Case Notes

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…)

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.

(more…)