State v. Metscher, 106

CourtCourt of Appeals of Maryland
Citation464 A.2d 1052,297 Md. 368
Docket NumberNo. 106,106
PartiesSTATE of Maryland v. Lawrence William METSCHER.
Decision Date08 September 1983

Page 368

297 Md. 368
464 A.2d 1052
STATE of Maryland
Lawrence William METSCHER.
No. 106.
Court of Appeals of Maryland.
Sept. 8, 1983.

Page 369

Richard B. Rosenblatt, Asst. Atty. Gen., Baltimore (Stephen H. Sachs, Atty. Gen. and Ann E. Singleton, Asst. Atty. Gen., Baltimore, on brief), for appellant.

Arthur A. DeLano, Jr., Asst. Public Defender, Baltimore (Alan H. Murrell, Public Defender, Baltimore, on brief), for appellee.


SMITH, Judge.

This is yet another of the cases involving hypnotically enhanced testimony which were argued the same day. We shall affirm the judgment of the Court of Special Appeals here. It, in an unreported opinion, reversed the conviction of Lawrence William Metscher and remanded the case for a new trial.

Metscher was convicted by a Montgomery County jury of first degree sexual offense and assault with intent to maim. Prior to trial he filed a motion to suppress evidence pertaining to testimony from the victim. He contended that the evidence was inadmissible because she was subjected to hypnosis prior to her testimony. The trial court denied the motion, holding that none of the evidence was the product of hypnosis. Our recitation of facts, except for the professional qualifications of the psychologists, is gleaned from a statement of facts to which the parties agreed pursuant to Maryland Rule 828 g.


At approximately 2:00 a.m. while driving to the home of a friend the victim heard a thud against her car. Thinking she had struck something, she got out of the car. She found a man lying in the road. When she got close to him, he grabbed her by the hair and dragged her into the woods. At

Page 370

knife point he forced her to perform fellatio. He sawed her breasts with his knife and otherwise threatened her. Her assailant ran off when he was startled by a passing car. She then ran to a nearby home where she called police. She described her attacker as a white male in his early 20's, five feet seven inches tall, with several days growth of beard and a mustache, wearing a black or dark T-shirt and jeans, and armed with a knife.

About an hour later Metscher was arrested as he came out of the woods less than a mile from the scene of the attack. He fit the description the victim had given, including the fact that he was carrying a knife. K-9 units were able to track a scent leading from the scene of the attack to the house where the victim called police. They were [464 A.2d 1053] also able to track another scent leading from the scene of the attack to the place where Metscher was apprehended.

Immediately upon his apprehension Metscher was taken for a one-on-one showup for the victim to attempt to identify him. She was in an extremely upset condition and asked to be taken to a hospital for treatment instead. However, she did finally agree to the showup. Friends virtually had to carry her out of the house. She cried hysterically. As to whether Metscher was her assailant, she said, "I can't be sure. It was dark. I don't know."

One or two days after the incident the victim notified police that Metscher was her assailant, saying that the reason she had not identified him earlier was because she was so upset and physically afraid of Metscher. She said if a lineup were arranged she could pick him out. On the advice of the State's attorney's office a lineup was not arranged.

As time passed the State's attorney and police became concerned that the victim was experiencing additional anxiety and having increasing difficulty in recalling what she had originally told the police. In an effort to solve that problem she was hypnotized by an officer of the Montgomery County Police Department who had been trained in hypnotism. Also present at the hypnotic session was a member of the Maryland State Police who had been involved with hypnosis

Page 371

for the previous two years and who was trained by Dr. Daniel Stern of the Investigative Hypnosis Institute. A tape recording of the hypnotic session was made. Unfortunately, thirty minutes of the tape has been erased inadvertently.

The victim identified Metscher as her assailant at the hearing to suppress her identification of Metscher because of the hypnosis. She said she had studied his features very carefully during the incident and that she was able to see fairly well because there had been a full moon on the night in question.

The victim was questioned at the suppression hearing relative to the hypnotic session. In response to a question as to whether her memory was better after that session she said:

"Was my memory better? I would not say it had anything to do with my memory at all.

"The best thing I got out of the entire hypnosis was finally--I had never actually repeated the story to anyone in that kind of detail since the night of the incident and my first meeting with...

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6 cases
  • People v. Guerra
    • United States
    • California Supreme Court
    • 21 Noviembre 1984
    ...test. 27 On the same day, the same court applied Collins to four pending appeals; it reversed the conviction in two (State v. Metscher (1983) 297 Md. 368, 464 A.2d 1052 (forcible oral copulation and assault with intent to maim); Grimes v. State (1983) 297 Md. 1, 464 A.2d 1065 (assault with ......
  • Burral v. State, 10
    • United States
    • Maryland Court of Appeals
    • 12 Febrero 1999 See also Simkus v. State, 296 Md. 718, 464 A.2d 1055 (1983); Grimes v. State, 297 Md. 1, 464 A.2d 1065 (1983); State v. Metscher, 297 Md. 368, 464 A.2d 1052 (1983); and Calhoun v. State, 297 Md. 563, 468 A.2d 45 (1983), cert. denied, 466 U.S. 993, 104 S.Ct. 2374, 80 L.Ed.2d 846 Four y......
  • Calhoun v. State
    • United States
    • Maryland Court of Appeals
    • 21 Noviembre 1983
    ...being the fifth of a series of cases presenting that issue. See State v. Collins, 296 Md. 670, 464 A.2d 1028 (1983); State v. Metscher, 297 Md. 368, 464 A.2d 1052 (1983); Simkus v. State, 296 Md. 718, 464 A.2d 1055 (1983), and Grimes v. State, 297 Md. 1, 464 A.2d 1065 James Arthur Calhoun w......
  • U.S. Gypsum Co. v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore
    • United States
    • Maryland Court of Appeals
    • 1 Septiembre 1992
    ...374, 381, 391 A.2d 364, 368 (1978), citing Frye v. United States, 293 F. 1013, 1014 (D.C.Cir.1923). See, e.g., State v. Metscher, 297 Md. 368, 374, 464 A.2d 1052, 1055 (1983); Grimes v. State, 297 Md. 1, 2-3, 464 A.2d 1065, 1066 (1983); State v. Collins, 296 Md. 670, 678-681, 464 A.2d 1028,......
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