Wednesday, July 27, 2016
As I noted yesterday, the State has until Monday, August 1st to file its Application for Leave to Appeal (ALA) to the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland in Adnan's case. According to Maryland Rule 8-204(b)(3),
The application shall contain a concise statement of the reasons why the judgment should be reversed or modified and shall specify the errors allegedly committed by the lower court.
In Faulkner v. Director of Patuxent Institution, 187 A.2d 473 (Md. 1963), the Court of Appeals of Maryland noted that
The terms ‘concise statement of the reasons' and the ‘list of errors,’ as here used, mean just what they say, and require a brief statement of facts setting forth the reasons why the order should be reversed or modified, and a list of the alleged errors committed by the trial court; and these requirements are not fulfilled by a mere statement of the conclusions of the applicant.
In Faulkner, the applicant included the following in his statement of reasons for reversal:
4. Erroneous and prejudicial testimony was given by Dr. Harold M. Boslow with respect to my record of prior convictions.
5. The State's Attorney made improper and highly prejudicial statements to the jury not consistent with the evidence.
6. That all or a majority of the evidence used against your petitioner was hearsay and inadmissible, no opportunity was given to cross-examine individuals who made up the report.
In finding that the applicant's ALA should be denied, the court concluded that
contention (4) should have given a concise statement of the alleged ‘erroneous and prejudicial’ testimony of Dr. Boslow; contention (5) should have briefly summarized the ‘improper’ statements of the State's Attorney; and (6) should have succinctly pointed out the ‘hearsay and inadmissible’ evidence.
Such a result is not atypical. While I don't have any specific numbers, I've been told that the vast majority of ALAs are denied. As the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland noted in Hernandez v. State, 672 A.2d 103 (Md.App. 1996),
Some are denied because, after examining the record, we find that the relevant facts are not as alleged by the applicant and do not support his allegations of error or entitle him to any relief. The applicant may, for example, allege that the judge said or did something wrong, yet when we examine the record, we find that the judge never actually said or did the thing alleged.
The typical rules might not apply here because the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland will receive the State's ALA after having already remanded the case to the Baltimore City Circuit Court because it had insufficient evidence to resolve Adnan's appeal. On the other hand, Judge Welch granted Adnan relief on an issue (the cell tower issue) that was different from the issue that was remanded (the Asia issue).
We likely won't know for a while whether the Court of Special Appeals grants the State leave to appeal. But the State's ALA should give us a good idea what the State plans (and does not plan) to argue on appeal.