Carr v. State, No. 46

CourtCourt of Appeals of Maryland
Writing for the CourtArgued before MURPHY; SMITH
Citation284 Md. 455,397 A.2d 606
Decision Date22 February 1979
Docket NumberNo. 46
PartiesLarry Tyrone CARR v. STATE of Maryland.

Page 455

284 Md. 455
397 A.2d 606
Larry Tyrone CARR
v.
STATE of Maryland.
No. 46.
Court of Appeals of Maryland.
Feb. 22, 1979.

Alfred L. Scanlan, Assigned Public Defender,Bethesda

Page 456

(Shea & Gardner and David B. Cook, Washington, D. C. on the brief), for appellant.

Valerie A. Leonhart, Asst. Atty. Gen., Baltimore (Francis B. Burch, Atty. Gen. and Clarence W. Sharp, Asst. Atty. Gen., Baltimore, on the brief), for appellee.

Argued before MURPHY, C. J., and SMITH, DIGGES, ELDRIDGE and COLE, JJ.

SMITH, Judge.

We granted the pro se petition of Larry Tyrone Carr (Carr) for the writ of certiorari in order that we might determine whether under the facts and circumstances of his criminal trial he had a right to obtain and use the written statements of a State's witness for purposes of cross-examination or impeachment. We conclude that he did. The decision of the Court of Special Appeals in Carr v. State, 39 Md.App. 478, 387 A.2d 302 (1978), was to the contrary.

Carr was convicted by a Baltimore City jury of assault with intent to murder, robbery with a deadly weapon, and use of a handgun in the commission of a crime of violence.

Pursuant to Maryland Rule 828 g the parties have agreed to a statement of facts. The facts related here basically are gleaned from that statement.

The victim, Kirk McCall (McCall), testified that he went home to obtain the necessary funds when he and two companions, Raymond Oliver and Larry Lewis, decided to purchase some narcotics. When he rejoined Oliver and Lewis, Carr was also present. McCall related subsequent events, including the production of a gun by Carr, a demand by Carr for money, the striking of Carr in the face by McCall with a cane, the shooting of McCall, and the extraction by Carr of money from McCall's pocket.

Carr claimed that he was not with McCall on the night in question, although he could not remember his exact whereabouts. He produced two witnesses in support of this testimony, Norman Johnson and Marion Harris. Johnson asserted he was in the vicinity when the shooting of McCall took place. He saw McCall lying on the ground immediately after the shooting. He observed a man who "stood over top"

Page 457

of [397 A.2d 607] McCall immediately thereafter. Johnson stated he saw no one else near the victim. He was " positive" that he did not see Carr that night. Harris claimed to have been with Johnson and to have seen McCall some two or three minutes before the shooting when McCall and another man walked past them. He said he had known Carr prior to the night in question but Carr was not McCall's companion. He did not see Carr anywhere in the neighborhood on that night.

The State called Oliver in rebuttal. Although his testimony is said to have differed from McCall's in several details, his version of the events was largely corroborative of McCall's, including a specific identification of Carr as McCall's assailant. Oliver testified on cross-examination that on the morning after the shooting he gave a signed statement to the police in which he specifically referred to Carr. When Oliver was asked if he "personally observe(d) Mr. Carr, the assailant standing over the victim," he equivocated in his answer by saying that he "wanted to get out of the way (; he) went across the street and laid beside the car." Oliver then went on to say:

I heard Mr. McCall hollering, "Somebody help me." When I tried to stand up beside the car, that's when I ain't seen nobody. I didn't see nobody at all. Then I just picked my crutches grabbed one of my crutches and stood up and went across the street and tried to assist him as best I could.

To a question as to whether he saw Lewis, Oliver replied that "Lewis had left too." The record then reflects:

Q. You didn't see the assailant, he was no longer around?

A. (No verbal reply; the witness indicated in the negative.)

Q. So it is your testimony then that after Mr. McCall gave the money back to the assailant, Mr. McCall then struck the assailant with his cane?

A. Yes, he did.

Page 458

Q. And as he struck the assailant with his cane he was shot, is that correct?

A. Yes.

Q. All right. Do you know personally that Mr. McCall was shot in the back?

A. Yeah, I know he was shot in the back.

Q. Do you recall in your statement to the police on May 27th, 1975 a statement that the assailant was standing over the victim?

THE COURT: Pardon me?

MR. FLEISCHMANN: Objection, Your Honor. That statement is not in evidence.

THE COURT: Sustained. If you want to use the statement you've got to quote from it, sir. You can't paraphrase it. If you're asking him whether he said something, you have to tell him what he said first, if you're going to use that statement. Yes?

A conference out of the hearing of the jury then took place. As the Court of Special Appeals put it:

Defense counsel responded by stating that although he had information as to the statement's contents, he did not have a copy. When he asked the court to require production of the statement the court refused ruling appellant was entitled to the statement only if it were exculpatory; and he was not entitled to the statement if it were only inconsistent. The court did note that the prosecutor could voluntarily furnish counsel with a copy but the prosecutor refused commenting, "It's too late for that crap." (39 Md.App. at 480, 387 A.2d at 304)

The agreed statement of facts states:

On three occasions after the trial judge's ruling, petitioner's trial counsel asked, and Oliver answered, questions as to whether Oliver's statement to the police included specified language. Petitioner's trial

Page 459

counsel did not ask the trial judge to examine the statement In camera, nor did he request that the statement be made part of the record.

The State's attorney said in his opening argument to the jury:

Mr. Oliver was called by the State as a rebuttal witness to rebut the fact that [397 A.2d 608] the defendant said, "I couldn't remember. I wasn't there, never saw Kirk McCall." If ever there were two witnesses in diametric opposition, it is the defendant's testimony and that of Mr. Oliver. Mr. Oliver told you point blank that he was no lily white pillar of the community. He's a man who's committed one or two crimes in his time. But that doesn't mean he is going to come in here and directly perjure himself. He told you what happened just the way it did happen.

He commented in the closing argument:

The evidence I submit clearly and unequivocably puts that burden on you to return a conviction on both of the charges for which he is charged on that evidence.

Mr. Oliver knows him and knows him well.

I submit to you that on the evidence and the identifications in court, Mr. Oliver knowing, in fact, the defendant for some period of years, off and on, seeing him around in the street, various clothing, when he first knew him he didn't have a beard and a goatee, afterwards he did, that on that evidence alone, if none other, the defendant is clearly guilty beyond any reasonable doubt and to a moral certainty, and I submit to you, in the words of Edmund Burke, an English philosopher about the time of the Revolutionary War, which gave us this great country we have, I would like to leave you with one of his quotes, and it is this, "That all that is

Page 460

necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men and women to sit and do nothing."

I thank you very much for your time and attention.

Jencks v. United States, 353 U.S. 657, 77 S.Ct. 1007, 1 L.Ed.2d 1103 (1957), is a landmark case insofar as discovery in criminal matters is concerned. Jencks had filed an affidavit with the National Labor Relations Board stating that he was not a communist. In a subsequent trial the issue was whether he had been a member of the Communist Party and thus had filed a false affidavit. After two government informants had testified against him, Jencks moved for an order directing the Federal Bureau of Investigation to make its reports available to him. The government opposed the motion on the ground that Jencks had failed to make "a preliminary foundation . . . of inconsistency between the contents of the reports and the testimony (of the witnesses)." Id. at 666, 77 S.Ct. at 1012. The trial judge refused to grant the motion, an action that was affirmed on direct appeal. The Supreme Court saw two parts to the problem, whether Jencks had a right to see the statements at all, and, if so, how he should go about obtaining them. The Court noted that the issue was not whether the statements were admissible, but whether they were subject to a disclosure order, stating, " 'For production purposes, it need only appear that the evidence is relevant, competent, and outside of any exclusionary rule . . . .' (Gordon v. United States,) 344 U.S. (414) at 420 (73 S.Ct. 369, 97 L.Ed. 447 (1953))." Id. at 667, 77 S.Ct. at 1012. It then went on to say:

The crucial nature of the testimony of Ford and Matusow to the Government's case is conspicuously apparent. The impeachment of that testimony was singularly important to the petitioner. The value of the reports for impeachment purposes was highlighted by the admissions of both witnesses that they could not remember what reports were oral and what written, and by Matusow's admission: "I don't recall what I put in my reports two or three years ago, written or oral, I don't know what they were."

Every experienced trial judge and trial lawyer

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knows the value for impeaching purposes of statements of the witness recording the events before time dulls treacherous memory. Flat contradiction between the witness' testimony and the version of the events given in his reports is not the only test of inconsistency. The omission from the reports of facts related at the trial, or a contrast in emphasis upon the same facts, even a different order of treatment, are also relevant to [397 A.2d 609] the cross-examining process of testing the credibility of a witness' trial testimony. (Id. at 667, 77 S.Ct....

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47 practice notes
  • Schmidt v. State, No. 15-1408
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • March 23, 2018
    ...are looked on with the utmost suspicion" (quoting Carr v. State , 39 Md.App. 478, 387 A.2d 302, 305–06 (1978), rev'd on other grounds , 284 Md. 455, 397 A.2d 606 (Md. 1979) ) ); Addai v. State , 893 N.W.2d 480, 483 (N.D. 2017) ("This Court reviews recanting testimony with suspicion and disf......
  • Jones v. State, Nos. 72
    • United States
    • Maryland Court of Appeals
    • September 16, 1987
    ...comments made by the prosecutor during closing argument. III Jones contends that his convictions must be reversed under Carr v. State, 284 Md. 455, 397 A.2d 606 (1979) because the State failed to disclose three prior statements of Mrs. Jordan, thus depriving him of the opportunity to cross-......
  • Robinson v. State, No. 89
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Maryland
    • May 25, 1999
    ...presented. II. The intermediate appellate court recognized that "[u]nder the principles adopted by the Court of Appeals in Carr v. State, 284 Md. 455, 397 A.2d 606 (1979), as well as Jencks v. United States, 353 U.S. 657, 77 S.Ct. 1007, 1 L.Ed.2d 1103 (1957), and the `Jencks Act,' 18 U.S.C.......
  • Yonga v. State, No. 2441, Sept. Term, 2013.
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • January 28, 2015
    ...response was unnecessary. The words of this Court in Carr v. State, 39 Md.App. 478, 484, 387 A.2d 302 (1978), rev'd on other grounds, 284 Md. 455, 397 A.2d 606 (1979), seem highly pertinent:We note, as did the trial judge, that post-trial recantation of witnesses are looked on with the utmo......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
47 cases
  • Schmidt v. State, No. 15-1408
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • March 23, 2018
    ...are looked on with the utmost suspicion" (quoting Carr v. State , 39 Md.App. 478, 387 A.2d 302, 305–06 (1978), rev'd on other grounds , 284 Md. 455, 397 A.2d 606 (Md. 1979) ) ); Addai v. State , 893 N.W.2d 480, 483 (N.D. 2017) ("This Court reviews recanting testimony with suspicion and disf......
  • Jones v. State, Nos. 72
    • United States
    • Maryland Court of Appeals
    • September 16, 1987
    ...comments made by the prosecutor during closing argument. III Jones contends that his convictions must be reversed under Carr v. State, 284 Md. 455, 397 A.2d 606 (1979) because the State failed to disclose three prior statements of Mrs. Jordan, thus depriving him of the opportunity to cross-......
  • Robinson v. State, No. 89
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Maryland
    • May 25, 1999
    ...presented. II. The intermediate appellate court recognized that "[u]nder the principles adopted by the Court of Appeals in Carr v. State, 284 Md. 455, 397 A.2d 606 (1979), as well as Jencks v. United States, 353 U.S. 657, 77 S.Ct. 1007, 1 L.Ed.2d 1103 (1957), and the `Jencks Act,' 18 U.S.C.......
  • Yonga v. State, No. 2441, Sept. Term, 2013.
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • January 28, 2015
    ...response was unnecessary. The words of this Court in Carr v. State, 39 Md.App. 478, 484, 387 A.2d 302 (1978), rev'd on other grounds, 284 Md. 455, 397 A.2d 606 (1979), seem highly pertinent:We note, as did the trial judge, that post-trial recantation of witnesses are looked on with the utmo......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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