Jeffreys v. State, 030719 MDSCA, 186-2018

Docket Nº:186-2018
Opinion Judge:PER CURIAM
Party Name:MICHAEL MERRELL JEFFREYS v. STATE OF MARYLAND
Judge Panel:Graeff, Arthur, Moylan, Charles E., Jr. (Senior Judge, Specially Assigned), JJ.
Case Date:March 07, 2019
Court:Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
 
FREE EXCERPT

MICHAEL MERRELL JEFFREYS

v.

STATE OF MARYLAND

No. 186-2018

Court of Special Appeals of Maryland

March 7, 2019

Circuit Court for Prince George's County Case No. CT880656A

Graeff, Arthur, Moylan, Charles E., Jr. (Senior Judge, Specially Assigned), JJ.

OPINION [*]

PER CURIAM

In 1989, Michael Jeffreys, appellant, was convicted of the first-degree murders of Anthony Jones and Reginald Brown, as well as other related offenses, following a jury trial in the Circuit Court for Prince George's County. Relevant to this appeal, Mr. Jeffreys was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of Brown. He was 16 years old at the time he committed the crimes.

In 2018, Mr. Jeffreys filed a motion to correct illegal sentence, asserting that his life sentence for the murder of Brown was illegal because it was an "indefinite" sentence that lacked a determinable end date. He also raised various challenges to Maryland's parole scheme, claiming that the lack of "standards" for determining his parole eligibility violated the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article 25 of the Maryland Declaration of Rights, and thus rendered his sentence illegal. The circuit court denied Mr. Jeffreys' motion without a hearing. Because Mr. Jeffreys' life sentence is legal, we affirm.

Although Mr. Jeffreys raises five issues regarding the legality of his life sentence, his claims essentially fall into two categories. First, he contends that the indefinite nature of a life sentence renders it illegal. But that claim lacks merit as the Court of Appeals has held that "[t]he imposition of a life sentence for first-degree murder is a sentence permitted by law." State v. Wilkins, 393 Md. 269, 276 (2006). To be sure, Mr. Jeffreys's sentence is "indefinite" in the sense that his life expectancy is unknowable and there is no guarantee when he will be paroled or if he will even be paroled before the end of his life. However, that does not render his sentence illegal or mean that it cannot be executed by the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. [1] And, although Mr. Jeffreys is correct that he cannot earn diminution credits...

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