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Drug conviction reversed for undisclosed confidential informant identity, and improper use of the inevitable discovery doctrine

Dec 21, 2010 Drug conviction reversed for undisclosed confidential informant identity, and improper use of the inevitable discovery doctrine

By Jon Katz, a criminal defense lawyer and DWI/ DUI/ Drunk Driving lawyer advocating in Fairfax County, Virginia, Montgomery County, Maryland, and beyond for the best possible results for his clients. http://katzjustice.com  

 

Bill of Rights. (From the public domain.)

Today, Maryland’s highest court unanimously reversed the Court of Special Appeals’ affirmance of a drug felony conviction, finding that the lower appellate court erred in applying the inevitable discovery doctrine sua sponte without a clearer record; the trial court erred in refusing to compel the disclosure of the case’s sole confidential informant, where such disclosure was essential for the defendant’s defense; the defendant had been unlawfully arrested (with his car key seized and used to open his marijuana-filled trunk) and not merely Terry-stopped by the police; and probable cause was not provided by the insufficiently corroborated tip of the confidential informant that the defendant would be arriving at a shopping center with a large amount of marijuana, where the police did not see any evidence of a possible transaction with the defendant. 

Elliott v. Maryland, ___ Md. ___ (Dec. 21, 2010).

Elliott will be essential reading for all Maryland cases involving the above issues.

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