Grandison v. State, 64

CourtCourt of Appeals of Maryland
Writing for the CourtArgued before MURPHY; KARWACKI; Dissenting Opinion by BLOOM, J., in which BELL, J., joins and RAKER; BLOOM; BELL
Citation341 Md. 175,670 A.2d 398
PartiesAnthony GRANDISON v. STATE of Maryland. ,
Docket NumberNo. 64,64
Decision Date01 September 1994

Page 175

341 Md. 175
670 A.2d 398
STATE of Maryland.
No. 64, Sept. Term, 1994.
Court of Appeals of Maryland.
Dec. 27, 1995.
Reconsideration Denied Feb. 5, 1996.

[670 A.2d 406]

Page 192

Ira Mickenberg, Assigned Public Defender, Washington, DC, for appellant.

Tarra DeShields-Minnis, Assistant Attorney General (J. Joseph Curran, Jr., Attorney General; Gwynn X. Kinsey, Jr., Assistant Attorney General, all on brief), Baltimore, for appellee.

Argued before MURPHY, C.J., and ELDRIDGE, RODOWSKY, KARWACKI, BELL, RAKER, and THEODORE G. BLOOM, Specially Assigned, JJ.


Anthony Grandison, the appellant, hired Vernon Lee Evans, Jr. to kill David Scott Piechowicz and his wife, Cheryl, who were scheduled to testify against Grandison in a narcotics case pending in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland. Evans was to receive $9,000.00 from Grandison for committing the murders. On April 28, 1983, Evans went to the Warren House motel in Baltimore County where Mr. and Mrs. Piechowicz worked and shot and killed David Scott

Page 193

Piechowicz and Susan Kennedy. Susan Kennedy, Cheryl Piechowicz's sister, was killed because Evans apparently mistook her for Cheryl.

Grandison was charged in the Circuit Court for Baltimore County with two first degree murders, conspiracy to commit the murders, and use of a handgun in the commission of crimes of violence in the deaths of David Scott Piechowicz and Susan Kennedy. After being notified of the State's intent to seek the death penalty, Grandison had the trial of the case removed to Somerset County, pursuant to Maryland Const. Art. IV, § 8(b). While Grandison was awaiting trial on the state charges, he was convicted in the federal court on both narcotics charges and witness tampering charges brought against him in connection with the murders. 1 Thereafter, Grandison moved to dismiss the state charges on the ground that the federal convictions for witness tampering and civil rights violations and the sentences thereon constituted a double jeopardy bar to the pending state court trial. The trial court denied his motion, and on appeal of that interlocutory order we affirmed that judgment pursuant to the dual sovereignty exception to the Double Jeopardy Clause. Evans [and Grandison] v. State, 301 Md. 45, 481 A.2d 1135 (1984), cert. denied, 470 U.S. 1034, 105 S.Ct. 1411, 84 L.Ed.2d 795 (1985) (Grandison I ).

In February of 1984, Grandison was tried on the state charges before a jury in the [670 A.2d 407] Circuit Court for Somerset County and was convicted on all counts. At the conclusion of the ensuing capital sentencing proceeding, the jury returned separate sentences of death on the two murder convictions. The court imposed a life sentence for the conspiracy conviction and a twenty-year sentence for the handgun conviction to run

Page 194

consecutively with Grandison's federal sentences. The state convictions and sentences were appealed to this court pursuant to Maryland Code (1957, 1982 Repl.Vol.), Art. 27, § 414(a). We affirmed those judgments and the Supreme Court of the United States denied certiorari. Grandison v. State, 305 Md. 685, 506 A.2d 580, cert. denied, 479 U.S. 873, 107 S.Ct. 38, 93 L.Ed.2d 174 (1986) (Grandison II ).

On November 1, 1990, Grandison filed a petition, pursuant to Md.Code (1957, 1987 Repl.Vol., 1990 Cum.Supp.), Art. 27, § 645A, in the Circuit Court for Somerset County seeking post conviction relief. On July 31, 1992, the circuit court granted such relief, ordering a new capital sentencing proceeding on Grandison's convictions of first degree murder. Relying upon the Supreme Court's decision in Mills v. Maryland, 486 U.S. 367, 108 S.Ct. 1860, 100 L.Ed.2d 384 (1988), 2 the circuit court granted the requested relief on the grounds that the sentencing form and related jury instructions employed at Grandison's first sentencing proceeding offended the dictates of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution that the death penalty not be imposed where there are mitigating factors which may call for a less severe penalty. The circuit court also decided that Grandison was entitled to retroactive application of the Mills decision. The State applied to this Court for leave to appeal from the circuit court's grant of post conviction relief as to the death sentences, and Grandison filed a cross-application seeking review of the circuit court's denial of collateral relief on the underlying convictions. We denied both applications. Grandison v. State, Misc. No. 29, Sept. Term, 1992 (order filed October 23, 1992). The Supreme Court denied a petition and cross-petition for writ of certiorari on March 22, 1993. Maryland v. Grandison, 507 U.S. 985, 113 S.Ct. 1581, 123 L.Ed.2d

Page 195

149 (1993); Grandison v. Maryland, 507 U.S. 985, 113 S.Ct. 1581, 123 L.Ed.2d 149 (1993).

In 1993, Grandison filed a number of motions in the circuit court to bar his resentencing on double jeopardy grounds. The circuit court denied these motions and Grandison's subsequent request for a stay of the resentencing proceeding pending an appeal of the circuit court's ruling on his motions. Grandison then applied to the Court of Special Appeals for a stay of the resentencing. On May 11, 1994 the matter was transferred to this Court. We issued an order denying the requested stay. Grandison v. State, Misc. No. 20, Sept. Term, 1994 (order filed May 12, 1994).

At the conclusion of Grandison's capital resentencing proceeding, conducted May 19, 1994 through June 3, 1994, a Somerset County jury imposed two death sentences upon him. Grandison has appealed these judgments pursuant to Md.Code (1957, 1992 Repl.Vol., 1994 Cum.Supp.), Art. 27, § 414 and Maryland Rule 8-306(c)(1). We shall consider each of Grandison's 29 contentions 3 as to why those judgments should be reversed, adding additional facts where necessary. 4

[670 A.2d 408] We note preliminarily that we have long held that a defendant in a criminal case who chooses to represent himself is subject to the same rules regarding reviewability and waiver of questions not raised at trial as one who is represented by counsel. See, e.g., Midgett v. State, 223 Md. 282, 298, 164 A.2d 526, 535 (1960). Grandison apparently understood

Page 196

this principle early on as evidenced by the following exchange which occurred during the August 27, 1993 hearing on his request to discharge his then assigned public defenders:

"[The Court:] Do you understand that if you are placed in a position where you have to represent yourself, that you will be held accountable to the same rules of practice and procedure as well as the attorneys who represent the State ... do you understand that?

"[Grandison:] I understand that."


The appellant raises the question of whether the "murder for hire" aggravating circumstance found in Md.Code (1957, 1992 Repl.Vol.), Art. 27, § 413(d)(7) genuinely narrows the class of defendants eligible for the death penalty. Grandison argues that applying the death penalty in this case would violate his rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution and Article 25 of the Maryland Declaration of Rights.

There can be "no perfect procedure for deciding in which cases governmental authority should be used to impose death." Lockett v. Ohio, 438 U.S. 586, 605, 98 S.Ct. 2954, 2965, 57 L.Ed.2d 973, 990 (1978). "[B]ecause there is a qualitative difference between death and any other permissible form of punishment, 'there is a corresponding difference in the need for reliability in the determination that death is the appropriate punishment in a specific case.' " Zant v. Stephens, 462 U.S. 862, 884-85, 103 S.Ct. 2733, 2747, 77 L.Ed.2d 235, 255 (1983) (quoting Woodson v. North Carolina, 428 U.S. 280, 305, 96 S.Ct. 2978, 2991, 49 L.Ed.2d 944, 961 (1976)). In Zant, the Supreme Court stated that, to comply with the Eighth Amendment, a state must "genuinely narrow the class of persons eligible for the death penalty and must reasonably justify the imposition of a more severe sentence on the defendant compared to others found guilty of murder." Zant, 462 U.S. at 877, 103 S.Ct. at 2742, 77 L.Ed.2d at 249-50. To meet this reliability requirement, a state must permit the

Page 197

sentencer to make an individualized determination on the basis of the character of the individual and the circumstances of the crime. Id. at 879, 103 S.Ct. at 2744, 77 L.Ed.2d at 251.

This narrowing function may be accomplished at either the guilt/innocence or penalty stage of a capital case. The legislature may either narrow the definition of capital offenses so that the jury finding of guilt responds to this concern or define capital offenses more broadly and provide for narrowing by jury findings of aggravating circumstances at the penalty phase. Lowenfield v. Phelps, 484 U.S. 231, 246, 108 S.Ct. 546, 555, 98 L.Ed.2d 568, 582 (1988).

Although narrowing may occur within the definition of first-degree murder, the use of statutorily prescribed aggravating circumstances is a more ideal tool with which to genuinely narrow the class of death-eligible defendants. Id. at 244-45, 108 S.Ct. at 554, 98 L.Ed.2d at 581-82. In the instant case, Grandison contends that the Maryland capital sentencing scheme is unconstitutional because the aggravating circumstance upon which the sentencing authority relied in imposing the death penalty did not truly narrow the class of murderers eligible for the death penalty. He points out that "he was only eligible for the death penalty because the State alleged that he hired Vernon Evans to commit murder." Grandison maintains that the duplicate use of the fact that he hired Evans to commit murder did not have the net effect of reducing the size of the class of death-eligible defendants at the penalty phase, but left the class at exactly the same size it was at the guilt/innocence phase.

There is no question that under Maryland law the...

To continue reading

Request your trial
208 cases
  • State v. Santiago, No. 17413.
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court
    • 12 Junio 2012
  • Tyrone W. v. DANIELLE R.
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • 3 Diciembre 1999 expressed. State Administrative Board v. Election Board of Baltimore, 342 Md. 586, 601, 679 A.2d 96 (1996); Grandison v. State, 341 Md. 175, 257, 670 A.2d 398 (1995); Mason v. State, 309 Md. 215, 219-20, 522 A.2d 1344 (1987); Aviles v. Eshelman Elec. Corp., 281 Md. 529, 533, 379 A.2d 122......
  • Reed v. State
    • United States
    • Maryland Court of Appeals
    • 21 Abril 1999
    ...been established and presented to the jury without objection through the prior testimony of other witnesses. Grandison v. State, 341 Md. 175, 218-19, 670 A.2d 398 (1995), cert. denied, 519 U.S. 1027, 117 S.Ct. 581, 136 L.Ed.2d 512 (1996). In the present case, [petitioner] objected to the ad......
  • Loving v. Hart
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals, Armed Forces Court of Appeals
    • 26 Febrero 1998
    ...actually killed during the felony eligible for death. See Johnson v. Dugger, 932 F.2d 1360, 1369-70 (11th Cir. 1991); Grandison v. State, 670 A.2d 398, 409 (Md. 1995); 468 A.2d at 75. VI RCM 1004(c)(8) and Intent to kill Assuming an intent to kill is required as a necessary aggravating fact......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT