In any criminal case, there are varying forms of success. Obviously, the primary target the defendant seeks is an acquittal. However, even if the result of a trial is a conviction, there are still battles to be won, such as ensuring that your case does not result in you receiving a sentence that is illegally severe. Whether you are at the point of battling for an acquittal or battling for a fair sentence, you need an experienced Maryland criminal defense attorney who knows how to fight for you.
The case of K.V. shows how important this can be. K.V. was a man on trial for multiple felonies based upon events that occurred when K.V. was 17 years of age. Allegedly, K.V. was a member of a group that carjacked a 26-year-old man in Baltimore. K.V. was the member who took the wheel of the stolen car. With K.V. behind the wheel, others took the vehicle owner and put him in the car’s trunk, where they reportedly shot him five times. Later, the group set the car on fire.
Of the numerous criminal charges that K.V. faced, two were kidnapping and armed carjacking. The accused was eventually found guilty on all charges and the trial judge issued separate sentences for each of the crimes involved.
That sentencing was the heart of K.V.’s appeal. His argument before the appeals court was that the trial court should have “merged” either the kidnapping or the armed carjacking crime with the top county in the case, felony murder. “Merger” is something that happens when an accused person allegedly commits multiple crimes in a single act and the law calls for two of those crimes to be combined, or merged, into one. If two crimes are merged, the defendant cannot be sentenced separately for both.
In K.V.’s case, his jury never indicated whether it was the kidnapping or the armed carjacking that was the basis for finding him guilty of felony murder. When the court announced the man’s sentence, it should have merged either the kidnapping or the armed carjacking, but it merged neither. The appeals court concluded that this made K.V.’s an “illegal sentence.” That meant that K.V. was entitled to have his case remanded to the trial court, where the judge would issue a new sentence. At that time, the judge would merge one of the carjacking or kidnapping crimes with the felony murder crime and remove the sentence for whichever crime was merged.
Whenever you or a loved one finds yourself facing serious criminal charges, you want legal counsel who is equipped to fight for you every step of the way. That includes fighting for you before you go trial, at your trial and, if necessary, at your sentencing hearing. To protect your rights fully, put the power of legal knowledge on your side by retaining skilled Maryland criminal defense attorney Anthony A. Fatemi, who has been providing effective representation for the accused in Maryland for many years. To learn more, contact us at 301-519-2801 or via our online form.
More blog posts:
The Legal Doctrine of ‘Merger’ Helps a Maryland Defendant Obtain a Re-Sentencing, Maryland Criminal Lawyer Blog, Oct. 9, 2018
Maryland Court Reviews Allegations of an “Illegal Sentence” in Criminal Case, Maryland Criminal Lawyer Blog, Jan. 22, 2016