Raccoons are still safe

By: Elizabeth Hays

National security, equal rights, healthcare, and road kill are top priorities for any state government, at least according to Maryland Governor Larry Hogan.[1]  When the headline first appeared – “Hogan vows to fight Maryland ‘road kill’ law” – I pictured a poor little raccoon being hauled away after being hit by some in a Ford Bronco.  If you keep reading, however, you find out that it has absolutely nothing to do with Rocky the raccoon and everything to do with the governor trying to overcome road blocks in his transportation initiatives.[2]

In the 2016 legislative session, House Bill 1013, more affectionately called the ‘Road Kill Law,’ was passed and became law after overriding Governor Hogan’s veto.[3]  The new law created a scoring system for approval of Maryland transportation projects.[4]  According to the Governor, the new mandated scoring system forces the cancellation of 66 out of 73 top transportation projects; yet, Assistant Attorney General David Stamper doesn’t necessarily agree with Governor Hogan’s assertion.[5]  He stated, “the administration can pick a project with a lower score over a project with a higher score if it provides, in writing, a rational basis for the decision.”[6]  If you believe that the legislation is only advisory, Hogan states, then you are ignorant of the facts.[7]

Joining the exhilarating political sparing match, Delegate Brooke Lierman, the freshman Democrat from Baltimore City, who led debate on the bill in the House, said “Gov. Hogan seems to be creating his own fake news. It’s just a score, and that shows to us, the taxpayers, how we’re spending our money in a transparent way.”[8]  Adding to the continued contradiction, Maryland Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn agreed with the governor that the there was no possible way to avoid the cancellations of the projects under this new law.[9]  In a legislative hearing held on November 18, 2016, he stated, “The one-size-fits-all ranking system mandated by this law is wrong for Maryland drivers, wrong for employers relying on needed improvements to local roads and bridges, wrong for tourists and visitors traveling to our state, and wrong for Maryland taxpayers who expect their dollars to be spent in an fair and equitable manner on projects that will improve their daily lives.”[10]

The repeal of the ‘road kill’ law is deemed a top priority by the Hogan administration and will likely produce more and more controversy while the facts continue to be sorted out.  As far as actual road kill law in Maryland is concerned, you still need a salvage permit for removal of animals off roadways.[11]  While it is uncertain what the 2017 legislative session will bring, for now, raccoons are still safe.


Elizabeth Hays is a third-year day student at the University of Baltimore. She serves as a Staff Editor of the UB Law Forum and is Co-president of UBSPI. Her unnamed-3legal interests include, administrative and military law.  She can be reached at elizabeth.hays@ubalt.edu

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Maryland Governor Doubles Down on Victims’ Rights

By: Jared Lerner

Out of the darkness comes some light, as Maryland Governor Larry Hogan provided a small beacon of hope for crime victims with his new Justice for Victims Initiative.  There is still plenty of work to be done for victims’ rights, but at least one person is taking a step in the right direction.  On Thursday, January 12, 2017, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced his Justice for Victims Initiative.[1]  Governor Hogan stated, “Making Maryland safer begins with making sure we have a criminal justice system that holds offenders accountable for the harm they cause, while also supporting victims and the community in the process of healing.”[2]  The Republican governor is no stranger to victims’ rights, as they continue to be a part of his focus while in office.  In the 2016 legislative session, Governor Hogan worked with the Maryland legislature to enact criminal justice reform by way of the Justice Reinvestment Act (“JRA”).[3]  The JRA reformed Maryland’s restitution system; making sure victims are compensated for financial loss from crimes.

The Justice for Victims Initiative includes four proposals: (1) Repeat Sexual Predator Prevention Act of 2017; (2) Protecting Victims of Sex Trafficking Act of 2017; (3) Transitional Housing Assistance Program; and (4) Repeat Drunk Driving Offenders Act of 2017.[4]  The Repeat Sexual Predator Prevention Act, a bipartisan measure, “will allow courts to admit evidence of a defendant’s prior history of sexual assault convictions during prosecutions for subsequent sexual offenses.”[5]  The Protecting Victims of Sex Trafficking Act will expand the definition of sexual abuse to include sex trafficking, including sexual abuse committed by a parent or an individual acting in a supervisory capacity.[6]  The Transitional Housing Assistance Program will direct up to $5 million in funding to provide up to one year of housing assistance for crime victims.[7]  The Repeat Drunk Driving Offenders Act will make drunk driving a felony for repeat offenders with three or more prior conviction.[8]  It would also make drunk driving a felony for a repeat offender who causes death or life-threatening injury.[9]

Governor Hogan calls the Justice for Victims Initiative “common sense legislation that will help protect the most vulnerable among us, improve services for the victims of crimes, and help us reduce and prevent the number of future victims of crime.”[10] 


unnamed-1Jared Lerner is a third-year law student at the University of Baltimore School of Law. He will graduate in May 2017 with a concentration in litigation and advocacy. He is currently working on a research paper that applies tort principles to company data breaches. Throughout law school, Jared gained practical experience in several practice areas, including trusts and estates, alternative dispute resolution, trial and appellate litigation, and administrative law. Most recently, he served as an honors law clerk at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. Prior to law school, he attended the University of Central Florida where he earned a B.A. in May 2014. Jared can be reached at jared.lerner@ubalt.edu.

Maryland Lawyers May Advertise as Specialists

By: Daniel Weir

On October 13, 2016, the Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure of Maryland submitted to the Court of Appeals of Maryland a proposed amendment to Rule 19-307.4(a) to remove the prohibition against an attorney from “holding him or herself out publically as a specialist.”[1]   The debate on whether to allow lawyers in Maryland to assert themselves as “specialists” or obtain certifications reflecting a specialty has gone on for over 40 years.[2]  Maryland held out for many years despite Supreme Court decisions observing that attorney advertisements were First Amendment forms of commercial speech.[3]  At the time of the Committee hearing to change Rule 19, Maryland was only one of two states with an outright prohibition on advertising as a specialist.[4]  Many Maryland attorneys were already holding themselves out as specialists on a strictly word-of-mouth basis.[5]

It would seem that the main control over this new rule is an already existing rule – Rule 19.307.1.   The committee indicated that “[a]ll advertising by attorneys is subject to Rule 19-307.1, which precludes attorneys from making a false or misleading communication about the attorney or the attorney’s services and, in relevant part, declares a communication to be false or misleading if it ‘contains a material misrepresentation of fact or law, or omits a fact necessary to make the statement considered as a whole not materially misleading.’”[6]

On December 13, 2016, the Court of Appeals of Maryland decided to adopt the Committee’s recommendation.[7]  An argument in favor of the change stated that lawyers who have practiced a particular type of law for a long period of time have earned the right to hold themselves out as specialists.[8]  The argument against the change was that young lawyers who are not yet specialists will have a harder time selling their services to clients if they are not yet specialists; the change could force a new attorney to simply pick one type of law and lock in early to gain the specialist title.[9]  This perspective hints at legal factionalism, whereas before, perhaps someone in a firm could primarily practice criminal law and do some immigration law work as needed.  Whether the lift on the prohibition will aid or frustrate the practice of law in Maryland will be observed when the change goes into effect April 1, 2017.[10]  Only time, and the cases opined by the Attorney Grievance Commission, will set the parameters as to how this change will truly take shape.


DweirDaniel Weir is a 3L Student Editor. Daniel has an interest in criminal and mental health law.  Daniel enjoys exploring the mountains of Western Maryland and performing minor automotive repairs and maintenance on domestic vehicles.  You can view is linkedin here.

A foreign limited liability company lacking compliance with state registration requirements may maintain suit after infirmity is cured; the company must also meet the “person aggrieved” requirements of standing.

By: Alicia M. Kuhns

     The Court of Appeals of Maryland held that a foreign limited liability company, though unregistered at the time of filing, could resolve its lack of compliance and maintain its action for judicial review.  A Guy Named Moe, LLC v. Chipotle Mexican Grill of Colo., LLC, 447 Md. 425, 447, 135 A.3d 492, 505 (2016).  The court further held that one does not have standing as a “person aggrieved” based solely on the desire to eliminate business competition.  Id. at 453, 135 A.3d at 508.

     A Guy Named Moe, LLC (“Moe”) and Chipotle Mexican Grill of Colorado, LLC (“Chipotle”) are two foreign limited liability companies that operate separate chain restaurants.  In 2012, Chipotle applied for a special exception to build a restaurant in Annapolis, Maryland.  The proposed location was approximately 425 feet from one of Moe’s established restaurants.  With approval from the Department of Planning and Zoning for the City of Annapolis, the City Board of Appeals (the “Board”) approved Chipotle’s application.

Maryland State Bank: The Responsible Solution for Fostering the Growth of Maryland’s Medical Cannabis

By: David Bronfein*

     In 2013, Maryland passed its initial medical cannabis law.[1]  Although seemingly a success in the medical cannabis reform movement, the law only allowed for “academic medical centers” to participate in the program.[2]  In essence, an academic medical center could dispense medical cannabis to patients who met the criteria for participation in their research program.[3]  The success of this type of program structure was a concern for medical cannabis advocates,[4] and the concerns were validated when no academic medical centers decided to participate.[5]  As a result of this lackluster program, the General Assembly responded by passing a bill[6] during the 2014 Regular Session to create a more inviting program, thereby making Maryland the 21st state to enact a comprehensive medical cannabis law.[7]  Under H.B. 881, the program was broadened to allow patients, physicians, growers, processors, and dispensaries to operate within a framework that would be set up by the Natalie M. LaPrade Medical Cannabis Commission (the “Commission”).[8]  The General Assembly further augmented Maryland’s medical cannabis law with the passage of H.B. 490.[9]   The purpose of this legislation, among other things, was to make access to the program easier for patients and physicians.[10]

     Maryland’s medical cannabis law tasks the Commission with the generation and promulgation of regulations that govern the medical cannabis program.[11]   When H.B. 881 was enacted, the law called for adoption of regulations by the Commission “on or before September 15, 2014,”[12] but, due to many administrative delays, the program’s regulations were not promulgated until September 14, 2015.[13]  After the governing regulations were completed, the Commission focused its energy on the creation of an application for which growers, processors, and dispensaries would apply for licensure into the program.[14]  These applications were released on September 28, 2015, and called for all interested parties to submit their applications no later than November 6, 2015.[15]  The fact that the Commission received 1,081 applications was a testament to the evolution of Maryland’s medical cannabis law and the inviting regulations promulgated by the Commission.[16]  More specifically, there were 146 applications for fifteen growers licenses,[17] 124 applications for fifteen processors licenses,[18] and 811 applications for 94 dispensary licenses.[19]

The Regression of “Good Faith” in Maryland Commercial Law

By: Lisa Sparks

“Good faith,” in the affirmative or as the absence of bad faith, has always been a challenge to define and judge as a matter of conduct, motive, or both.  Different tests apply a subjective standard, an objective standard, or even a combination of the two.  Some parties may be held to different expectations than others.  This determination of good faith has always been fact-driven and somewhat transcendental.  Until recently, however, the question invoked a construct of fairness, resting on a two-pronged metric, at least insofar as several key titles of the Maryland Uniform Commercial Code were concerned.  Since June 1, 2012, the various Maryland Uniform Commercial Code definitions of good faith have been stripped to the bare, subjective “honesty in fact.”[1]  The ramifications of this deviation from the Uniform Law Commission’s[2] promulgated Uniform Commercial Code (“UCC”) and decades of jurisprudence with consistency among most states have yet to unfold; the bench and bar are just discovering the change.  This comment explores how this occurred and what the potential consequences are and also recommends remediation of Maryland’s statutory language to conform to the UCC.

The Future of Daily Fantasy Sports Still Unclear in Maryland

By: Wayne Hicks

The popularity of daily fantasy sports websites is spreading rapidly throughout the state of Maryland, where more than 200,000 people are actively participating.[1]  Daily fantasy sports games allow participants to draft professional athletes on imaginary teams and compete against others often wagering money.[2]  Despite its popularity among users, Maryland legislators fear that the money wagering features could result in residents getting “in over their head and risking more than they can afford….”[3]

Two bills recently went before the Maryland House of Delegates regarding the legal status of daily fantasy sports competition in Maryland.[4]  Neither of the bills were passed by the state legislature.[5]  The first bill, Senate Bill 976, which was introduced on February 11, 2016, proposed that the state should regulate daily fantasy sports to a referendum.[6]  More specifically, the bill stated that daily fantasy participants would be required to register with a licensed operator, be at least 21 years old to play, and the operators of daily fantasy leagues would be required to conduct the games in a manner consistent with regulations set forth by the State Lottery and Gaming Control Commission.[7]  The second bill, Senate Bill 980, which was introduced on February 12, 2016, proposed an outright ban on daily fantasy leagues if the voters chose not to approve the referendum.[8]

These two recently proposed bills were introduced to the Senate following an advisory opinion that was issued by Attorney General Brian Frosh.[9]  The advisory opinion described daily fantasy leagues as an expansion of commercial gaming in Maryland, and therefore daily fantasy operators should be subject to voter referendum.[10]  In this opinion, Attorney General Frosh was referencing the law passed in 2012, House Bill 750, which states that fantasy competitions are exempt from Maryland gaming prohibitions.[11]  Therefore, the two bills introduced to the senate appear to have been measures taken by legislators who supported Attorney General Frosh’s opinion that the 2012 law provided too much leeway for fantasy gaming in Maryland.[12]

Although it appears that daily fantasy sports operators have won, it still remains highly likely that the 2012 law will be revisited given the opposition it has received for providing a blanket exemption for fantasy league operators.  However, the inevitable attempts to amend the law will be met with opposition from supporters of daily fantasy sports, who embraced Maryland’s decision to pass the 2012 law.  Supporters and various organizations have provided statements suggesting that, at the very least, the Maryland Senate should educate themselves on the growing trend and strive for regulations that support the business rather than closing it off entirely.[13]


whphotoWayne Hicks is a third-year day student at the University of Baltimore. He serves as a Staff Editor for the UB Law Forum. His legal interests include general civil practice and criminal defense. He can be reached at Wayne.Hicks@ubalt.edu. You can view his LinkedIn here.


A Confession is Voluntary Unless the Defendant Unambiguously Invokes His Constitutional Right to Remain Silent or the Confession is Obtained Through Coercion or Inducement.

By: Pascale Cadelien, Staff Editor

The Court of Appeals of Maryland held that “I don’t want to say nothing. I don’t know,” is an ambiguous invocation of the right to remain silent. Williams v. State, 445 Md. 452, 455, 128 A.3d 30, 32 (2015). The court reasoned that the defendant’s addition of “I don’t know” to his initial assertion “I don’t want to say nothing” created uncertainty about whether he intended to invoke his right to remain silent. Id. at 477, A.3d at 44. This allowed a reasonable officer to interpret his statement as an “ambiguous request to remain silent.” Id. Furthermore, the officers’ implication that the defendant should confess to a “robbery gone bad,” instead of premeditated murder, did not induce his confession. Id. at 477-483, A.3d at 45-48. Accordingly, the defendant’s confession was voluntary. Id. at 483, A.3d at 48.

The Sweeney Legacy: A Tribute to the District Court of Maryland’s First Chief Judge

By: Chief Judge John P. Morrissey, District Court of Maryland and Lauren Kitzmiller.

Many changes have been made during my first eighteen months as the Chief Judge of the District Court of Maryland. For example, we have added a brand new program to provide all indigent defendants with representation at initial appearances before Commissioners. We have also converted the judiciary from paper filing to an electronic filing and case management system and moved the location of the district court headquarters.

All of these endeavors have been challenging, but something special came when packing up the old office and moving next door. In the accumulation of folders, documents, and other miscellaneous office supplies, I found two ordinary file folders hidden amongst the many records accumulated by the district court over the years. These files, however, were anything but ordinary. What I found was not only history of the district court, but also history of its first Chief Judge – the man who sat in my position, over forty years ago. Looking through these folders that contained speeches, convocations, and publications, I not only received first-person insight to the beginnings of a new court, but of the man behind it all – the Honorable Robert F. Sweeney.