Eviction Moratoriums: Blurring the Lines Between Holdover Tenants and Squatters

*Alina Pargamanik

I. Introduction

Recent eviction moratoriums on the federal and state level have changed the landscape of landlord-tenant law, blurring the line between holdover tenants and squatters.[1] Existing state laws distinguishing between holdover tenants and squatters may influence the application of eviction moratoriums and relief available to renters and landlords alike. By addressing the distinctions between holdover tenants and squatters, states can prevent costly implications for landlords and tenants that arise as a result of these ambiguities in the law.

II. Federal Eviction Law in the Face of COVID-19

A. Eviction Moratorium

On August 3, 2021, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr. Rochelle Walensky, issued a limited order (Order) extending the CDC’s June 2021 eviction moratorium until October 3, 2021, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and rising Delta-variant cases.[2] The moratorium applied to areas experiencing “substantial and high levels of community transmission” and to two kinds of evictions: (1) failure to pay rent and (2) failure to pay late fees.[3]

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Action Needed at the Federal Level to Enable Marijuana-Related Businesses to Operate Legally, Safely, and Profitably

*Joseph Canner

I. Introduction

On November 6, 2012, voters in Washington and Colorado approved ballot initiatives aimed at legalizing marijuana, becoming the first states in the U.S. to do so.[1] What was at first a trickle has become a flood: as of mid-2021, medical marijuana is legal in thirty-six states and recreational marijuana is legal in eighteen states.[2] However, marijuana growing, distribution, sale, and possession remain completely illegal in three states and under federal law.[3] Differences between state and federal laws cause significant hardships for marijuana-related businesses (“MRBs”), particularly growers.

II. Hardships Imposed by Enforcement of Federal Law

The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) applies to the possession and distribution of marijuana on federal property, as well as to the transportation of marijuana across state lines or from other countries.[4] Notably, the CSA applies not only to marijuana plants and dried leaves, but also to seeds, which are key to starting and maintaining a marijuana-growing enterprise.[5] This results in a conundrum sometimes referred to as the “immaculate conception,” whereby growers in a state where marijuana is newly legal must violate federal law to obtain the seeds from a state or country where marijuana is already legal.[6]

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Addressing Racial Disparities in Maryland’s Juvenile Justice System: What the Juvenile Restoration Act Could Mean for Maryland’s Black Youth Tried as Adults

*Rebecca Odelius

I. Introduction

The United States is the only country that allows convicted criminals to serve a life sentence without parole for crimes they committed under the age of eighteen.[1] Over the last sixteen years, several Supreme Court decisions have placed limits on when and how individuals convicted under the age of eighteen can be sentenced to life without parole.[2] On the state level, twenty-five states and the District of Columbia no longer allow life sentences without parole for individuals who committed crimes while younger than eighteen.[3] Those states now include Maryland with the recent passing of the Juvenile Restoration Act, which took effect October 1, 2021.[4]

The Juvenile Restoration Act is one of five bills that made up a police reform package of legislation presented to Governor Hogan in April 2021.[5] Though the governor vetoed three of the bills presented, including the Juvenile Restoration Act, and left two others unsigned, the Maryland General Assembly quickly overrode the vetoes.[6]

Continue reading “Addressing Racial Disparities in Maryland’s Juvenile Justice System: What the Juvenile Restoration Act Could Mean for Maryland’s Black Youth Tried as Adults”

The Future of Climate Change Liability: A Jurisdictional Battle

*Sarah Steinberg

I. Introduction

On July 20, 2018, the City of Baltimore filed a lawsuit in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City against twenty-six fossil fuel companies (collectively, the “defendants”).[1] The City contends that these energy companies should pay the costs associated with climate change in Baltimore.[2] The City alleged that the oil companies engaged in fraud, deception, denial, and disinformation, causing irreparable damage to Baltimore.[3]

II. The Jurisdictional Battle

Immediately after the filing of the complaint, two of the defendants moved for removal to federal court, commencing an aggressive jurisdictional battle between the parties.[4] The oil companies’ liability may hinge on whether a federal or state court hears the case. The defendants are fighting for a federal court since federal law treats common law nuisance more favorably than state law.[5] In American Electric Power v. Connecticut, the Supreme Court held the Clean Air Act, as well as Environmental Protection Agency action, authorized by the Clean Air Act displaces federal common law public nuisance claims against carbon-dioxide emitters.[6] This holding illustrates that the Clean Air Act provides a means to seek limits on companies’ emissions which would be the same relief the plaintiffs are seeking by invoking federal common law.[7] Precedent dictates that judges cannot set limits on greenhouse gas emissions in place of the Clean Air Act which permits the Environmental Protection Agency to set the same limits.[8] Therefore, if the City’s case is removed to federal court, then the case will likely be dismissed.[9] If the matter progresses in federal court and defendants lose, then the defendants could access the conservative-leaning United States Supreme Court, where they would face a favorable bench.[10] In contrast, the City assumes state court would prove a friendlier venue since Maryland elected judges would hear the matter.[11]

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The Legality and Ethics of Court-Ordered Defendant Vaccination

*Samantha Laulis

I. Introduction

As the COVID-19 pandemic persists, concern regarding vaccination rates continues increasing.[1] The Delta variant has raised additional concerns about community spread and underscored the importance of vaccination.[2] As a result, many employers, universities, and private businesses now mandate vaccines for in-person return.[3] However, the vaccine mandates continue to generate considerable debate and litigation.[4]

Continuing the trend in vaccine mandates, a handful of judges have issued orders requiring criminal defendants to be vaccinated as a condition of their release.[5] Judges issuing such orders include Judge Jed Rakoff of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and two state judges in Ohio.[6] While these orders appear superficially similar to vaccine mandates for students or employees, these orders potentially elevate the goal of public safety at the expense of the rights of an already vulnerable group.[7]

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