Maryland takes handgun offenses seriously. As such, if you are arrested for a handgun offense, it is important to retain a good trial lawyer who can mount strong challenges to the prosecution’s evidence. A recent case illustrates the importance of presenting a strong case at trial, rather than relying on appellate procedures in the event something goes wrong.
The case arose when a man (who eventually became a victim) drove to visit his father in Baltimore City, Maryland. Later the man visited his father’s friend. A group was gathered there. While at the house, the man decided to use the computer. The defendant knocked at the front door and entered. The defendant asked the man was he was doing. The man explained he was looking at a website with girls.
The defendant sat down next to the man and asked him questions, which made him uncomfortable. Finally the man confronted him and told him to sit by the front door where he was sitting before. The defendant refused. The man threatened to beat him up. The defendant got up and calmly left. He came back, however, with a revolver, with which he threatened the man.
The man ran away and crashed through a glass window. He heard a gunshot behind him and got hit. After awhile, he hid and saw someone he thought was the defendant and another man running away. He eventually got someone to let him into a house so he could call the paramedics.
At trial, the person who the victim had been visiting testified that he had been out purchasing a snack and a few minutes after returning to his bedroom, he saw the victim crash through the window. He also testified he saw someone tussling with the defendant near the front door. His roommate testified that the person who came back with guns was not the defendant.
The jury submitted a note to the judge on the second day. It indicated that it was unable to reach agreement on the charges. The defendant moved for a mistrial, but the judge denied it. An hour later the jury came to a verdict of guilty on five of seven counts.
The defense filed a motion for new trial arguing that the jury foreman saw the defendant in shackles, which violated the defendant’s right to a fair trial. The court denied the motion, reasoning the juror hadn’t seen that the defendant was being escorted by police. The judge sentenced the defendant to 20 years for the 5 convictions. One of the convictions was for possession of a firearm.
The defendant appealed. Among other things, he argued that the judge should have granted his motion for judgment of acquittal because the evidence was not enough to show he had a firearm or that he shot the victim.
The appellate court disagreed that the evidence was insufficient. It explained that the witnesses had testified sufficiently such that a jury could find the defendant in possession of a weapon. The victim, for example, had testified about what the weapon looked like. Others had testified that the defendant was in possession of a firearm.
The jury had the opportunity to watch the individuals as they testified and review their credibility. The appellate court upheld their findings on this count and the others. There are many charges associated with handgun violence. Consult an experienced Maryland criminal defense attorney to get the best defense against all charges. Contact us at 301-519-2801 or via our online form.
The Voluntary Intoxication Instruction, Maryland Criminal Lawyer Blog, June 25. 2013
Maryland Mother Loses Her Daughters, Maryland Criminal Lawyer Blog, June 24, 2013