Antoine v. State, No. 2880, Sept. Term, 2018

CourtCourt of Special Appeals of Maryland
Writing for the CourtFader, C.J.
Citation226 A.3d 1170,245 Md.App. 521
Parties Gary ANTOINE v. STATE of Maryland, et al.
Docket NumberNo. 2880, Sept. Term, 2018
Decision Date14 April 2020

245 Md.App. 521
226 A.3d 1170

Gary ANTOINE
v.
STATE of Maryland, et al.

No. 2880, Sept. Term, 2018

Court of Special Appeals of Maryland.

April 14, 2020


Argued by: Victor D. Stone, Upper Marlboro, MD, for Appellant.

Argued by: Sarah P. Pritzlaff (Brian E. Frosh, Atty. Gen. on the brief), Baltimore, MD, for the State of Maryland.

J. Wyndal Gordon, Baltimore, MD, for Dorian Bostic.

Panel: Fader, C.J., Beachley, James A. Kenney, III (Senior Judge, Specially Assigned), JJ.

Fader, C.J.

226 A.3d 1175
245 Md.App. 530

Over the past several decades, the General Assembly has tried repeatedly to provide meaningful rights to crime victims that can be enforced without violating the constitutional rights of criminal defendants. Over that same period, the Court of Appeals similarly "has continuously balanced the legislature's public policy mandate of affording victims broad rights against the need for appropriate limitations." Lopez v. State , 458 Md. 164, 179, 181 A.3d 810 (2018). Here, we are called upon to determine whether the rights of a crime victim were violated in the course of criminal proceedings that resulted in a guilty plea agreement and, if so, whether a remedy exists that can be enforced without violating the constitutional rights of the criminal defendant.

Gary Antoine, the appellant, was assaulted by Dorian Bostic, the appellee. During a hearing that a prosecutor advised Mr. Antoine not to attend, the Circuit Court for Baltimore City became involved in negotiating a plea agreement with Mr. Bostic and, without first hearing from Mr. Antoine, bound itself to a disposition of probation before judgment. When Mr. Antoine subsequently asked the court to reconsider its decision and hear from him before reaching a final determination regarding Mr. Bostic's sentence, the court responded that it lacked authority to reopen Mr. Bostic's disposition.

245 Md.App. 531

Mr. Antoine now argues that the circuit court's actions denied him his constitutional and statutory right to present victim impact evidence before sentencing. We agree. When a victim has invoked sufficiently his or her right to present victim impact evidence before sentencing, a court errs as a matter of law if it approves a plea agreement that binds the court to a particular sentence without first giving the victim a reasonable opportunity to present appropriate victim impact evidence. We also hold that when such an error occurs, § 11-103(e)(2) of the Criminal Procedure Article (Repl. 2018; Supp. 2019) authorizes a remedy that is both effective and respectful of the constitutional rights of defendants. That remedy is to vacate the sentence and the trial court's final approval of the plea agreement, and require the court to receive and consider victim impact evidence before deciding whether to give final approval of the plea agreement. We will apply that remedy here.

BACKGROUND

Maryland's Statutes Protecting the Rights of Crime Victims

Protections for the rights of crime victims in Maryland are contained in both Article 47 of the Declaration of Rights, and in Title 11 of the Criminal Procedure Article.1 Of particular relevance here, § 11-402 establishes a crime victim's right to present, and the sentencing court's obligation to consider, a victim impact statement; and § 11-403 establishes the victim's right to address the court before the court imposes a sentence or other disposition.

226 A.3d 1176

As set forth in § 11-402(e), a "victim impact statement" must identify the victim; itemize the victim's economic loss; identify and describe the seriousness of any physical injuries; "describe any change in the victim's personal welfare or familial

245 Md.App. 532

relationships"; "identify any request for psychological services"; identify any request to prohibit contact with the victim; and "contain any other information related to the impact on the victim or the victim's family that the court requires." Section 11-402(b) provides that "[i]f the court does not order a presentence investigation or predisposition investigation, the prosecuting attorney or the victim may prepare a victim impact statement to be submitted to the court and the defendant ... in accordance with the Maryland Rules." Section 11-402(d) requires the court to "consider the victim impact statement in determining the appropriate sentence or disposition and in entering a judgment of restitution for the victim ...."

Section 11-403(b) provides that "the court, if practicable, shall allow the victim or the victim's representative to address the court under oath before the imposition of sentence or other disposition." A victim who chooses to address the court is subject to cross-examination "limited to the factual statements made [by the victim] to the court," id. § 11-403(c), but a victim also has a right not to address the court, id. § 11-403(d).2

The rights of victims are further specified in § 11-103(b) and (e). Section 11-103(b) provides appellate rights to crime victims. That section provides, in pertinent part:

Although not a party to a criminal or juvenile proceeding, a victim of a crime for which the defendant ... is charged may file an ... appeal to the Court of Special Appeals from a final order that denies or fails to consider a right secured
245 Md.App. 533
to the victim by subsection (e)(4) of this section, ... § 11-402, [or] § 11-403, ... of this title ....[3 ]

Section 11-103(e) makes courts responsible for ensuring that victims' rights are honored, and authorizes them to fashion appropriate remedies if not:

(1) In any court proceeding involving a crime against a victim, the court shall ensure that the victim is in fact afforded the rights provided to victims by law.

(2) If a court finds that a victim's right was not considered or was denied, the court may grant the victim relief provided the remedy does not violate the constitutional right of a defendant ... to be free from double jeopardy.
226 A.3d 1177
(3) A court may not provide a remedy that modifies a sentence of incarceration of a defendant ... unless the victim requests relief from a violation of the victim's right within 30 days of the alleged violation.

(4)(i) A victim who alleges that the victim's right to restitution under § 11-603 of this title was not considered or was improperly denied may file a motion requesting relief within 30 days of the denial or alleged failure to consider.

(ii) If the court finds that the victim's right to restitution under § 11-603 of this title was not considered or was improperly denied, the court may enter a judgment of restitution.

Section 11-103(e)(1) thus requires a court to ensure that a victim's statutory rights are protected; § 11-103(e)(2) authorizes a court to provide a remedy if it finds that those rights have not been protected; and § 11-103(e)(3) expressly contemplates

245 Md.App. 534

that such a remedy might include the modification or alteration of a sentence.

With this statutory background in mind, we turn to the case before us.

Factual Background

The State presented the following recitation to provide the factual basis in support of Mr. Bostic's guilty plea:

[V]ictim Antoine[,] Gary, is a teacher at Patterson High School. [Mr. Antoine] was leaving the school building when [Mr. Bostic] pepper sprayed [him]. [Mr. Bostic] ... then pulled out an aluminum bat, was swinging at [Mr. Antoine]. [Mr. Bostic] hit [Mr. Antoine] with the bat on [Mr. Antoine]'s right forearm and left wrist. [Mr. Bostic] then ran to his car and shouted, "I'm going to run you over" to [Mr. Antoine]. [Mr. Bostic] sped out of the parking lot.

[Mr. Antoine] was transported to Hopkins Bayview for his injuries. [Mr. Antoine]'s right ulna was found to be broken during the assault. [Mr. Antoine] received medication for pain management and was referred to an orthopedic surgeon for surgery needed ... to correct his injury.

[Mr. Antoine] was able to identify [Mr. Bostic] because they taught together at Patterson High School in 2015. Incident was also captured on school security video. Other witnesses also saw the assault and were able to identify [Mr. Bostic], during which ... [Mr. Antoine]'s laptop, remote control drone, smart watch, and camera were damaged to the amount of approximately $3,000. If called to testify, all witnesses would identify [Mr. Bostic]. All of this did occur in Baltimore City, Maryland.

Mr. Bostic accepted the State's factual recitation, with the exception of "the swinging of the bat and the attempt to run over in the vehicle."

The October 15, 2018 Guilty Plea and Sentencing Hearing

On October 15, 2018, Mr. Bostic appeared in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City for his scheduled trial date. Because the prosecutor assigned to the case was on paternity leave, a

245 Md.App. 535...

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2 practice notes
  • Brown v. State, Misc. No. 30, Sept. Term, 2018
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • August 24, 2020
    ...American Bar Association relating to guilty pleas in criminal cases. See Sharp , 446 Md. at 697-99, 133 A.3d 1089 ; Antoine v. State , 245 Md. App. 521, 551 n.9, 226 A.3d 1170 (2020).6 See CR § 5-101(g)(1). Recent amendments that altered some of these schedules were enacted after the offens......
  • Brown v. State, Misc. No. 30
    • United States
    • Maryland Court of Special Appeals
    • August 24, 2020
    ...publication of the American Bar Association relating to guilty pleas in criminal cases. See Sharp, 446 Md. at 697-99; Antoine v. State, 245 Md. App. 521, 551 n.9 (2020). 6. See CR §5-101(g)(1). Recent amendments that altered some of these schedules were enacted after the offenses were commi......
2 cases
  • Brown v. State, Misc. No. 30, Sept. Term, 2018
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • August 24, 2020
    ...American Bar Association relating to guilty pleas in criminal cases. See Sharp , 446 Md. at 697-99, 133 A.3d 1089 ; Antoine v. State , 245 Md. App. 521, 551 n.9, 226 A.3d 1170 (2020).6 See CR § 5-101(g)(1). Recent amendments that altered some of these schedules were enacted after the offens......
  • Brown v. State, Misc. No. 30
    • United States
    • Maryland Court of Special Appeals
    • August 24, 2020
    ...publication of the American Bar Association relating to guilty pleas in criminal cases. See Sharp, 446 Md. at 697-99; Antoine v. State, 245 Md. App. 521, 551 n.9 (2020). 6. See CR §5-101(g)(1). Recent amendments that altered some of these schedules were enacted after the offenses were commi......

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