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Kelly v. Montgomery Cnty. Office of Child Enforcement

Court of Special Appeals of Maryland

February 24, 2016

BYRON ALEXANDER KELLY
v.
MONTGOMERY COUNTY OFFICE OF CHILD ENFORCEMENT, ET AL

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Montgomery County. Joseph A. Dugan, JUDGE

         SUBMITTED BY: Pro Se. FOR APPELLANT

         SUBMITTED BY: Karen H. Rohrbaugh (Brian B. Frosh, Attorney General on the brief) all of Baltimore, MD. FOR APPELLEE

         ARGUED BEFORE Kehoe, Leahy, Raker, Irma, S., (Retired, Specially Assigned), JJ.

          OPINION

Page 405

         [227 Md.App. 107] Kehoe, J.

          Maryland law authorizes a judgment creditor to attach assets of the debtor to satisfy the judgment. Our attachment law has a number of exemptions. In this case, we must decide whether one such exemption is available in child support enforcement actions.

         The chain of events giving rise to this appeal began in 2014 when the Montgomery County Office of Child Support Enforcement (the " Office" ) sought to collect a judgment of $9,866.80 against Byron Alexander Kelly for unpaid child [227 Md.App. 108] support. At the request of the Office, the Circuit Court for Montgomery County issued a writ of garnishment against Capital One Bank, N.A. There were two accounts in Kelly's name at the bank with a combined balance of $2,705.05. The bank reported this information to the court and suspended activity in the accounts pending a court order.

         Kelly then filed a motion to release the two accounts from the levy.[1] He based his motion on Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article (" CJP" ) § 11-504(b)(5), which permits a judgment debtor under certain circumstances to elect to exempt up to $6,000 in cash or other property from a levy to satisfy a money judgment. After an evidentiary hearing, the Circuit Court for Montgomery County denied Kelly's motion and separately ordered Capital One to pay the account proceeds to the Office.

         Kelly has appealed both orders and presents four questions to us. We have consolidated and reworded them as follows:

(1) Did the trial court correctly interpret the exemption contained in CJP § 11-504(b)(5) to be inapplicable in actions to collect child support arrears?
(2) Were the trial court's findings as to the source of the funds in the accounts clearly erroneous?

         We will affirm the trial court's judgment.

         Analysis

         1. Were the account proceeds exempt from garnishment?

         1.1. The Applicable Rules of Statutory Construction

         In resolving the issues in this appeal, we will pay heed to the following guidelines of statutory interpretation:

[227 Md.App. 109] (1) Our purpose is to " ascertain and effectuate the real and actual intent of the Legislature." Employees' Ret. Sys. of City of Baltimore v. Dorsey, 430 Md. 100, 112, 59 A.3d 990 (2013);
(2) In this context, " intent" means " the legislative purpose, [that is] the ends to be accomplished, or the evils to be

Page 406

remedied" by the statute in question, id. ;
(3) We usually identify the legislative purpose by considering the plain language of the statute " within the context of the statutory scheme to which it belongs, considering the purpose, aim, or policy of the Legislature in enacting the statute." State v. ...

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