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No.

_________
================================================================

In The

Supreme Court of the United States


-----------------------------------------------------------------STEPHEN D. CHAMBERLAIN,
Petitioner,
v.
JUDITH C. CHAMBERLAIN,
Respondent.
-----------------------------------------------------------------On Petition For A Writ Of Certiorari To
The Maryland Court Of Special Appeals
-----------------------------------------------------------------PETITION FOR A WRIT OF CERTIORARI
-----------------------------------------------------------------STEPHEN D. CHAMBERLAIN
Pro Se Litigant

================================================================

i
QUESTIONS PRESENTED
The vast majority of liberties declared to be fundamental by this Court are not mentioned in the text
of the Constitution. They are, however, so important
that the government may not infringe upon them
unless justification can be provided proving that its
action is necessary to achieve a compelling government purpose.
It is also inarguable that the judicial system in
this country is an adversarial one; where judicial
power is used to decide cases between adverse litigants and render judgment after adjudication of live
controversies. It is settled law that a case which becomes moot normally removes subject matter jurisdiction from a court, a court without jurisdiction
cannot proceed in any cause, and the judgment of a
court lacking jurisdiction is void.
The questions presented are:
First, does the fundamental right to liberty
include freedom from being compelled to
stand trial before a court acting in the clear
absence of jurisdiction?
Second, did the Maryland Court of Special
Appeals by its action, and the Maryland
Court of Appeals by its inaction, violate Petitioners Fourteenth Amendment right to due
process and the equal protection of the law
by affirming the lower courts jurisdiction
when the case before it was facially moot?
Third, should the judgment of the lower
court be vacated?

ii
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Page
QUESTIONS PRESENTED ..................................

TABLE OF AUTHORITIES ...................................

iv

OPINIONS BELOW ...............................................

JURISDICTION .....................................................

RELEVANT CONSTITUTIONAL AND STATUTORY PROVISIONS ...........................................

STATEMENT OF THE CASE ................................

REASONS FOR GRANTING THE PETITION.....

11

I. THIS COURT HAS A DUTY TO CORRECT STATE JUDICIARIES THAT DEMONSTRATE A CLEAR DISREGARD FOR
THE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS OF
LITIGANTS.................................................. 11
II. THIS CASE PRESENTS AN ISSUE OF
EXCEPTIONAL AND CONTINUED IMPORTANCE TO THE FUNCTIONING OF
OUR DEMOCRACY .................................... 17
III.

THE CLARITY AND EGREGIOUSNESS


OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL VIOLATIONS
IS SUCH THAT A GVR ORDER IS APPROPRIATE................................................. 19

CONCLUSION .......................................................

21

APPENDIX
Unreported Opinion of the Maryland Court of
Special Appeals in Chamberlain v. Chamberlain, dated April 21, 2015 .................................. App. 1

iii
TABLE OF CONTENTS Continued
Page
Consent Order of the Anne Arundel County
Circuit Court, dated June 5, 2014 ................. App. 14
Maryland Court of Appeals Denial of Petition
for Writ of Certiorari, dated May 27, 2015 ..... App. 18
Maryland Court of Appeals Denial of Motion
for Reconsideration, dated July 27, 2015 ...... App. 19
Request of Plaintiff Below for Voluntary Dismissal to the Anne Arundel County Circuit Court,
dated April 14, 2014 ........................................ App. 20
Response of Defendant Below to Request for Voluntary Dismissal to the Anne Arundel County
Circuit Court, dated April 17, 2014 ............... App. 23
APPENDIX G: Transcript Excerpt from Merits
Hearing before the Anne Arundel County
Circuit Court, dated April 18, 2014 ............... App. 27

iv
TABLE OF AUTHORITIES
Page
CASES
Arizonans for Official English v. Arizona, 520
U.S. 43 (1997) ..........................................................15
Attorney Gen. v. A.A. County School Bus, 286
Md. 324, 407 A.2d 749 (1979) .................................13
Bowser v. Collins, Y. B. Mich. 22 Edw. IV, f. 30,
pl. 11, 145 Eng. Rep. 97 (Ex. Ch. 1482) ..................20
Boyds Civic Assn v. Montgomery County, 526
A.2d 598 (Md. 1987) ................................................13
Burnham v. Superior Court of Cal., 495 U.S.
604 (1990) ..........................................................15, 19
Caperton v. AT Massey Coal Co., Inc., 129
S. Ct. 2252, 556 U.S. 868, 173 L. Ed. 2d 1208
(2009) .......................................................................14
Case of the Marshalsea, 10 Coke Rep. 68b, 77
Eng. Rep. 1027 (K. B. 1612)....................................15
Chambers v. Florida, 309 U.S. 227, 60 S. Ct.
472, 84 L. Ed. 716 (1940) ........................................16
Coburn v. Coburn, 342 Md. 244 (1996) ......................13
Ex parte McCardle, 7 Wall. 506 (1869) ......................15
Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335, 83 S. Ct.
792, 9 L. Ed. 2d 799 (1963) .....................................16
Griffin v. Illinois, 351 U.S. 12, 76 S. Ct. 585,
100 L. Ed. 891 (1956) ..............................................16
Hammond v. Lancaster, 194 Md. 462 (1950) .............13

v
TABLE OF AUTHORITIES Continued
Page
In re Murchison, 349 U.S. 133, 75 S. Ct. 623, 99
L. Ed. 942 (1955) .....................................................14
Mills v. Green, 159 U.S. 651 (1895)............................15
Muskrat v. United States, 219 U.S. 346, 31
S. Ct. 250, 55 L. Ed. 246 (1911) ..............................15
Pennoyer v. Neff, 95 U.S. 714 (1878) ..........................12
Preiser v. Newkirk, 422 U.S. 395 (1975) ....................15
Stevenson v. Lanham, 127 Md. App. 597 (1999)........14
Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 118 U.S. 356 (1886) .............15, 18
STATUTES AND CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS
28 U.S.C. 1257(a) .......................................................1
United States Constitution, Article III, 2 ....... 2, 15, 20
United States Constitution, Fourteenth Amendment ............................................................... 2, 13, 21
Maryland Constitution Declaration of Rights,
Article 2 ...............................................................2, 20
Maryland Constitution Declaration of Rights,
Article 24 .............................................................3, 13
Maryland Constitution Declaration of Rights,
Article 44 ....................................................... 3, 13, 18
Maryland Courts and Judicial Proceedings
3-409 ........................................................... 4, 14, 20
Maryland Rule 2-324 ..............................................3, 14

1
PETITION FOR A WRIT OF CERTIORARI
Petitioner (Defendant/Appellant below) Stephen
D. Chamberlain respectfully petitions for a writ of
certiorari to review the June 5, 2014 judgment of the
Anne Arundel County, Maryland, Circuit Court in
this case.
------------------------------------------------------------------

OPINIONS BELOW
The June 5, 2014 order of the Anne Arundel
County, Maryland, Circuit Court is printed in full text
at Pet. App. 14. The Maryland Court of Special Appeals unreported opinion of April 15, 2015 affirming
the actions of the lower court can be found at Pet.
App. 1. The Maryland Court of Appeals May 27, 2015
denial of the Appellants Petition for Writ of Certiorari can be found at Pet. App. 18. The Maryland Court
of Appeals July 27, 2015 denial of the Appellants
Motion for Reconsideration of the petition for writ of
certiorari can be found at Pet. App. 19.
------------------------------------------------------------------

JURISDICTION
The Maryland Court of Appeals denial of the
Petitioners Motion for Reconsideration of the denial
of petition for writ of certiorari was entered on July
27, 2015. This Petition has been timely filed and
this Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
1257(a).
------------------------------------------------------------------

2
RELEVANT CONSTITUTIONAL
AND STATUTORY PROVISIONS
1. The Fourteenth Amendment to the United
States Constitution provides in relevant part: No
State shall . . . deprive any person of life, liberty, or
property, without due process of law; nor deny to any
person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of
the laws.
2. Article III Section 2 of the United States
Constitution provides in relevant part:
The judicial power shall extend to all cases,
in law and equity, arising under this Constitution, the laws of the United States, and
treaties made, or which shall be made, under
their authority; to all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls; to all cases of admiralty and maritime
jurisdiction; to controversies to which the
United States shall be a party; to controversies between two or more states; between a state and citizens of another state;
between citizens of different states; between citizens of the same state claiming
lands under grants of different states, and
between a state, or the citizens thereof, and
foreign states, citizens or subjects.
3. Maryland Constitution Declaration of Rights,
Article 2 provides:
The Constitution of the United States, and
the Laws made, or which shall be made, in
pursuance thereof, and all Treaties made, or
which shall be made, under the authority of

3
the United States, are, and shall be the Supreme Law of the State; and the Judges of
this State, and all the People of this State,
are, and shall be bound thereby; anything in
the Constitution or Law of this State to the
contrary notwithstanding.
4. Maryland Constitution Declaration of Rights,
Article 24 provides: That no man ought to be taken
or imprisoned or disseized of his freehold, liberties or
privileges, or outlawed, or exiled, or, in any manner,
destroyed, or deprived of his life, liberty or property,
but by the judgment of his peers, or by the Law of the
land.
5. Maryland Constitution Declaration of Rights,
Article 44 provides:
That the provisions of the Constitution of the
United States, and of this State, apply, as
well in time of war, as in time of peace; and
any departure therefrom, or violation thereof, under the plea of necessity, or any other
plea, is subversive of good Government, and
tends to anarchy and despotism.
6. The following sections of the Annotated Code
of Maryland provide in relevant part:
Maryland Rule 2-324. Preservation of certain
defenses
(b) Subject matter jurisdiction. Whenever it appears that the court lacks
jurisdiction of the subject matter, the
court shall dismiss the action.

4
Maryland Courts and Judicial Proceedings
3-409 Discretionary relief
(a) In general. Except as provided in
subsection (d) of this section, a court
may grant a declaratory judgment or decree in a civil case, if it will serve to terminate the uncertainty or controversy
giving rise to the proceeding, and if:
(1) An actual controversy exists between contending parties;
------------------------------------------------------------------

STATEMENT OF THE CASE


This case began as a request for declaratory judgment concerning a single unambiguous sentence in
a Marital Settlement Agreement regarding college
applications.1 Prior to trial, both parties to the litigation declared in formal motions the only issue before
the Court had become moot and both sought dismissal. (App. 20; App. 23) At the commencement of the
trial, the Plaintiff (Respondent here) requested leave
of the court to withdraw her request for voluntary
dismissal without explanation. This request was
granted by the trial court. Despite evidence being presented proving mootness at that time, the trial judge
elected to proceed to hear the case on the merits.
1

Despite naming the request for a Declaratory Judgment


as a Complaint to Enforce, no breach of contract was noted in
the filing and no enforcement relief was requested.

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(App. 27-37) An oral agreement to settle the litigation
was subsequently coerced from the Petitioner during
the trial. Later, the trial judge modified the terms of
this agreement, and unilaterally signed it as a Consent Order without the assent of the Petitioner.
(App. 14) Appeal of the lower courts jurisdiction,
inter alia, was timely filed.
Marylands intermediate appellate court, the
Court of Special Appeals, based its affirmation of the
lower courts jurisdiction on clearly erroneous reasoning. (App. 1) Despite implicating serious constitutional due process and equal protection violations,
the Maryland Court of Appeals denied certiorari and
a subsequent motion for reconsideration. (App. 18;
App. 19)
While numerous judicial errors were made in this
case and noted on appeal, this petition does not seek
correction of those errors. Neither does this petition
address the misapplication of law. This petition solely
concerns a state judiciary willfully denying equal
protection and due process rights by compelling a
citizen to stand trial in the clear absence of subject
matter jurisdiction. The evidence is substantial, indisputable and unrefuted.
These are the relevant facts of this case. After
207 days of litigation concerning a clear and unambiguous sentence in a contract concerning college
applications, the Respondent (Plaintiff below) filed a
Request for Voluntary Dismissal. The basis provided
for the dismissal request was [g]iven that the relief

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requested in Plaintiff s Complaint to Enforce is now
moot and the issue involving each parties future
obligation to contribute towards college tuition payments has yet to mature, there is no longer any need
for the hearing currently set on April 18, 2014. (App.
21) The Petitioner (Defendant below) filed a response
with the Court, concurring with the admission of
mootness: That while the Defendant does not dispute
that Johns decision to file for admission to colleges
before receiving the assent of his parents does render
the issue on which the Plaintiff sought a declaratory
judgment to be a moot issue, the dispute has been
moot for several months but has nevertheless been
carried forth by the Plaintiff at considerable expense. . . . (App. 24) This response was also hand
delivered to the trial judges chambers. Upon commencement of the proceedings the following day, the
Plaintiff reversed course and asked to withdraw her
request for voluntary dismissal, made just 3 days before, without explanation. The trial judge granted
withdrawal of the motion without argument or comment and sought to begin the proceedings. (App. 29)
The Petitioner strongly objected. The transcript
from the hearing shows the only issue before the
court was proven to be moot by the Defendant and
the Plaintiff was absolutely silent as to how her
declaration of mootness just 3 days before could have
become un-mooted on the day of trial. (App. 29-37)
There can be no doubt the issue of mootness was
squarely before the trial judge at the commencement

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of the hearing. Relevant quotes from the transcript
include:
You cannot allege in a document that an issue is moot and then un-moot it because you
feel like it. (App. 29)
We hand delivered to your office . . . our response, where we admit that it is moot. . . .
(App. 31)
Mr. Brown (Plaintiff s attorney) filed a request for dismissal because the issue was
moot. I filed a response saying we agreed the
issue is moot. (App. 32)
The Court: Are you saying that an attorney
cant withdraw a pleading if they file it? Defendants Attorney: No, Im saying an attorney cant represent to the Court that the
issue he wanted decided is moot and then
come in on the morning of trial and say, I
withdraw it, its not moot, it is open for a determination at that point. (App. 33)
. . . the issue that is before the Court right
now is whether or not the request made by
Mr. Brown (Plaintiff s Attorney) to dismiss
the case should be granted because well
moot on grounds of moot (App. 34)
Well, let me suggest to you then, the only issue the Court has before it today to decide is
found in the complaint at Paragraph B, order
that the minor child may apply to schools of
his choice in order to determine whether or
not he qualifies for admission and may be

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entitled to any scholarships. That is the only
thing and, Your Honor, remember in a declaratory judgment it is it is different from
a motion to enforce. A declaratory judgment
is a request by the Court to rule on a specific
issue in controversy . . . theres no breach of
any contract at this point. John has not had
gotten one bill from any school, so theres no
enforcement of any duty to pay. (App. 34-35)
Plaintiff s attorney (Mr. Brown): . . . we
made a motion to dismiss this thing now for
moot and I told Mr. Schaeffer, well file in
September when we know how much tuition
is. . . . (App. 37)
In a subsequent hearing, the trial judge offered
a series of specious theories as justification for proceeding with the case, and clearly admitted the issue
brought before him was indeed moot: When Mr.
Schaeffer and Mr. Brown informed me that even
though the matter that day on my docket was really
moot. . . .
There is also no doubt the Petitioner presented
the alleged constitutional deprivations to both appellate courts with specificity. The appeal to the Maryland Court of Special Appeals noted: This case is
about vexatious litigation, abuse of the legal process,
clear judicial error, judicial bias, judicial overreach,
and due process violations. He withstood 7 months
of purely vexatious litigation and was denied all relief
from the judicial system for this clear abuse of the
legal process. Instead, he was faced with serious

9
violations of his due process rights. . . . The petition
for writ of certiorari with the Maryland Court of
Appeals stated: This petition affects every Marylander. There could be no more important questions
before this Court than those surrounding a citizens
liberty interests and his due process right to stand
before fair tribunals of law. The evidence in this
case will demonstrate that both the Circuit Court and
Court of Special Appeals . . . are not applying that
settled law uniformly. Public perception that the
law is applied correctly, and uniformly, is essential to
a functioning democracy. There could be no question
more important to the public interest in this state
than whether a court can unlawfully exert power over
that citizen, and whether the settled laws of this
state are applied uniformly in the adjudication of
disputes. The [Court of Special Appeals] affirmation
of the Circuit Courts decision to proceed with a
hearing when the only issue brought before the Court
had been declared moot by both parties, and proven
to be moot by a highly capable attorney at the commencement of the hearing, is in direct contravention
to decades of settled law in this State, every other
state, and Federal Law. Should these decisions and
the [Court of Special Appeals] affirmation of their
correctness stand, the public can only conclude that
courts in this state are allowed to apply settled law
arbitrarily, and capriciously. As the highest Court in
the State of Maryland, ensuring the public can trust
that settled law will be applied uniformly and equitably, and not arbitrarily and capriciously, is of paramount interest to all citizens. The Petitioner prays

10
this Court grant the Writ of Certiorari, grant a stay of
judgment while conducting a de novo review of the
clear and substantial evidence in this case, vacate the
June 5, 2014 Consent Order of the Circuit Court, and
reassure the citizens of this State that settled law
will be followed in the application of justice. In the
request for reconsideration, the Petitioner added:
With the exception of capital and habeas corpus
cases, there can be no other type of case more in the
public interest to review than one which alleges a
court having taken action against a citizen in the
clear absence of jurisdiction. While infrequent, when
this Court is asked to review an opinion from the
Court of Special Appeals which facially appears to
contravene decades of settled law, it would seem
incumbent upon this Court to intervene and reiterate
the guidance its previous opinions have provided to
ensure the citizens of Maryland are not wrongfully, or
mistakenly, held to account before a tribunal that
has no statutory or constitutional authority. In the
history of jurisprudence in this State, no case can be
found which provides greater clarity of the lack of a
controversy before the Court than this case, as both
parties had declared there was no controversy, and it
was proven there was no controversy, prior to the
commencement of the hearing. The Appellant has
clearly shown the Circuit Court acted in the clear absence of jurisdiction, and the Court of Special Appeals
affirmed the legality of that action. The constitutional
due process implications could not be more stark.
Wherefore, as the Court of last resort in this state,
the Appellant respectfully requests and prays this

11
Court will [inter alia] [g]rant the petition for writ of
certiorari to prevent the serious violation of a citizens
constitutional rights and to prevent a gross injustice
from standing.
------------------------------------------------------------------

REASONS FOR GRANTING THE PETITION


While extraordinarily infrequent, review of a state
court judgment by this Court is not only worthwhile
to protect a citizens constitutional rights, but necessary when appellate affirmation of serious constitutional violations, or lack of intervention, threatens to
undermine the publics confidence in the judiciary as
a whole. Such are the circumstances which have been
presented to this Court.
I.

THIS COURT HAS A DUTY TO CORRECT


STATE JUDICIARIES THAT DEMONSTRATE
A CLEAR DISREGARD FOR THE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS OF LITIGANTS.

Clear and egregious deprivation of the most basic


constitutional rights by a state judiciary is not error, but rather conduct which militates the use of
this Courts supervisory authority provided by Congress. Designed in large part to safeguard a citizens
liberty and abridgment of his rights by state governments and state judiciaries, this Court has an inherent duty to intervene when it becomes apparent a
state judiciary has not only failed to adhere to its own
laws and constitution, but also those of the United

12
States Constitution and the precedent of this Court.
Such is the case here.
There is no need for this Court to delve far into
the record. Substantial, clear and unrefuted evidence
is present in both the Respondents Request for Voluntary Dismissal, the Petitioners Response, and the
transcript excerpt provided in the attached appendix.
This evidence is sufficient to show the lower court in
this case was facially without subject matter jurisdiction to proceed, and the order which emanated from
such a hearing is void by law. See Pennoyer v. Neff,
95 U.S. 714 (1878) (The validity of every judgment depends upon the jurisdiction of the court
before it is rendered, not upon what may occur subsequently.).
Furthermore, any fair reading of the Maryland
Court of Special Appeals opinion affirming the lower
courts jurisdiction leads to the inescapable conclusion
it cannot be reconciled with settled law. First, the
opinion suggests jurisdiction existed because the explicit declaration of mootness made by the Plaintiff herself magically disappeared when the motion
containing that declaration was allowed to be withdrawn. This wrongly infers a party can confer jurisdiction on a court to hear a moot issue, which a party
inarguably cannot do. Furthermore, the opinion gives
birth to a wholly separate and new issue, and one not
brought forth by either party: payment for college. It
is unfathomable that the appellate court not only
proffered its own issue as being a lingering outstanding controversy to justify the lower courts

13
jurisdiction, but for that issue to be one declared by
the Plaintiff herself as not being mature, and which
was facially not ripe. (App. 8-9; App. 21) Disturbingly,
these legal machinations are conspicuous.
Failure of the lower court or intermediate appellate court to apply settled law equally, and Marylands
highest courts decision not to review the constitutional violations squarely presented to it, twice,
violates both the Due Process and Equal Protection
Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United
States Constitution. See also Maryland Constitution
Declaration of Rights, Article 24 and Article 44.
Citations supporting black letter law that moot
cases will not be heard, and that judgments rendered
by courts without jurisdiction are void, would alone
far exceed the space limitations of this petition. While
not an inclusive list, a 60 year unbroken string of
decisions in Maryland, which mirrors federal law on
the subject, demonstrates the egregiousness of the
lower courts decision to proceed with the facially
moot case. See Hammond v. Lancaster, 194 Md. 462,
471 (1950) (Courts will not decide moot or abstract
questions or render advisory opinions); Attorney Gen.
v. A.A. County School Bus, 286 Md. 324, 327, 407
A.2d 749, 752 (1979) (Case is moot when there is no
longer an existing controversy and no longer any
remedy the Court could grant); Boyds Civic Assn v.
Montgomery County, 526 A.2d 598, 609 (Md. 1987) (A
controversy is justiciable if there are interested parties asserting adverse claims wherein a legal decision
is demanded); Coburn v. Coburn, 342 Md. 244, 250

14
(1996) (Case is moot when there is no longer an
existing controversy for which the court can provide
an effective remedy); Stevenson v. Lanham, 127 Md.
App. 597, 612 (1999) (Well established that a controversy is not justiciable if it has become moot).
Maryland law clearly mandates dismissal in any
declaratory judgment action devoid of a controversy:
Maryland Courts and Judicial Proceedings 3-409
states . . . a court may grant a declaratory judgment
or decree in a civil case if it will serve to terminate
the uncertainty or controversy giving rise to the proceedings and if an actual controversy exists between
contending parties. And Maryland Rule 2-324 states
that [w]henever it appears that the court lacks
jurisdiction of the subject matter, the court shall
dismiss the action.
Not only did the intermediate appellate court
disregard clear statutory law and decades of precedential authority set by itself and the Maryland
Court of Appeals, it also disregarded substantial precedent supplied by this Court throughout its history
which constitutes a clear and substantial violation of
both the Due Process Clause (It is axiomatic that [a]
fair trial in a fair tribunal is a basic requirement of
due process. Caperton v. AT Massey Coal Co., Inc.,
129 S. Ct. 2252, 556 U.S. 868, 173 L. Ed. 2d 1208
(2009), quoting In re Murchison, 349 U.S. 133, 75
S. Ct. 623, 99 L. Ed. 942 (1955)) and the Equal Protection Clause ([I]f [the law] is applied and administered by public authority with . . . an unequal
hand, so as practically to make unjust and illegal

15
discriminations between persons in similar circumstances, material to their rights, the denial of equal
justice is still within the prohibition of the Constitution. Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 118 U.S. 356 (1886)).
Article III Section 2 of the United States Constitution
extends the judicial power of the United States only
to Cases and Controversies. [J]udicial power, as
we have seen, is the right to determine actual controversies arising between adverse litigants, duly
instituted in courts of proper jurisdiction. Muskrat v.
United States, 219 U.S. 346, 31 S. Ct. 250, 55 L. Ed.
246 (1911). To qualify as a case fit for federal-court
adjudication, an actual controversy must be extant at
all stages of review, not merely at the time the complaint is filed. Arizonans for Official English v.
Arizona, 520 U.S. 43 (1997) (citing Preiser v. Newkirk,
422 U.S. 395, 401 (1975)). An actual controversy
ceases to exist, and the underlying case becomes moot
if it becomes impossible for a court, should it decide
in favor of the plaintiff, to grant him any effectual
relief whatever. Mills v. Green, 159 U.S. 651, 653
(1895). Without jurisdiction the court cannot proceed
at all in any cause. Jurisdiction is power to declare
law, and when it ceases to exist, the only function
remaining to the court is that of announcing the fact
and dismissing the cause. Ex parte McCardle, 7 Wall.
506, 514 (1869). The proposition that the judgment of
a court lacking jurisdiction is void was made settled
law by Lord Coke in Case of the Marshalsea, 10 Coke
Rep. 68b, 77a, 77 Eng. Rep. 1027, 1041 (K. B. 1612).
Burnham v. Superior Court of Cal., 495 U.S. 604
(1990).

16
No soliloquy is needed to demonstrate how, in
this case, the actions of the lower court in Maryland
cannot be reconciled with settled state, federal and
constitutional law. It is equally clear the Maryland
Court of Special Appeals rationalization for the jurisdiction of the lower court to proceed in this case
has no legally supported foundation and would fall
under the weight of any reasonable judicial scrutiny.
Maryland and federal law have been unwavering in
asserting that cases which are moot, or are not ripe,
shall be dismissed, that parties cannot confer jurisdiction upon courts, nor can courts confer jurisdiction
upon themselves.
The evidence is incontrovertible this case was
moot, there was no relief the court could grant that
would provide the Plaintiff any relief, and the settled
law clearly required dismissal. From the very beginning . . . state and national constitutions and laws
have laid great emphasis on procedural and substantive safeguards designed to assure fair trials before
impartial tribunals in which every defendant stands
equal before the law. Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S.
335, 83 S. Ct. 792, 9 L. Ed. 2d 799 (1963). Both equal
protection and due process emphasize the central aim
of our entire judicial system for all people charged
with crime must, so far as the law is concerned,
stand on an equality before the bar of justice in every
American court. Griffin v. Illinois, 351 U.S. 12, 76
S. Ct. 585, 100 L. Ed. 891 (1956), quoting Chambers
v. Florida, 309 U.S. 227, 60 S. Ct. 472, 84 L. Ed. 716
(1940). Proceeding in this action was a clear and

17
egregious violation of due process and equal protection. The decision by Marylands highest court to let
stand such blatant constitutional violations without
review or correction obligates this court to use its
appellate jurisdiction and supervisory authority to
uphold the fundamental protections provided by the
constitution which have thus far been denied. Having
been sworn to defend against this very type of infraction, by a state, of federally guaranteed rights, this
Court has a duty to intervene.
II.

THIS CASE PRESENTS AN ISSUE OF EXCEPTIONAL AND CONTINUED IMPORTANCE TO THE FUNCTIONING OF OUR
DEMOCRACY.

Trust in the judicial process and confidence in


protections afforded by the constitution are requisite
to a functioning democracy. When a state court makes
clear it can, and will, act in the clear absence of jurisdiction, and that action is upheld upon initial
appellate review and deemed not worthy of review by
the states highest court, tyranny is squarely in the
publics view. When clear and settled law is applied
arbitrarily on the whim of those who wield the sword
of justice, societys confidence in the judicial process
and the rule of law erodes. This will inexorably lead
to an unwillingness of a population to subject itself to
the authority of the system. For, the very idea that
one man may be compelled to hold his life, or the
means of living, or any material right essential to the
enjoyment of life, at the mere will of another, seems to

18
be intolerable in any country where freedom prevails,
as being the essence of slavery itself. Yick Wo v.
Hopkins, 118 U.S. 356 (1886).
This Court need look no further than recent
events in Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore, Maryland to be reminded as to what happens when a
citizenrys perception of unfair and capricious treatment by those in authority seems prevalent, rises to
an intolerable level, and appears to continue unabated. So too, will society rebel against unchecked
judicial hegemony by state judiciaries. It is incumbent upon this Court to occasionally intervene and
review state court judgments, especially when the
actions of the state judiciary are overtly constitutionally intolerable. Demonstrating a willingness to
intervene when states fail to uphold constitutionally
guaranteed rights, however infrequently, will lead to
a diminished need to do so in the future and help
restore faith in the rule of law. The action, and inaction, of the Maryland judiciary here presents a
prima facie case that state judiciaries believe they
are immune from such intervention by this Court at
the present time. This has led to the kind of despotic
action present in this case and the unprecedented
lack of trust the people currently have for government institutions.
The drafters of Marylands constitution themselves recognized the danger to democracy should
basic constitutional rights be violated. The Maryland
Constitution Declaration of Rights, Article 44 provides that even during times of war, provisions of the

19
Constitution of the United States, and of Maryland,
apply, and any violation of them is subversive of good
Government, and tends to anarchy and despotism. (bold and italics added)
Few things are more intolerable to a free people
than a government taking action against its citizens
absent the authority to do so. Few things are more
dangerous to a functioning democracy than a citizenrys perception their last option for redress from
such a clear and unconstitutional assault on their
liberty is not deemed worthy of consideration. While
this Court understandably wrestles with complex
questions of law, and focuses its limited judicial resources on high profile questions which the public
salivates to have answered, the insidious devolution
of the rule of law and egregious violations of constitutional rights by state courts necessitates the minimal effort by this Court to fulfill its obligation as
the sentinel of individual liberty and constitutional
rights.
III. THE CLARITY AND EGREGIOUSNESS OF
THE CONSTITUTIONAL VIOLATIONS IS
SUCH THAT A GVR ORDER IS APPROPRIATE.
It has been noted by this Court that as early as
1612, it was made settled law that the judgment of
a court lacking jurisdiction is void. Burnham v.
Superior Court of Cal., 495 U.S. 604 (1990) referencing

20
Bowser v. Collins, Y. B. Mich. 22 Edw. IV, f. 30, pl. 11,
145 Eng. Rep. 97 (Ex. Ch. 1482).
It is equally settled that courts are not authorized to hear moot cases, notwithstanding four well
known exceptions, none of which are applicable here.
U.S. Constitution Article III Section 2; Maryland
Constitution Declaration of Rights Article 2 (Constitution of the United States shall be the Supreme Law
of the State and Judges of the State shall be bound
thereby); Maryland Courts and Judicial Proceedings
3-409 (Declaratory judgment must have actual controversy).
A case cannot be more facially devoid of a live
controversy than when both the Plaintiff and the
Defendant in the case file formal motions declaring
the only issue for which relief had been sought to be
moot and request dismissal prior to trial. Despite
significant efforts to highlight the state courts lack of
jurisdiction at the commencement of the trial, the
judge elected to proceed. These circumstances are so
extraordinary, there appears to be no case on record
in which both parties to a suit declared the singular
issue before a court moot and sought dismissal only to
have a jurist proceed with the case.
Review of the clear, substantial, unrefuted and
indisputable evidence, in the appendix alone, shows
the issue was moot by any standard of proof. This
leads to a series of inexorable conclusions: the Maryland lower court acted in the clear absence of jurisdiction, its order of June 5, 2014 which emanated

21
from that hearing is void, and both Maryland appellate courts, one through affirmative action and one
through inaction, have made the willful decision not
to uphold the Petitioners Fourteenth Amendment
rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution.
------------------------------------------------------------------

CONCLUSION
Recognizing the serious constraints on this
Courts judicial resources, the Petitioner recognizes
he would have had a far greater chance of surviving a
tour in the trenches during the Battle of the Somme
in 1916 than having his prayer for certiorari answered by this Court. Yet the need for this Courts
intervention has far less to do with answering this
citizens prayer for individual justice than protecting
and preserving the publics trust and confidence in
this branch of government and reversing the overall
decline in the peoples trust and faith in their democratic institutions.
The Petitioner respectfully requests this Court
issue a GVR Order vacating the June 5, 2014 Order
of the Anne Arundel County Circuit Court of Maryland for being void, as that court proceeded in the
clear absence of jurisdiction on April 18, 2014.
In the alternative, egregious disregard for the
uniform application of settled law by the Maryland
judiciary, in violation of the Petitioners Fourteenth
Amendment right to equal protection and due process
under the law, warrants granting the Petitioners

22
request for certiorari to review this case on the evidence and the merits.
Respectfully submitted,
STEPHEN D. CHAMBERLAIN
Pro Se Litigant

App. 1
UNREPORTED
IN THE COURT OF SPECIAL APPEALS
OF MARYLAND
No. 0719
September Term, 2014
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

STEPHEN D. CHAMBERLAIN
v.
JUDITH C. CHAMBERLAIN
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Wright,
Reed,
Alpert, Paul E.
(Retired, Specially Assigned),
JJ.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Opinion by Wright, J.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Filed: April 21, 2015


Appellant, Stephen Chamberlain (Father), and
appellee, Judith Chamberlain (Mother), were granted
a divorce in 2009 by the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel
County. As a part of the divorce proceedings, the parties entered into a Marital Separation Agreement
(Agreement) that, among other things, contained
provisions related to the responsibilities of each party

App. 2
to pay for the college education for their children,
including their youngest child, John. As John began
the college selection process, there was a disagreement between the parties as to which schools would
be acceptable. This disagreement led to litigation that
ultimately concluded with the parties orally agreeing
on a payment scheme later contained in a consent
order. In this appeal, Father challenges the consent
order.
Question(s) Presented
Father asks this Court to consider the following
1
questions:

1.

Did the circuit court have jurisdiction to


hear this case?

2.

Did the circuit court properly deny Fathers motion for a mistrial?

We have reworded the questions presented by Father in


his brief
1. Did the Circuit Court have jurisdiction to try a
case for which there was no live controversy?
2. Is the oral agreement made on the record on
April 18, 2014 voidable due to duress, undue influence, the lack of essential terms, and modification by the trial judge?? [sic]
3. Was it an abuse of discretion for the trial judge
to sign a Consent Order 3 weeks after he was
aware one party did not give his assent to the
agreement?

App. 3
3.

Did the circuit court properly enter the


consent order?

We answer yes to all three questions and affirm the


circuit courts judgment.
Facts
Father and Mother were married for 21 years
when they were divorced in May 2009. In the months
leading up to the divorce, the parties entered into
the Agreement. The Agreement contained a provision,
Paragraph 8, stating that the parties, along with
their child, would form a consensus before applying
to, or enrolling in, any college or university: [Father]
shall pay the costs of tuition, room and board, books,
registration fees, and reasonable application fees incident to providing each Child with an undergraduate
college education for four consecutive years of college.
The selection of which college or university each Child
shall attend shall be made by [Father], [Mother] and
the Child, prior to application and prior to enrollment.
The Agreement covered the parties three children. The two older children completed college without any apparent dispute over the provision in the
Agreement. The issues in this case stem from the
college selection process of the third child, John.
Through June and July 2013, Father, Mother, and
John exchanged several e-mails regarding potential
schools for John, without apparent resolution, and
this litigation ensued.

App. 4
Mother requested a hearing to allow John to apply to colleges, beyond those to which Father agreed,
in order to determine the possibilities of scholarships
and to calculate the overall cost. Prior to the hearing,
it was discovered that John had already applied to
colleges without Fathers consent. Mother then filed a
motion suggesting that the issue was moot. Father
responded to that motion agreeing on the issue of
mootness but requesting that his attorneys fees be
paid by Mother.
A hearing was scheduled for April 18, 2014. At
the start of the hearing, it was revealed that Mother
had withdrawn her motion regarding the issue of
mootness. Father then challenged the extent of the
proceeding since both sides had earlier agreed that
the primary issue was moot, however, the circuit
court accepted Mothers withdrawal of her motion
and began the hearing. After the presentation of some
evidence, the court requested the attorneys presence
in chambers telling the parties, Maybe we can save a
little time. Following this recess for time in chambers, the parties came to a mutual agreement regarding the payment of Johns college expenses. The court
instructed Fathers counsel, Mr. Schaeffer, to voir dire
Father:
MR. SCHAEFFER: . . . Could you please
stand up, Mr. Chamberlain? Mr. Chamberlain, youve heard my recitation of the terms
of settlement today, youre not under the influence of any alcohol or drugs or anything

App. 5
that might affect you anything that might affect your reasonable judgment, correct?
[FATHER]:

No.

MR. SCHAEFFER: Can you confirm to


the Court that you have heard and understand the terms of the agreement?
[FATHER]:

Yes.

MR. SCHAEFFER: And can you confirm to that you want the Court to incorporate the terms of the agreement into a
consent order that will be enforceable by the
Court in the event of a breach by either of
you?
[FATHER]:

Yes.

MR. SCHAEFFER: Do you believe the


terms under the circumstances, to be fair
and reasonable?
[FATHER]:

Yes.

MR. SCHAEFFER: Do you have any


questions for me regarding the terms and
conditions at this time?
[FATHER]:

No.

MR. SCHAEFFER: And have you been


generally satisfied with my services as you
counsel throughout these proceedings?
[FATHER]:

Yes, sir.

MR. SCHAEFFER:
Your Honor.

Okay. Thank you,

App. 6
THE COURT: Hes entering into the
consent order freely and voluntarily and after being properly advised of his rights.
Following voir dire of Father, Mother and John were
similarly examined and found, by the court, to be
freely entering into a payment scheme. The general
terms of the payment scheme were announced in
2
open court and placed on the record.
Several weeks after the April 18, 2014 hearing,
but before the consent order was signed, Father filed
a motion seeking to have a mistrial declared. Father
argued that the circuit court lacked jurisdiction and
that his acquiescence to terms of the payment scheme
were made under duress and were, therefore, void.
On June 5, 2014, the court denied Fathers motion
and signed the consent order. This timely appeal
followed.
Standard of Review
Generally, consent orders are not appealable. The
Court of Appeals explained, [t]he rule that there is
no right to appeal from a consent decree is a subset of
the broader principles underlying the right to appeal.
The availability of appeal is limited to parties who
2

The payment scheme was that: Father would pay up to


$14,000.00 per year towards Johns college obligations as set
forth in the Agreement. Payment would be made to John upon a
reasonable time after Father received the invoice from the
school.

App. 7
are aggrieved by the final judgment. A party cannot
be aggrieved by a judgment to which he or she acquiesced. Suter v. Stuckey, 402 Md. 211, 224 (2007)
(internal citations omitted). But, [i]f there was no
actual consent because the judgment was coerced,
exceeded the scope of consent, or was not within the
jurisdiction of the court, or for any other reason consent was not effective, an appeal will be entertained.
Id. at 224 n.10 (citations omitted).
Md. Rule 8-131(a) provides for the scope of appellate review of jurisdictional questions. In Himes
Associates, Ltd. v. Anderson, 178 Md. App. 504, 526
(2009), this Court, read Rule 8-131(a) to permit
appellate review of the issue[ ] of . . . subject matter
jurisdiction on the entire record. This Court went
on to state that, with respect to jurisdictional issues,
[o]ur standard of review is de novo: we decide
whether the trial court was legally correct[.] Id.
(citation omitted).
With respect to the circuit courts decision on a
mistrial, we apply an abuse of discretion standard.
The decision to grant a motion for a mistrial is a
matter within the discretion of the trial judge. A denial of a motion for mistrial will only be reversed on
appeal when there was clear prejudice to the defendant. Alston v. State, 177 Md. App. 1, 6 (2007) (internal citations omitted).

App. 8
Discussion
I.

Circuit Courts Jurisdiction

Father initially challenges the validity of the


circuit courts issuance of the consent order due to a
lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Specifically, Father argues that the issue of whether his consent was
required to apply to certain colleges was moot and
cites Mothers motion for voluntary dismissal where
she too noted that the issue was moot.3 A case is
moot when there is no longer an existing controversy
between the parties at the time it is before the court
so that the court cannot provide an effective remedy.
Generally, a moot case is dismissed[.] Coburn v.
Coburn, 342 Md. 244, 250 (1996) (internal citations
omitted).
Based on the record, both parties filed motions
contending that the initial issue was moot; however,
Mother withdrew that contention at the hearing. Regardless, mootness is a legal determination a case is
moot based on the facts, not the motions of the parties. In this case, the circuit court determined that
there was a controversy upon which the court could
provide an effective remedy. Notwithstanding Johns
unauthorized applications, the issue of whether Fathers consent would be required in order to pay for
3

Mother initially asked the circuit court to interpret the


terms of the Agreement to allow John to apply to colleges of his
choice without Fathers consent. John applied prior to the courts
ruling, thus eliminating the need for the court to rule on whether
Fathers permission was required at the application stage.

App. 9
college was a lingering outstanding controversy. In
fact, the exact provisions of the agreement, upon
which the application issue was based, also concerned
the issue of the future payment of college expenses.
The circuit courts contractual interpretation of the
provision would, thus, have provided an effective
remedy to the question of the degree of involvement
each party must have in the final college decision and
any subsequent tuition responsibilities. Since there
was a live controversy upon which the court could
render an effective remedy, the case was not moot,
and the court had subject matter jurisdiction.
II.

Motion for Mistrial

Father next challenges the circuit courts refusal


to grant a mistrial. Father contends now, as he did in
a May 15, 2014 motion considered by the court, that
his agreement to the payment scheme on April 18,
2014, was voidable because it was made under
duress, and that he was subject to undue influence.
The court denied Fathers motion without explanation.4
As to Fathers contention, this Court defers as to
the factual findings of the circuit court because it is
4

The fact that the court did not articulate its reasoning,
does not provide a basis for error. Marquis v. Marquis, 175 Md.
App. 734, 755 (2007) (We presume judges know the law and
apply it even in the absence of a . . . indication of having considered it.) (Citation omitted).

App. 10
the presiding judge that often has the best perspective on the issue. See Jackson v. State, 164 Md. App.
679, 713 (2005) (Because so much depends on the
inherent sense of justice of the trial judge, the only
judicial figure who has his thumb on the actual pulse
of the trial, the judges exercise of discretion in evaluating credibility is indispensable.). This is particularly true in this case. In his brief, Father avers
that an audio recording of his acquiescence to the
payment scheme shows that his answer was made in
an overtly distresses [sic] tone. This argument is
contrary to the circuit courts finding of fact moments
thereafter that Father was agreeing to the terms
freely and voluntarily and after being properly
advised of his rights. Having presided over the proceeding during voir dire, the circuit court was in the
best position to evaluate whether the parties were
under duress. Based on our review of the entire
record in this case,5 the circuit courts ruling that the

The record contains an ex parte letter, drafted by Father


and sent to the circuit court, regarding Fathers desire to move
forward with the consent order as a pro se party. In this letter,
Father does not claim that the agreement to the payment
scheme is voidable due to duress or other factors. Rather, Father
writes I was placed in a position where a negotiated settlement
to the matter occurred. The agreement to the payment scheme
was made verbally before the Court, and it should be a simple
matter to draft a Consent Order[.] He goes on to describe his
conduct in the proceedings as fair, reasonable, and cooperative[.] While not part of the docketed record, this letter further
supports the courts finding that there was no duress at the time
of the agreement to the payment scheme.

App. 11
payment scheme was entered into freely was not
clearly erroneous.
Father also contends that the agreement to the
payment scheme was voidable because it lacked consideration. In his brief, Father argues that [f]orbearance to assert a claim which proves to be invalid
is not consideration. . . . No reasonable person could
believe the withdrawal of a vexatious lawsuit . . .
could be valid consideration. However, Maryland
courts have held that [c]onsideration is not always
tangible. In the case of a consent judgment, the fact
that the parties give up any meritorious claims or
defenses they may have had in order to avoid further
litigation may serve as consideration. Suter, 402 Md.
at 225 (citation omitted). In this case, Mother and
son, John, abandoned any chance to have Father
exclusively fund Johns college education in an effort
to end the litigation. Fathers obligation was limited
to only $14,000.00 per year. This type of consideration
is precisely, what is described by the Court in Suter.
III. Consent Order
Finally, Father argues that the circuit court erred
in entering the consent order despite being aware of
one partys objection. To support his position, Father
cites Dorsey v. Wroten, 35 Md. App. 359 (1977), where
this Court reversed the circuit courts refusal to allow
one party to withdraw consent to an oral agreement
prior to the judge enrolling the consent order. However, there is a critical distinction between Dorsey

App. 12
and the instant case. Here, Fathers agreement to the
terms of the consent order was made on the record, in
open court, while in Dorsey, the appellant withdrew
his oral consent to the settlement agreement before
the final meeting with the trial judge, and both the
trial judge and appellee had full knowledge that appellant was not consenting to the decree two days
before it was signed.
In Barnes v. Barnes, 181 Md. App. 390, 408
(2008), this Court examined the facts of Dorsey: [i]n
Dorsey, the Court determined that an agreement
entered on the record in open court is distinct from
a settlement agreement that is not entered on the
record. There, the parties held a settlement type
conference in the judges chambers and, when they
reached an agreement, the judge requested that a
consent decree be prepared and presented to him.
(Citation omitted). Critical to this case, however,
when, as here, the parties entered into an agreement in open court, which under Maryland law is
binding upon the parties, intending that the court
will subsequently reduce the agreement to a written
order, the legal principles regarding consent orders
are equally applicable to the resulting order. Id. at
409 (citation omitted). Specifically, the Court of Appeals has held, [t]he fact that one of the parties
may have changed his or her mind shortly before or
shortly after the submitted consent order was signed
by the court does not invalidate the signed consent
judgment. Chernick v. Chernick, 327 Md. 470, 484
(1992). It is pellucid that, based on the most relevant

App. 13
case law, the circuit court properly entered the Order
despite Fathers post-agreement objection.
For all of the foregoing reasons, the consent
order, entered by the circuit court on June 5, 2014, is
valid and enforceable. We hold that the court did
have jurisdiction to hold a hearing regarding the
contractual language in the Agreement. Furthermore,
we agree with the courts finding that Fathers agreement to the payment scheme was made freely and
voluntarily. Finally, we do not believe that the court
improperly entered the consent order. For the aforementioned reasons, we affirm the judgment of the
circuit court.
JUDGMENT OF THE CIRCUIT
COURT FOR ANNE ARUNDEL
COUNTY AFFIRMED. COSTS
TO BE PAID BY APPELLANT.

App. 14
JUDITH C. CHAMBERLAIN *IN THE
*CIRCUIT COURT
Plaintiff
*
v.
FOR
*
STEPHEN D. CHAMBERLAIN *ANNE ARUNDEL
Defendant
* COUNTY
*CASE NO.:
* C-09-139690
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
CONSENT ORDER
The parties appeared for a merits hearing on
Plaintiff s Complaint to Enforce Marital Settlement
Agreement and Consent Order of August 31, 2011,
and for Declaratory Judgment before Honorable Paul
F. Harris, Jr., on April 18, 2014. After certain argument was heard and evidence placed on the record,
the parties reached an agreement resolving all issues
in this action, which is memorialized below in accordance with the transcript from the hearing.
WHEREFORE, it is this 5 day of June, 2014 by
the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County, it is
hereby
ORDERED, that the Defendant, Stephen D.
Chamberlain, shall be responsible for contributing
up to $14,000.00 per academic year toward his son,
John Chamberlains (hereinafter John), college expenses. College expenses are defined as college tuition, room and board, books and registration fees
for four school years. The Defendant may split his

App. 15
obligation between the two semesters of each academic year. In the event that Johns college expenses,
as defined above, are less than $7,000.00 per semester after application of the Plaintiff s contribution as
provided in the parties Consent Order Regarding
Support, Attorneys Fees and Other Relief dated
August 31, 2011, and after application of any scholarships, then the Defendant shall pay the total balance due. By way of example, if John chooses to
attend Virginia Tech, as he has advised is his intention, and his college expenses for the Fall semester total $19,000.00, the Plaintiff shall be responsible
for $4,500.00 of those expenses, leaving a balance
of $14,500.00, of which the Defendant will pay
$7,000.00. However, if the minor child receives a
scholarship/grant for $10,000.00 of the total $19,000.00
for the Fall semester and, the Plaintiff is responsible
for $4,500.00 of those expenses, the Defendant is
responsible for the remaining $4,500.00. In this scenario, if the $10,000.00 scholarship/grant John received was a one-time or one-semester-only award,
the Defendant would be obligated for up to $9,500.00
for the Spring semester ($14,000-$4,500 = $9,500).
Student loans, including Federal student aid or and
any other form of tuition assistance which must be
paid back to lender or grantor, either in whole or in
part, will not be deducted from the parties obligations
herein. John has applied to and has been accepted at
Virginia Tech and the parties understand and agree
that he has not received any scholarships for this
upcoming school year, therefore, the Defendants
obligation for the 2014/2015 school year shall be

App. 16
$14,000.00 or $7,000.00 per semester; and it is further
ORDERED, that the Defendant shall pay his
contribution toward Johns college expenses by making payment to John Chamberlain for the full amount
due for that respective semester. John shall e-mail or
mail by way of regular mail, a copy of his college
expense(s) invoice(s) or bill(s) and the Defendant
shall provide a check for the full amount of his obligation per this Order for that semester within no more
than ten days of John e-mailing or mailing the invoice. The parties have agreed between their counsel
as to the e-mail and mailing address that all invoices
will be sent and that in the event the Defendant has
any change in e-mail or mailing address, he shall
notify John via e-mail and regular mail immediately;
and it is further
ORDERED, that in consideration for the above,
the Plaintiff herby dismisses her Motion for Modification of Child Support with prejudice that the hearing
currently set for May 29, 2014, is hereby cancelled;
and it is further
ORDERED, that each party shall be reasonable
[sic] for their own attorneys fees and cost incurred in
this matter and each party further waives any and all
claims for attorneys fees or reimbursement for any
attorneys fees or suit costs as claimed by the other
party including any claim pursuant to Maryland Rule
1-341; and it is further

App. 17
ORDERED, that John is confirmed his understanding of the terms of this Consent Order and has
affirmed his willingness to be bound hereunder; and
it is further
ORDERED, that all remaining provisions in the
parties Marital Settlement Agreement and Consent
Order Regarding Support, Attorneys Fees and Other
Relief shall remain in full force and effect, except as
modified herein; and it is further
ORDERED, that the hearings set before the
court on the existing pleadings or motions are hereby
CANCELLED; and it is further
ORDERED, that seeing that there are no outstanding court costs none are hereby assessed.
/s/ Paul F. Harris
PAUL F. HARRIS, JR., Judge,
Circuit Court for
Anne Arundel County

App. 18
STEPHEN D. CHAMBERLAIN *IN THE
*COURT OF
v.
*APPEALS
JUDITH C. CHAMBERLAIN *OF MARYLAND
*
*Petition Docket
No. 133
*
September Term,
*2015
*
*(Nos. 719 & 2594,
Sept. Term, 2014
*
Court of
*Special Appeals)
ORDER
Upon consideration of the petition for writ of certiorari to the Court of Special Appeals and the motion
for stay of judgment filed thereto, in the above entitled case, it is
ORDERED, by the Court of Appeals of Maryland,
that the petition and the motion for stay of judgment
be, and they are hereby, denied as there has been no
showing that review by certiorari is desirable and in
the public interest.
/s/ Mary Ellen Barbera
Chief Judge
DATE: May 27, 2015

App. 19
STEPHEN D. CHAMBERLAIN *IN THE
*COURT OF
v.
*APPEALS
JUDITH C. CHAMBERLAIN *OF MARYLAND
*
*Petition Docket
No. 133
*
September Term,
*2015
*
*(Nos. 719 & 2594,
Sept. Term, 2014
*
Court of
*Special Appeals)
ORDER
The Court having considered the motion for reconsideration and the supplement filed thereto, in the
above entitled case, it is
ORDERED, by the Court of Appeals of Maryland,
that the motion for reconsideration and the supplement be, and they are hereby, denied.
/s/ Mary Ellen Barbera
Chief Judge
DATE: July 27, 2015

App. 20
IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF MARYLAND
FOR ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY
JUDITH C. CHAMBERLAIN

*
*
Plaintiff
*
v.
*
STEPHEN D. CHAMBERLAIN *
* CASE NO.
Defendant
* 02-C-09-139690
**************************************************
REQUEST FOR VOLUNTARY DISMISSAL
(April 14, 2014)
Comes now the Plaintiff, Judith C. Chamberlain,
by and through her attorneys, Hillman, Brown &
Darrow, P.A., and Marietta B. Warren, and files this
Request for Voluntary Dismissal, and states as follows:
1. This matter is currently set for a one (1) day
merits hearing on April 18, 2014 on Plaintiff s Complaint to Enforce Marital Settlement Agreement and
Consent Order of August 31, 2011 and for Declaratory
Judgment (hereafter referred to as Complaint to
Enforce).
2. Plaintiff subsequently filed a Motion for
Modification of Child Support with the understanding
that both issues would be heard on April 18, 2014.
Instead, on or about March 12, 2014, this Court
entered an alternative Scheduling Order setting the
child support matter for a merits hearing on May 29,
2014.

App. 21
3. Plaintiff filed her Complaint to Enforce in
October of 2013 requesting an expedited hearing and
determination regarding the parties childs ability to
apply to college before the expiration of his application deadlines.
4. Defendant in turn filed a Motion for Summary Judgment and as a result, the procedural
timeline of the case was attenuated. A hearing on the
Defendants Motion for Summary Judgment was not
held until January of 2014.
5. Defendants request for summary judgment
was denied and this matter was subsequently set in
for a merits hearing.
6. Since the filing of Plaintiff s Complaint to
Enforce and since the January 2014 summary judgment hearing, the child has now both applied to
college and been accepted to two (2) schools.
7. Given that the relief requested in Plaintiff s
Complaint to Enforce is now moot and the issue
involving each parties future obligation to contribute
towards college tuition payments has yet to mature,
there is no longer any need for the hearing currently
set on April 18, 2014.
8. Plaintiff s counsel has advised Defendants
counsel of their position on this matter and has
provided Defendants counsel with a proposed Joint
Stipulation of Dismissal which the Defendant has
refused to sign.

App. 22
9. The Defendant has not made any counterclaim in this action.
10. Pursuant to Rule 2-506, Plaintiff requests
that this Court enter an Order of Plaintiff s voluntary
dismissal of the Complaint to Enforce so that the
hearing on April 18, 2014 may be cancelled and the
matter may proceed on the child support issue scheduled to be heard May 29, 2014.
WHEREFORE, Plaintiff respectfully requests
this Honorable Court order that Plaintiff s Complaint
to Enforce is hereby voluntarily dismissed and that
the case shall remain open and proceed as scheduled
on Plaintiff s Motion for Modification of Child Support.
/s/ Marietta B. Warren
Marietta B. Warren (mbw@hbdlaw.com)
HILLMAN, BROWN & DARROW, P.A.
221 Duke of Gloucester Street
Annapolis, Maryland 21401-2500
410-263-3131, (fax) 410-269-7912
Attorney for Plaintiff
[Certificate Of Service Omitted]

App. 23
JUDITH C. CHAMBERLAIN

*
*
Plaintiff
*
v.
*
STEPHEN D. CHAMBERLAIN *
*
Defendant
*
*
*

IN THE
CIRCUIT COURT
FOR
ANNE ARUNDEL
COUNTY
Case No.
02-C-09-139690

DEFENDANTS RESPONSE TO PLAINTIFFS


REQUEST FOR VOLUNTARY DISMISSAL
(April 17, 2014)
Stephen D. Chamberlain, Defendant, by his
attorneys, Council, Baradel, Kosmerl & Nolan, P.A.
and Kevin M. Schaeffer, in response to the Request
for Voluntary Dismissal filed by the Plaintiff, Judith
C. Chamberlain, states the following:
1. That the Plaintiff filed her Complaint to
Enforce Marital Settlement Agreement and Consent
Order of August 31, 2011 and for Declaratory Judgment (the Complaint) in September 2013 and, in
Paragraph (b) of the ad damnum clause in the Complaint,1 the Plaintiff requested the Court to Order
that the minor child may apply to the schools of his
choice, in order to determine whether or not he qualifies
for admission and may be entitled to any scholarships.
2. That, in support of her Request to voluntarily
dismiss her Complaint filed on Monday, the Plaintiff
1

The only other relief requested in the ad damnum clause


was for an expedited hearing and for attorneys fees.

App. 24
states that the issue is now moot, presumably
because the child, John Chamberlain, has gone ahead
and applied to (and been accepted by) Virginia Tech
without first obtaining the Defendants agreement to
that choice despite the language of Paragraph 8 of the
parties Marital Settlement Agreement which provides that the selection of which college or university
[the] Child shall attend shall be made by Husband,
Wife and the Child, prior to application and prior to
enrollment.
3. That, while the Defendant does not dispute
that Johns decision to file for admission to colleges
before receiving the assent of his parents does render
the issue on which the Plaintiff sought a declaratory
judgment to be a moot issue, the dispute has been
moot for several months but has nevertheless been
carried forth by the Plaintiff at considerable expense
to both parties in attorneys fees and legal expenses,
including both parties preparation for and attendance at a Motion for Summary Judgment hearing
held on January 9, 2014.
4. That, according to the Plaintiff s credit card
statements, attached hereto, an admission fee to
Virginia Tech was paid by the Plaintiff on December
6, 2013; despite having charged the Virginia Tech
admission fee on that date, when asked in Interrogatories to specify the date of the application to Virginia
Tech, the Plaintiff replied Unknown in her March
11, 2014 Interrogatory Answers. See attached Exhibits A and B.

App. 25
5. That the Defendant has incurred over
$15,000 in attorneys fees since December 6, 2013,
which would have been unnecessary had the Plaintiff
merely dismissed the Complaint for mootness at that
time rather than waiting until less than five business
days before trial to do so.
6. That the dismissal of the Complaint, if
granted by the Court, should be made conditional
upon its dismissal with prejudice and upon the Plaintiff s reimbursement to the Defendant of the attorneys fees incurred by him since the date of Johns
application to Virginia Tech on December 6, 2013.
WHEREFORE, Stephen D. Chamberlain, Defendant, requests this Honorable Court to grant the
Plaintiff s Request for Voluntary Dismissal, with
prejudice, and order the Plaintiff to reimburse the
Defendant his attorneys [fees] incurred since December 6, 2013, and for such other relief as the Court
may deem proper.
COUNCIL, BARADEL,
KOSMERL & NOLAN, P.A.
By: /s/ Kevin M. Schaeffer
Kevin M. Schaeffer
125 West Street, Fourth Floor
P.O. Box 2289
Annapolis, Maryland 21404
(410) 268-6600 Phone
(410) 269-8409 Facsimile
Email: KSchaeffer@cbknlaw.com
Attorneys for Defendant

App. 26
[Certificate Of Service Omitted]

[Exhibits Omitted]

App. 27
IN THE CIRCUIT COURT FOR
ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY, MARYLAND
JUDITH C. CHAMBERLAIN,
Plaintiff,
Case Number:
02-C-09-139690

vs.
STEPHEN D. CHAMBERLAIN,
Defendant.

OFFICIAL TRANSCRIPT OF PROCEEDINGS


(Merits Hearing)
Annapolis, Maryland
Friday, April 18, 2014
BEFORE:
HONORABLE PAUL F. HARRIS, JR.
APPEARANCES:
For the Plaintiff:
MARIETTA B. WARREN, ESQUIRE
SAMUEL J. BROWN, ESQUIRE
For the Defendant:
KEVIN SCHAEFFER, ESQUIRE
*

App. 28
[3] PROCEEDINGS
(9:13 a.m.)
THE COURT: Let me call Chamberlain
versus Chamberlain, its C-9-139690. Counsel, come
up and state your names [sic], please.
MR. BROWN: Your
Brown, B-R-O-W-N, and
MS. WARREN:
Honor, W-A-R-R-E-N.

Honor,

Marietta

Samuel

Warren,

J.

Your

MR. BROWN: on behalf of Ms. Chamberlain, whos seated in the middle here, Your Honor.
MR. SCHAEFFER: Your Honor, Kevin
Schaeffer, S-C-H-A-E-F-F-E-R, representing Mr.
Chamberlain.
THE COURT:
morning.

All right, gentlemen. Good

MR. SCHAEFFER:
THE COURT:
merits; is that correct?
MR. BROWN:

Good morning.

This is on the docket for


Yes, Your Honor.

THE COURT: Okay. And how long do you


anticipate this is going to take?
MR. BROWN: We originally set it for half
a day. I mean, I envisioned two witnesses. I think
Mr. Schaeffer has one or you [sic] two.

App. 29
MR. SCHAEFFER:
MR. BROWN:

I have one.

One.

[4] MR. SCHAEFFER: But, Your Honor, a


request for dismissal was filed by Mr. Brown on
Monday. It was responded to by me yesterday. I am
I just got this morning about one minute before you
came on the bench a four page document from Mr.
Brown indicating that he wants the Court to ignore
his request.
He alleged in the request for voluntary dismissal
that the issue to be tried today was moot. Now hes
saying its I guess hes saying its not moot and he
asked you to ignore his request for dismissal.
THE COURT:
request for dismissal?
MR. BROWN:

Are you withdrawing that


Yes, Your Honor.

THE COURT: Okay. All right. So that puts


us in a posture of back to the merits. Whats the
issue?
MR. SCHAEFFER: Your Honor, if I could
be heard on it. You cannot allege in a document that
an issue is moot and then un-moot it because you feel
like it. It is either moot or it isnt moot.
MR. BROWN:

Your Honor, if I

THE COURT: I dont know what that


means. You can dismiss a case if you file a any
action can be dismissed by a person

App. 30
MR. SCHAEFFER: But you cant change
the facts. Hes alleged, and we agree, that the issue to
be decided by [5] the Court and theres only one
issue
THE COURT:

Okay.

MR. SCHAEFFER: and I will read it to


you. The issue, if you look to the complaint filed by
Mr. Brown, in the addendum [ad damnum] clause
there are four requests, one is to set the matter in for
expedited hearing, one is to Section B, which is the
only substantive request is to order that the minor
child may apply to schools of his choice in order to
determine whether or not he qualifies for admission
and may be entitled to any scholarships. Paragraph C
is to award the Plaintiff attorneys fees and court costs
for having to pursue the matter and D, is such other
and further relief.
*

[6] MR. SCHAEFFER: Your Honor, to


reiterate, the only substantive request here is and
Im going to quote, order that the minor child may
apply to the schools of his choice in order to determine whether or not he qualifies for admission and
may be entitled to any scholarships.
He has applied to schools of his choice without
getting Mr. Chamberlains consent, which we have
contended is required. But hes gone ahead and done
it anyway.
*

App. 31
[7] MR. SCHAEFFER: We hand delivered
to your office to your chambers yesterday at 4:20
THE COURT:

Right.

MR. SCHAEFFER: our response, where


we admit that it is moot because John, the son, has
already gone ahead and filed his application and been
admitted to Virginia Tech.
THE COURT:

Okay.

MR. SCHAEFFER: The issue we wanted to


present to you was, that the issue has been moot
since December 6th of 2013. Thats the date that John
applied for application to what is apparently the
school of his first choice, that being Virginia Tech.
So, our question to the Court was, if it was moot
if its moot because he applied to Virginia Tech, it
was moot on December 6th, why did we have to why
did [8] Mr. Brown why did Ms. Chamberlain, not
Mr. Brown, but why did Ms. Chamberlain wait until
four business days before this trial to decide that the
issue was moot?
We tried to obtain information from Ms. Chamberlain as to when John actually applied to Virginia
Tech and as I if you look at my response she answered unknown. She answered unknown as to when
he applied to Virginia Tech in her answers to interrogatories on March 11th.
Well, in preparing for the hearing I went through
copious records provided of her credit card bills and,

App. 32
in fact, she paid for his application on December 6th
of 2013. This need not we need not
THE COURT: You know, Im hearing all
this in a vacuum, quite frankly. I have no idea what
the agreement says. Thats why were here today.
Now, Mr. Brown, a very direct question. Are you
proceeding with your original complaint?
MR. BROWN:
We talk
*

Yes, we are, Your Honor.


*

[11] THE COURT:

*
Lets put on some evi-

dence.
MR. BROWN:
THE COURT:
evidence.

Im prepared to.
Lets go. Lets put on some

MR. SCHAEFFER:
I can be heard?
THE COURT:

Your Honor, in my if

Okay.

MR. SCHAEFFER: Mr. Brown filed a


request for dismissal because the issue was moot. I
filed a response saying we agreed the issue is moot.
THE COURT:

Okay.

MR. SCHAEFFER:
not moot? Is that

And now the issue is

App. 33
THE COURT: I guess its not moot. Nobodys
theres not been a legal determination as to whether
its moot or not. I dont know
[12] MR. SCHAEFFER:
Your Honor

Well, let me then,

THE COURT: Are you saying that an


attorney cant withdraw a pleading if they file it?
MR. SCHAEFFER: No, Im saying an
attorney cant represent to the Court that the issue
he wanted decided is moot and then come in on the
morning of trial and say, I withdraw it, its not moot,
it is open for a determination at that point.
THE COURT:

So, how are prejudiced by

this?
MR. SCHAEFFER: Im prejudiced because
Im not here to try the case, Im here to
THE COURT: Wait a minute, Mr. Schaeffer,
come on. As of Friday you didnt do any preparation
MR. SCHAEFFER:
quested he requested
THE COURT:

Your Honor, he re-

on this case excuse me.

MR. SCHAEFFER:

Yes, Your Honor.

THE COURT: You didnt do any preparation on this case before Friday?
MR. SCHAEFFER: No, of course. Of course,
we have.

App. 34
THE COURT: Okay. Then whats your point?
MR. SCHAEFFER: But the issue but the
issue that is before the Court right now is whether or
not the request made by Mr. Brown to dismiss the
case should be [13] granted because well moot on
grounds of moot
THE COURT: I dont have such a motion,
hes already withdrawn it. How can I rule on a motion
thats been withdrawn?
MR. SCHAEFFER:
THE COURT:

Okay.

Lets proceed.

MR. SCHAEFFER: Your Honor, if we can


though and I know Im I know Im trying the
Courts patience
THE COURT: No, youre not. Youre doing
your job and Im not faulting you for that. Its just
that I like to deal in whats really at issue.
MR. SCHAEFFER:
THE COURT:

All right.

I dont like side smoke

screens.
MR. SCHAEFFER: Okay. Well, let me
suggest to you then, the only issue the Court has
before it today to decide
THE COURT:

Okay.

MR. SCHAEFFER: is found in the complaint at Paragraph B, order that the minor child

App. 35
may apply to schools of his choice in order to determine whether or not he qualifies for admission and
may be entitled to any scholarships. That is the only
thing and, Your Honor, remember in a declaratory
judgment it is it is different from a motion to enforce.
A declaratory judgment is a request by the Court
[14] to rule on a specific issue in controversy.
THE COURT: I think it was presented
though as alternative relief.
MR. SCHAEFFER: Your Honor, it is, but
theres no breach of any contract at this point. John
has not had [sic] gotten bill one from any school, so
theres no enforcement of any duty to pay.
THE COURT: Well, I guess thats up to
Mr. Brown to tell me specifically what he wants me to
consider today because Im still not clear.
MR. BROWN:

And thats

MR. SCHAEFFER:

No, Your Honor, it is

not
THE COURT:
15 minutes
MR. BROWN:

Weve been going on now for


And Your Honor?

MR. SCHAEFFER: Your Honor, but here is


but here is this is the danger here. The danger
here is Mr. Brown has presented to you a specific
issue, can John apply to schools to determine if he

App. 36
qualifies for a scholarship? Thats the issue the Court
is determining today. Im going to suggest to you that
Mr. Brown is going to try to expand it well beyond the
issue that he has raised as his declaratory judgment
as the issue he wants decided by the Court on
declaratory judgment.
At the end of the case, Your Honor, if you look at
[15] again at the Prayer B, the Court is going to
answer yes or no and that is all thats before the
Court at this time, because thats what a declaratory
judgment does. It frames the issue for the Courts
determination.
MR. BROWN: Your Honor, I know the
Court has heard a lot about this, but number one,
weve been and I apologize for saying this because
I dont like to say it. Weve been sandbagged in this
and its upsetting.
If you look at Paragraph 19 of our complaint, we
ask the Court, basically, to enforce the agreement.
Thats what we ask the Court to do. I called Mr.
Schaeffer on Monday and I said, Kevin, hes been
accepted to college
MR. SCHAEFFER: Im going to object. Im
going to object to any discussions
MR. BROWN:

This is my argument.

MR. SCHAEFFER:
MR. BROWN:
bagged us

like this, Your Honor.

You know what? He sand-

App. 37
MR. SCHAEFFER:

Im going to

MR. BROWN: and Im upset about this


because he we made a motion to dismiss this thing
for now for moot and I told Mr. Schaeffer, well file in
September when we know how much the tuition is so
we can do it all at one time. The Court doesnt like us
to do that, to postpone a case until then. I told Mr.
Schaeffer. Mr. Schaeffer originally agreed with me,
lets get rid of it.
*