye – A State by State Comparison, The Expert Inst. (Apr. 3, 2017), https://www.theexpertinstitute.com/daubert-v-frye-a-state-by-state-comparison. However, if the state law evolves into the federal law, should the state simply adopt the federal law?  This is the current dilemma in Maryland courts regarding the evidentiary rule for evaluating scientific expert testimony.  The state is holding onto the name of its Frye-Reed test, but the test’s application is becoming more like the federal Daubert test. Sissoko v. State, 182 A.3d 874, 892 (Md. Ct. Spec. App. 2018).    (more…)

Issues to Watch

Guns in the Classroom? The Department of Education’s Possible Plan to Arm Teachers


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*Sarah Livingston

The Parkland school shooting in February 2018 caused yet another debate in the media about the Second Amendment and school safety.  Vann R. Newkirk II, Arming Educators Violates the Spirit of the Second Amendment, The Atlantic (Feb. 22, 2018), https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/02/the-absurdity-of-armed-educators/553961/.  Some states have proposed bills to permit concealed handguns in school, while others have enacted programs providing training to teachers on how to use firearms.  Id.  On August 22, 2018, the New York Times reported that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is considering a plan to use federal funding to arm teachers.  Erica L. Green, Education Secretary Considers Using Federal Funds to Arm Schools, N.Y. Times (Aug. 22, 2018), https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/22/us/politics/betsy-devos-guns.html.  This would be the first instance of a federal agency approving the purchase of weapons without a congressional mandate.  Id. (more…)

Issues to Watch

Fentanyl is Injected Back into the News Following Its First Use in Capital Punishment


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*Joseph Stephan

In the midst of botched executions and challenges in acquiring the traditional drugs used for lethal injections, states have been forced to explore alternative methods of execution.  See, e.g., Tracy Connor, Oklahoma Says Gas Will Replace Lethal Injection in Executions, NBC News (Mar. 14, 2018, 5:38 PM), https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/oklahoma-says-gas-will-replace-lethal-injection-executions-n856721.  With lethality and availability concerns looming, Nebraska has turned to fentanyl, the fatal synthetic opioid at the core of America’s opioid crisis.  Mitch Smith, Fentanyl Used to Execute Nebraska Inmate, in a First for U.S., N.Y. Times (Aug. 14, 2018), https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/14/us/carey-dean-moore-nebraska-execution-fentanyl.html.  Carey Dean Moore, who was sentenced to death for killing two taxi drivers in 1979, was executed with a “four-drug cocktail” of diazepam, fentanyl citrate, cisatracurium besylate, and potassium chloride.  Id.  The use of fentanyl in Moore’s execution, a first in the United States, drew fierce resistance from opponents of the death penalty and drug companies alike.  See Joe Duggan, Nebraska is Moving Closer to Its 1st Lethal Injection, but Timing is up to Court, Omaha World-Herald (Apr. 30, 2018), https://www.omaha.com/news/courts/nebraska-is-moving-closer-to-its-st-lethal-injection-but/article_3197ccf0-6820-589d-b1da-dcee0b7be223.html. (more…)

Case Notes

Highest Case Note from Write-On 2018, discussing Sizer v. State, 456 Md. 350, 174 A.3d 326 (2017)


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 Nicholas B. Jordan*

 The Court of Appeals of Maryland affirmed the holding of the Court of Special Appeals, which found that the Circuit Court for Howard County erred by granting Petitioner’s motion to suppress evidence of a handgun and bottle of oxycodone pills discovered by police after conducting an unlawful search. Under the totality of the circumstances, the officers had reasonable suspicion to lawfully investigate the group and seize Petitioner.  Additionally, the Court of Appeals held that even if the stop and search had not been lawful, the evidence would still be admissible under the attenuation doctrine.  Sizer v. State, 456 Md. 350, 174 A.3d 326 (2017). (more…)

Issues to Watch

The Curtilage Cage: Should the Confines of Curtilage Be Expanded to Include A Private Driveway?


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The Curtilage Cage: Should the Confines of Curtilage Be Expanded to Include A Private Driveway?

Tiffany Meekins*

The Fourth Amendment requires that “no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause,
. . . and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” U.S. Const. amend. IV.  The Warrant Requirement of the Fourth Amendment can be satisfied in either of two ways.  See William J. Stuntz, Warrants and Fourth Amendment Remedies, 77 Va. L. Rev. 881, 882 (1991).  The officer can obtain a warrant from a neutral and detached magistrate with a showing of probable cause or by one of the many warrant exceptions.  Id.  Warrantless searches—or those in which an exception does not apply—are viewed as an intrusion on an individual’s reasonable expectation of privacy.  See Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347, 360–61 (1967) (Harlan, J., concurring).  Evidence obtained without the requisite probable cause and warrant or warrant exception should be deemed as “fruit of the poisonous tree” and held inadmissible. Daniel T. Pesciotta, Note, I’m Not Dead Yet: Katz, Jones, and the Fourth Amendment in the 21st Century, 63 Case W. Res. L. Rev. 187, 225 (2012).  In Collins v. Commonwealth, a case currently before the Supreme Court, the Justices will decide the admissibility of a stolen motorcycle which was parked in the Petitioner’s private driveway and used as evidence to convict him.  See 790 S.E.2d 611 (Va. 2016). (more…)