Campbell v. State, No. 1103, Sept. Term, 2016

CourtCourt of Special Appeals of Maryland
Writing for the CourtWoodward, J.
Citation205 A.3d 76,240 Md.App. 428
Decision Date29 March 2019
Docket NumberNo. 1103, Sept. Term, 2016
Parties Clyde CAMPBELL v. STATE of Maryland

240 Md.App. 428
205 A.3d 76

STATE of Maryland

No. 1103, Sept. Term, 2016

Court of Special Appeals of Maryland.

March 29, 2019

Argued by: Peter F. Rose (Paul B. DeWolfe, Public Defender, on the brief), Baltimore, MD, for Appellant.

Argued by: Edward J. Kelly (Brian E. Frosh, Atty. Gen., on the brief), Baltimore, MD, for Appellee.

Panel: Nazarian, Friedman,* Woodward, JJ.**

Woodward, J.

240 Md.App. 433

On April 19, 2016, a jury sitting in the Circuit Court for Baltimore County convicted appellant, Clyde Campbell, of second degree murder. The court subsequently sentenced appellant to thirty years of incarceration. In this timely appeal, appellant presents two questions for our review, which we have reordered and rephrased as follows:1

1. Did the circuit court violate appellant's Sixth Amendment right to a public trial when the court excluded appellant's family members during a portion of voir dire , the entire selection of the jury,2 and the swearing-in of the members of the jury?

2. Did the circuit court err in denying appellant's motion to suppress his statements?

Because we conclude that the circuit court erred by excluding appellant's family members from the courtroom during a portion of voir dire , the entire selection of the jury, and the swearing-in of the members of the jury, we reverse appellant's conviction and remand the case for a new trial. Accordingly, we need not reach the second question on appeal, but in the interest of judicial economy we will briefly address one of appellant's challenges to the admissibility of his statements to the police.


Evidence produced during the trial showed that appellant and his son, Jesse

205 A.3d 80

Campbell, lived with appellant's long-term girlfriend, Dorothy Grubb, in her row house in Baltimore County. Jesse's recollection of the night of July 24, 2014, was

240 Md.App. 434

that appellant and Grubb got into an argument in the upstairs bathroom of Grubb's house and such argument did not cease until Jesse heard a "big bang." The commotion at the house also caught the attention of two next-door neighbors, who called 911 reporting suspected child abuse.

Officer Frederick Johnson responded to Grubb's house around 11:30 p.m. and knocked at the front door in an attempt to contact any occupants. Appellant refused to open the door, yelled obscenities, and eventually, turned off all interior lights. In an effort to investigate who else may be inside the home, Officer Johnson then went to the back of the house and discovered two individuals in an alley. When Officer Johnson identified himself, the two individuals began to run. Once the individuals were detained, they were identified as appellant and Jesse. After questioning the pair, the police let them return home, because the call to police had been about suspected child abuse and Jesse appeared unharmed. The police did not enter Grubb's house and were told by appellant that Grubb left to stay with a friend.

Later that night, Jesse observed appellant drive his truck to the back of the house. Jesse saw appellant place in the back of his truck a large tarp that appeared to have something "long and big" in it, and then drive away.

The next day, appellant asked Jesse if he wanted to go camping, and Jesse agreed. According to Jesse, the trip was not previously planned, and when they discovered that there were no available campsites, the two ended up driving to Ocean City. While on this trip, Jesse noticed that the tarp he saw on the night of July 24, 2014, was no longer in the back of appellant's truck, and the truck was "clear mostly."

While appellant and Jesse were on their trip, Grubb's daughter, Kristi Grubb, was unable to contact her mother. Kristi had gone to her mother's house on July 26, 2014, to pick her up to go swimming, but Grubb did not come to the door. Later that day, Kristi filed a missing person report, and based on that missing person's report, Detective Ryan Massey "obtained a search and seizure warrant for" Grubb's house on

240 Md.App. 435

July 27, 2014. The search of the house did not reveal the location of Grubb, but police did discover blood stains inside and outside the home.

On July 28, 2014, appellant called 911 at 3:44 a.m. to inform police that he would come down to the police station to discuss "Grubb being missing." Later that morning, police arrested appellant on an arrest warrant unrelated to Grubb's disappearance. Around 8:30 a.m., the police placed appellant in an interrogation room at police headquarters. At approximately 9:54 a.m., Detective Massey entered the room and began to advise appellant of his Miranda rights. After being advised of his rights, appellant signed a form indicating that he wished to waive those rights. Appellant then spoke to detectives.

On July 29, 2014, detectives from the homicide unit in Baltimore County conducted a search for Grubb, focusing on areas close to her house. In a wooded area near a highway "within two, two and a half miles" of Grubb's house, Detective Massey and Detective Craig Schrott discovered Grubb's remains wrapped in a blue tarp. The next day, Mary Jane Ripple, M.D., the deputy chief medical examiner for Maryland, determined that the cause of Grubb's death was "multiple injuries [including] sharp and blunt force injuries[,]" and the manner of death was homicide.

205 A.3d 81

Upon receiving the results of the autopsy, Detective Massey instructed Detective Schrott and Detective Joe Caskey to bring appellant to headquarters to inform him that he would be charged with the murder of Grubb. During transport, appellant inquired about Grubb, and made several other statements.

Shortly after appellant arrived at headquarters on the afternoon of July 30, 2014, Detective Massey informed appellant that police had found Grubb's body. Detective Massey then told appellant that the autopsy determined that her death was a homicide, and he would be charged with Grubb's murder. Upon appellant's inquiry as to why he was being charged with Grubb's murder, Detective Massey explained that some of the evidence indicated that appellant was responsible for her

240 Md.App. 436

death. In response, appellant proclaimed that Grubb's death was an accident and that she had fallen in the upstairs bathroom. Appellant was later indicted for the murder of Grubb.

Before trial, appellant filed several motions, including a motion to suppress all statements that he made to law enforcement. After a motions hearing on February 19, 2016, the circuit court denied appellant's motion to suppress.

On April 11, 2016, appellant's trial began with the voir dire of prospective jurors. In the afternoon session of the first day, the State brought to the court's attention that one of the jurors told the prosecutors that appellant's family was sitting in the jury box and asked whether that was permitted. The trial judge declined to address the issue at that time, and the voir dire continued until 6:31 p.m. that evening.

The next day, the voir dire recommenced at 9:38 a.m. Shortly thereafter, the clerk informed the trial judge that appellant's son3 wished to watch the proceedings, which prompted the following discussion:

[PROSECUTOR 1]: No, Your Honor. State's going to move to exclude [appellant's] son, sister, any other relatives from the courtroom today.

THE COURT: And the people that we're talking about now, they're not listed as witnesses?

[PROSECUTOR 1]: They're not. They're not witnesses.

[DEFENSE COUNSEL 1]: [Appellant] would oppose that. He's entitled to a fair and public trial, and that includes his family who are not witnesses being allowed to be in the courtroom for him as emotional support. Sometimes we accommodate that if there's no space, but there's clearly space at this point in the courtroom ; so I mean, I think they're entitled to come in if they want to.
240 Md.App. 437
They can't disrupt. They can't communicate with people. They just have to sit there.

[PROSECUTOR 1]: Your Honor.

THE COURT: Let me hear from the state.

[PROSECUTOR 1]: Thank you. Two things. First, [appellant's sister] who was present yesterday - - and I'm not sure if she's here today - - is going to be heard at the - - during the trial although she will not be called to testify.

There was a jail[ ] recording that Your Honor has already ruled admissible, and she is part of that conversation. Secondly, there is some evidence that they were fraternizing with the jury panel because one of the jurors mentioned to [prosecutors 1 and 2] yesterday that she was aware that family members of
205 A.3d 82
[appellant] were seated in the jury box.

[DEFENSE COUNSEL 1]: So the state brought that to our attention yesterday and I said to - - [defense counsels 1 and 2] talked to them yesterday at the end of the day about it because obviously we don't want to see a problem with

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1 practice notes
  • Moultrie v. State, No. 213, Sept. Term, 2017
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • March 29, 2019
    ...(1992). By the same token, a criminal defendant does not receive effective assistance of counsel if his defense attorney misinforms him 205 A.3d 76about a fact material to the length of incarceration, such as a three-judge panel's inability to increase the maximum sentence under a binding p......
1 cases
  • Moultrie v. State, No. 213, Sept. Term, 2017
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • March 29, 2019
    ...(1992). By the same token, a criminal defendant does not receive effective assistance of counsel if his defense attorney misinforms him 205 A.3d 76about a fact material to the length of incarceration, such as a three-judge panel's inability to increase the maximum sentence under a binding p......

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