WHITTINGTON V. STATE

A COURT ORDER TO CONDUCT A SEARCH IS VALID IF THE ORDER COMPLIES WITH FOURTH AMENDMENT REQUIREMENTS AND A SUFFICIENT BASIS FOR PROBABLE CAUSE EXISTS WHEN WITNESSING SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY IF DETECTIVES RELY ON THEIR EXPERIENCE AND OBSERVATIONS.   The Court of Appeals of Maryland held that as a matter of first impression, even if a statutory compliant court order is not labeled as a “warrant,” the order … Continue reading WHITTINGTON V. STATE

HUNT V. STATE

ACTUAL INNOCENCE PETITIONERS MAY BE GRANTED A NEW TRIAL BASED ON NEWLY DISCOVERED EVIDENCE OF AN EXPERT’S FRAUD IF COUNSEL COULD NOT, THROUGH THE EXERCISE OF DUE DILIGENCE, HAVE DISCOVERED THAT EVIDENCE EARLIER. The Court of Appeals of Maryland held that in the context of the Maryland actual innocence statute, due diligence does not require counsel to discover an opposing expert’s fraud if counsel lacked … Continue reading HUNT V. STATE

UNITED BANK V. BUCKINGHAM

A CHANGE IN BENEFICIARY ON A LIFE INSURANCE POLICY IS A TYPE OF CONVEYANCE AND MARYLAND LAW DOES NOT AUTHORIZE GUARDIANS OF THE PROPERTY TO MAKE A CHANGE IN BENEFICIARY WITHOUT A COURT’S PERMISSION. The Court of Appeals of Maryland held that a change in beneficiary designation is a conveyance under the Maryland Uniform Fraudulent Conveyance Act (“MUFCA”).  United Bank v. Buckingham, 472 Md. 407, … Continue reading UNITED BANK V. BUCKINGHAM

STATE V. ELZEY

IN THE EVENT A DEFENDANT RAISES BATTERED SPOUSE SYNDROME TO SUPPORT A SELF-DEFENSE CLAIM, A COURT MAY NOT EMPHASIZE CERTAIN EVIDENCE OF ABUSE BY INSTRUCTING THE JURY TO MAKE A FINDING OF ABUSE BY THE DECEDENT BEFORE CONSIDERING OTHER EVIDENCE OF PAST ABUSE. The Court of Appeals of Maryland held that, in the event a defendant raises the issue of Battered Spouse Syndrome (“BSS”), a court … Continue reading STATE V. ELZEY

BEL AIR CARPET, INC. V. KOREY HOMES BLDG. GRP., LLC

MARYLAND LAW DOES NOT RECOGNIZE THAT A HOMEOWNER’S LENDER HAS A DUTY TO ENSURE PAYMENT TO A SUBCONTRACTOR IN THE ABSENCE OF PRIVITY OF CONTRACT OR AN INTIMATE NEXUS. The Court of Special Appeals of Maryland held that, in an action for negligence, a homeowner’s lender does not have a duty to ensure that a general contractor pays a subcontractor when there is no privity … Continue reading BEL AIR CARPET, INC. V. KOREY HOMES BLDG. GRP., LLC

UTHUS V. VALLEY MILL CAMP, INC.

ABSENT AN AGREEMENT INDICATING TENANCY, AN OCCUPANT OF REAL PROPERTY IS A LICENSEE AGAINST WHOM THE LANDOWNER MAY BRING A TRESPASS ACTION. The Court of Appeals of Maryland held that an agreement permitting an employee to occupy an apartment on his employer’s land created a license and not a tenancy because no rental payments were made, and the employee did not have exclusive possession.  Uthus … Continue reading UTHUS V. VALLEY MILL CAMP, INC.

TRAVELOCITY.COM LP V. COMPTROLLER OF MARYLAND

AS TRAVEL PRACTICES EVOLVED, THE MARYLAND GENERAL ASSEMBLY’S 2015 AMENDMENT OF THE TAX CODE REDEFINED THE DEFINITION OF A VENDOR TO INCLUDE ACCOMMODATIONS INTERMEDIARY. The Court of Appeals of Maryland held that facilitating hotel room and rental car reservations did not meet the statutory definition of “vendors” who “sold” or “delivered tangible personal property” for sales and use tax purposes.   Travelocity.com LP v. Comptroller of … Continue reading TRAVELOCITY.COM LP V. COMPTROLLER OF MARYLAND

Maryland Lawmakers Create a New Cause of Action to Keep Susceptible and Older Adults ‘SAFE’ from Financial Exploitation

The Maryland SAFE Act, or the Maryland Statute Against Financial Exploitation Act (the “Act”) went into effect October 1, 2021.[1]  Under the Act, susceptible adults and older adults in Maryland can seek remedies for financial exploitation in civil court.[2] Secondly, the Act amended the language in the Estates and Trusts Article by replacing “vulnerable adults” with “susceptible and older adults.”[3] A “susceptible adult” is one that is “unable to perform, without prompting or assistance, one or more activities of daily living, is unable to protect the adult’s rights, or has diminished executive functioning, due to: 1) advanced age; 2) mental emotional, sensory, or physical disability or disease; 3) impaired mobility; 4) habitual drunkenness; 5) addiction to drugs; or 6) hospitalization.”[4] An “older adult” is defined as an individual who is 68 years old or above.[5]

The Act allows several parties to bring forth an action on behalf of the susceptible or older adult, including: anyone with the authority to make healthcare decisions for the susceptible or older adult, an attorney in fact, guardian, trustee, presumptive heir, spouse, parent, descendent, or a personal representative of a deceased susceptible or older adult’s estate.[6] Certain governmental agencies such as the Division of Consumer Protection in the Office of the Attorney General and the Securities Commissioner of the Division of Securities in the Office of the Attorney General are authorized to bring forth a civil action on behalf of the susceptible or older adult.[7]

Certain components of the Act make it clear that Maryland lawmakers intended it to have a deterrent effect on those who seek to financially exploit susceptible or elderly Marylanders.[8] First, the Act permits courts to reward plaintiffs up to three times the compensatory damages incurred as a result of the financial exploitation.[9] Second, a plaintiff may still file a civil suit under the Act even if a defendant has been charged and found guilty of a financial crime against a vulnerable adult under the criminal article.[10] Lastly, liability for violating the Act does not only exist during the lifetime of the financially exploited adult because remedies available under the Act survive the death of the susceptible or older adult.[11]

Prior to the enactment of the Act, the only avenue for legal redress available to victims of adult financial exploitation was through Maryland’s criminal statute.[12] Although the threat of criminal prosecution for financial exploitation of vulnerable adults is a deterrent, holding individuals financially responsible allows victims to recover property that was wrongfully taken from them. Furthermore, allowing other parties to bring suit on behalf of the susceptible or older adult further ensures that justice is served even when the financially exploited individual may not have the capacity to do so on their own. Overall, the enactment of the Act will likely decrease the likelihood that vulnerable and older adults become victims of financial exploitation in the first place.


Mimi Ezzaki Headshot

Lamyaa “Mimi” Ezzaki is a third-year day student at the University of Baltimore School of Law and is an Associate Editor for Law Forum. Mimi received a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Before attending law school, Mimi worked as a paralegal at McAllister, DeTar, Showalter & Walker LLC and was a volunteer mediator. While in law school, Mimi has served as an Honor Board member and as a teaching assistant for Professor Colin Starger’s Introduction to Lawyering Skills course. During her second year, Mimi interned with Judge Brynja M. Booth on the Court of Appeals of Maryland. Mimi is looking forward to her involvement next semester as a Rule-19 attorney in UB’s Criminal Practice Clinic and to her future career in litigation. 

Continue reading “Maryland Lawmakers Create a New Cause of Action to Keep Susceptible and Older Adults ‘SAFE’ from Financial Exploitation”

Compensation for Exonerees, but is an Apology Enough? 

For decades, exonerees had to fight to have the chance at being compensated after being released for a crime they didn’t commit. Prior to the Act, the Board of Public Works exonerated a mere ten people in 2019.[1] Of those who were exonerated, there was no set compensation requirement, or a time frame in which the money must be received.[2] In theory, the Walter Lomax Act establishes a clear process for Maryland exonerees to receive compensation, as long as they prove their innocence.[3]  An Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) will rule on the merits of the case and the Act will provide a formula to determine how much money a person should get.[4] The Act also establishes a timeline for payments and allow for additional compensation in certain circumstances.[5]

As long as prosecutors are unable to win a new conviction at a retrial, assuming they would want to re-try the case, any wrongfully convicted person is eligible for compensation under the Walter Lomax Act.[6] The Act will allow exonerees to rebuild their lives and afford a chance after wrongfully being convicted. The Act also gives generous authority to the presiding Administrative Law Judge who can provide up to five years of health insurance, housing assistance, and help with education.[7] However, granting ALJ’s such broad power in determining whether exonerees should receive compensation, could create an innate bias within the system based on the crimes exonerees had been wrongfully convicted for.

The Act is named after Walter Lomax, a man who spent fifty-one years in prison for a string of robberies that he did not commit. He has since been exonerated.[8] Mr. Lomax was originally convicted in 1968 for the fatal shooting of a food market employee.[9] In 2006, his sentence was commuted, but he was not compensated by the State until 2019, fifty-one years after being wrongfully convicted.[10] Senator Kelly and Delegate Damais lead the movement in both Mr. Lomax’s case as well as millions of others.[11]

However, the work has just begun. Although the Act provides a clear path to compensation for exonerees, it is up to the courts to implement the system. As of 2021, an estimated fifteen people who have not received compensation would qualify under the legislation, and there are many more to come.[12]


Taylor Miller Headshot

Taylor Miller is a third-year student at the University of Baltimore School of Law and an Associate Editor for Law Forum. Ms. Miller received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Law and Society, as well as minors in Forensic Science and Legal Writing. Ms. Miller is a native-Baltimorean and is currently working at the criminal defense firm, Bates & Garcia. Upon graduation, Ms. Miller plans to continue working in the criminal defense field. 

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From Deficient to Sufficient: A Recent Board of Immigration Appeals Decision Substantially Limits Noncitizens’ Availability to Relief

The Board of Immigration Appeals’ (“BIA”) recent decision in the Matter of Arambula-Bravo set precedent to change how Maryland immigration attorneys approach motions to reopen and terminate, substantially limiting relief available to non-citizens.[1]  Prior to the BIA’s recent decision in the Matter of Arambula-Bravo, precedent provided Maryland immigration attorneys with the opportunity to reopen and/or terminate proceedings based on a Notice to Appear (“NTA”) that failed to specify a date and time for the non-citizen’s immigration proceedings on the original charging document.[2]

Immigration proceedings against a non-citizen are initiated through the issuance of a “Notice to Appear” (“NTA”).[3]  An NTA serves as a charging document in immigration law, which lists the charges brought against the non-citizen.[4]  However, only a sufficient NTA will initiate proceedings.[5]  Amongst other requirements, a sufficient NTA must provide the noncitizen with a date and time for which the non-citizen must appear in immigration court.[6]  Such requirements are necessary in order for the immigration judge to have jurisdiction over immigration proceedings in the first place.[7]  Thus, if an NTA is deficient (lacking one or more of the requirements under 8 U.S.C. § 1229(a)), immigration proceedings were never properly initiated, meaning there was no jurisdiction for the immigration judge to make a decision.[8]  Consequently, a removal order arising out of a deficient NTA can be appealed through a motion to reopen and terminate for lack of service.[9]

Prior to the decision in the Matter of Arambula-Bravo, precedent established that to be sufficient, the initial NTA had to include the date and time for the non-citizen to appear in immigration court.[10]  This allowed Maryland immigration attorneys to file motions to reopen or terminate proceedings based on lack of service for their client’s that had been served with an initial deficient NTA lacking the date and time.[11]  Through this mechanism, non-citizens had a much better chance at appealing their removal orders.

However, this most recent BIA decision established that the initial NTA does not have to provide the date and time for the notice to be a sufficient charging document.[12] Thus, even if the initial NTA is served to the non-citizen without a specified date and time, the NTA is still sufficient and establishes jurisdiction for immigration proceedings.[13]  The BIA established that the initial NTA could be supplemented with a subsequent notice that provides a date and time for immigration proceedings, which allowed proceedings to be initiated upon the initial NTA.[14]

This change of law may potentially derail thousands of non-citizens’ chances of reopening and terminating their proceedings, because the decision substantially limits options for Maryland immigration attorneys to pursue relief.  Motions may no longer be based on lack of jurisdiction and lack of service under this change of law.  Maryland immigration judges should carefully consider the ramifications of this recent decision.  If the state strictly follows this decision, it will deprive millions of non-citizens from pursuing relief they would otherwise be eligible for.


Mary Prunty Headshot

Mary Prunty is a third-year law student at the University of Baltimore School of Law. She graduated from West Virginia University with a B.S. in English. Before coming to law school, Mary graduated from Salisbury University with a Masters of Arts in teaching for Secondary Education English. Since then, Mary has been an active member in the UB law community, serving as an Associate Editor for Law Forum,  Communications Director for UB’s Students Supporting the Women’s Law Forum, and Teaching Assistant for Introduction to Legal Writing Skills for first-year students. Mary participated in UB’s Immigration Rights Clinic in fall 2021. The past two summers, Mary worked as a law clerk for Frame & Frame, L.L.C. Currently, she works as a law clerk for the Law Offices of Raymond O. Griffith. Mary will graduate in May 2022.

Continue reading “From Deficient to Sufficient: A Recent Board of Immigration Appeals Decision Substantially Limits Noncitizens’ Availability to Relief”