Walker v. State, No. 75, Sept. Term, 2007.

CourtCourt of Special Appeals of Maryland
Writing for the CourtMurphy
Citation958 A.2d 915,406 Md. 369
PartiesKevin WALKER v. STATE of Maryland.
Decision Date24 October 2008
Docket NumberNo. 75, Sept. Term, 2007.
958 A.2d 915
406 Md. 369
Kevin WALKER
v.
STATE of Maryland.
No. 75, Sept. Term, 2007.
Court of Appeals of Maryland.
October 24, 2008.

Piedad Gomez, Asst. Public Defender (Nancy S. Forster, Public Defender, on brief), for Petitioner.

Carrie J. Williams, Asst. Atty. Gen. (Douglas F. Gansler, Atty. Gen., on brief), for Respondent.

[958 A.2d 916]

Argued before BELL, C.J., HARRELL, BATTAGLIA, GREENE, MURPHY, ALAN M. WILNER, (Retired, specially assigned) and DALE R. CATHELL, (Retired, specially assigned), JJ.

MURPHY, J.


In the Circuit Court for Howard County, Kevin Walker, Petitioner, was convicted of possession of a forged document. He now argues that he is entitled to a new trial on the ground that the Circuit Court erroneously failed to conduct a jury trial waiver inquiry required by Md. Rule 4-246(b). The Court of Special Appeals rejected this argument. For the reasons that follow, so do we.

I.

Petitioner was arrested by Howard County police officers about 3:00 p.m. on July 24, 2005. Later that day he was served with a District Court STATEMENT OF CHARGES that formally charged him with two violations of the Maryland Controlled Dangerous Substances Act and eight violations of § 8-601 of the Criminal Law Article. A defendant charged with any of these offenses has a right to be tried in the District Court, as well as a right to be tried in the circuit court. The District Court set Petitioner's bail at $5,000, and scheduled Petitioner's trial for October 14, 2005. On September 29, 2005, the District Court received a DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL filed on Petitioner's behalf by his trial counsel. Petitioner's circuit court trial was originally scheduled for November 29, 2005, but was rescheduled to January 24, 2006 at the request of Petitioner's trial counsel.

Petitioner's trial counsel filed several pretrial motions, including what he described as "more properly characterized as a motion to dismiss, based on an unlawful arrest." That motion was heard and denied on January 10, 2006. On January 24, 2006, the following transpired in open court:

[THE PROSECUTOR]: Your Honor, we are proceeding by way of a not guilty agreed statement of facts as to Count 7 which is possession of a forged document. Your Honor, the State and the Defense will be recommending a flat time served disposition of this matter.

* * *

[COUNSEL FOR WALKER]: Your Honor... that's our understanding of the agreement.

* * *

[COUNSEL FOR WALKER]: And, Your Honor, just so it is clear to Mr. Walker, by proceeding on a not guilty statement of facts as him and I have discussed, he is essentially preserving his automatic right to appeal.

[THE COURT]: Right.

[COUNSEL FOR WALKER]: Certain motions that have been made previously in this case.

[THE COURT]: Right, I saw the record, there was a—

[COUNSEL FOR WALKER]: A Motion to Dismiss that was denied.

[THE COURT]: Yeah, right. But that fully—preserved it for appellate purposes.

[COUNSEL FOR WALKER]: Thank you.

[THE COURT]: Right. Do you want to qualify Mr. Walker on the—

[COUNSEL FOR WALKER]: Yes, Your Honor.

[THE COURT]:—on the not guilty agreed statement of facts.

[COUNSEL FOR WALKER]: Mr. Walker, as the State has just informed the Court, it is your desire today to

958 A.2d 917

proceed on a not guilty statement of facts. Is that correct?

[WALKER]: Yes.

[COUNSEL FOR WALKER]: Okay. And you understand that when proceeding on a not guilty statement of facts you are proceeding as if you in fact went to trial and you were convicted of the crime charged? In this case, that crime is possession of a forged or privileged document. Do you understand?

[WALKER]: Privileged document, okay.

[COUNSEL FOR WALKER]: And do you understand that the difference between proceeding on a guilty plea and a not guilty statement of facts is that in this situation you are, as I informed the Court, and your understanding is that you are preserving your automatic right to appeal. Do you understand that?

[WALKER]: Correct.

[COUNSEL FOR WALKER]: Okay. Can you please state your full name for the record?

[WALKER]: Kevin Dwight Walker.

[COUNSEL FOR WALKER]: Okay. How old are you?

[WALKER]: Forty-nine.

[COUNSEL FOR WALKER]: Okay. How far did you go in school?

[WALKER]: Fifteen years.

[COUNSEL FOR WALKER]: Okay. Do you read and [write] the English language?

[WALKER]: Yes.

[COUNSEL FOR WALKER]: Okay, and do you understand everything that is happening here today?

[WALKER]: Yes.

[COUNSEL FOR WALKER]: Okay. Have you taken any drugs, medicine or pills—

[WALKER]: No.

[COUNSEL FOR WALKER]:—within the last 24 hours?

[WALKER]: No.

[COUNSEL FOR WALKER]: Mr. Walker will you let me finish my questions first? Are you presently under the influence of drugs or alcohol?

[WALKER]: No.

[COUNSEL FOR WALKER]: Okay. Have you received a written copy of the charges in this case?

[WALKER]: And that would be this what I got—

[COUNSEL FOR WALKER]: Okay, we refer to it as the charging documents, statement of charges in this case—

[WALKER]: Yes.

[COUNSEL FOR WALKER]:—as this case originated in District Court.

[WALKER]: Yes.

[COUNSEL FOR WALKER]: Have you had an adequate opportunity to discuss the charges with me as your attorney?

[WALKER]: Yes.

[COUNSEL FOR WALKER]: Okay. Do you fully understand the charges against you?

[WALKER]: Yes.

[COUNSEL FOR WALKER]: Do you understand that you are charged with possession, among other things, possession of a privileged or forged document?

[WALKER]: Yes.

[COUNSEL FOR WALKER]: Okay. Have you had an adequate opportunity to discuss essentially the plea agreement that we have just detailed to [the judge] here today with me? Have you had an adequate opportunity?

[WALKER]: Yes.

[COUNSEL FOR WALKER]: Okay. Has anyone made any promises to you

958 A.2d 918

other than what has been now placed on the record to get you to enter or proceed in this manner?

[WALKER]: No.

[COUNSEL FOR WALKER]: Okay. Do you understand that the maximum penalty for this offense is three years?

[WALKER]: Yes.

[COUNSEL FOR WALKER]: Okay. Now, do you understand that when you proceed in this way you are giving up or waiving your right to trial? Do you understand that?

[WALKER]: No, I didn't—

[COUNSEL FOR WALKER]: Do you understand that there will be no trial in this situation?

[WALKER]: Okay, yes.

[COUNSEL FOR WALKER]: Okay. And do you understand that in proceeding in this way you are essentially proceeding and then and in the end it will act as a conviction on the one count of possession of a privileged document? Do you understand that?

[WALKER]: Yes.

[COUNSEL FOR WALKER]: Okay. Your Honor.

[THE COURT]: All right, and, Mr. Walker, you understand also that you are waiving any right to have a jury trial of this matter, as well as a court trial? Do you understand that?

[WALKER]: I do now. I didn't at first. I didn't know it was a waiver. I knew it was an appealable right, you know—

[THE COURT]: Yes, you have the—

[WALKER]:—saving the appeal. So—

[THE COURT]:—you [have] the right to appeal, but as you know because you and I have been down this road—

[WALKER]:—oh, yes, yes.

[THE COURT]: —you and I have been down this road before and I think we have had at least one jury trial, maybe two. One time you got a hung jury and the other time, I think—well, I don't know, I can't recall everything. But you fully understand about jury trials and—

[WALKER]: Yes.

[THE COURT]:—all that.

[WALKER]: Yeah, I—

[THE COURT]: By proceeding as you are doing here today, you are waiving your right to have a jury trial.

[WALKER]: All right.

The Circuit Court then determined that it was "satisfied the Defendant has made a knowing, intelligent and voluntary decision" to waive his right to a trial and to proceed on a not guilty statement of facts.

Petitioner noted an appeal to the Court of Special Appeals, but did not present any argument on whatever issue he intended to preserve for appellate review by proceeding on a not guilty agreed statement of facts. Petitioner argued only that the circuit court erred in failing to conduct an examination, on the record, as to whether Petitioner's waiver of a jury trial was made knowingly and voluntarily, in compliance with the requirements of Maryland Rule 4-246(b). In an unreported opinion, the Court of Special Appeals concluded that "the trial's court's personal knowledge of Walker's prior jury trial experience, combined with Walker's affirmation that he fully understood about jury trials, and defense counsel's reference to pre-hearing discussions with Walker were sufficient for the court to conclude that Walker had some knowledge of the jury trial right and had knowingly waived it." Walker v. State, No. 2512, Sept. Term 2005, 175 Md. App. 783, ___A.2d ___ (2007), slip opinion p. 12.

In his petition for writ of certiorari, Petitioner presents the following question:

958 A.2d 919

Where absolutely no information about the nature of a jury trial was given to Petitioner on the record, did the Court of Special Appeals err in ruling that the waiver was nevertheless valid because of the trial judge's assertion of his personal knowledge of Petitioner's prior experience with the criminal justice system, Petitioner's affirmative response to the trial judge's assertion, "you fully understand about jury trials and all that," and defense counsel's reference to off-the-record discussions with Petitioner?

We granted Petitioner's petition for writ of certiorari to determine whether the waiver was made knowingly under Maryland Rule 4-246(b). Walker v. State, 402 Md. 37, 935 A.2d 406 (2007).

II.

Petitioner argues that his waiver of a jury trial was not made knowingly because the trial judge provided no information on the record in open court about the nature of a jury trial. According to Petitioner, the plain language of Rule 4-246(b) requires an examination regarding waiver of a jury trial on the record in open court, and precludes any presumption that a defendant who is represented by counsel was...

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24 practice notes
  • Boulden v. State, No. 49, September Term, 2009 (Md. App. 5/14/2010), No. 49, September Term, 2009.
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • May 14, 2010
    ...the violation." This message, sadly, in related contexts, has been and is being sent with increasing frequency. See Walker v. State, 406 Md. 369, 958 A.2d 915 (2008), Broadwater v. State, 401 Md. 175, 931 A.2d 1098 (2007), Abeokuto v. State, 391 Md. 289, 893 A.2d 1018 (2006). This is no way......
  • Belote v. State, No. 103, September Term, 2008.
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • October 13, 2009
    ...deciding that it was an arrest? 3. See Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 88 S.Ct. 1868, 20 L.Ed.2d 889 (1968). 4. See Walker v. State, 406 Md. 369, 384 n. 8, 958 A.2d 915, 923 n. 8 (2008) (noting that in Atkinson v. State, 331 Md. 199, 203 n. 3, 627 A.2d 1019, 1021 n. 3 (1993), this Court explaine......
  • Ray v. State, No. 1444
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • July 2, 2012
    ...court finds good cause to permit the change.Id. (quoting Maryland Rule 4–246(b)'s committee note) (emphasis omitted). In Walker v. State, 406 Md. 369, 383, 376, 958 A.2d 915 (2008), the Court of Appeals held that the defendant knowingly waived the right to a jury trial where the defendant r......
  • Aguilera v. State Of Md., No. 313
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • July 2, 2010
    ...must be satisfied that there has been an intentional relinquishment or abandonment of a known right or privilege.’ ” Walker v. State, 406 Md. 369, 378, 958 A.2d 915 (2008) (quoting Owens v. State, 399 Md. 388, 418-19 n. 41, 924 A.2d 1072 (2007)). Maryland Rule 4-246 sets forth the procedure......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
24 cases
  • Boulden v. State, No. 49, September Term, 2009 (Md. App. 5/14/2010), No. 49, September Term, 2009.
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • May 14, 2010
    ...the violation." This message, sadly, in related contexts, has been and is being sent with increasing frequency. See Walker v. State, 406 Md. 369, 958 A.2d 915 (2008), Broadwater v. State, 401 Md. 175, 931 A.2d 1098 (2007), Abeokuto v. State, 391 Md. 289, 893 A.2d 1018 (2006). This is no way......
  • Belote v. State, No. 103, September Term, 2008.
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • October 13, 2009
    ...deciding that it was an arrest? 3. See Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 88 S.Ct. 1868, 20 L.Ed.2d 889 (1968). 4. See Walker v. State, 406 Md. 369, 384 n. 8, 958 A.2d 915, 923 n. 8 (2008) (noting that in Atkinson v. State, 331 Md. 199, 203 n. 3, 627 A.2d 1019, 1021 n. 3 (1993), this Court explaine......
  • Ray v. State, No. 1444
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • July 2, 2012
    ...court finds good cause to permit the change.Id. (quoting Maryland Rule 4–246(b)'s committee note) (emphasis omitted). In Walker v. State, 406 Md. 369, 383, 376, 958 A.2d 915 (2008), the Court of Appeals held that the defendant knowingly waived the right to a jury trial where the defendant r......
  • Aguilera v. State Of Md., No. 313
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • July 2, 2010
    ...must be satisfied that there has been an intentional relinquishment or abandonment of a known right or privilege.’ ” Walker v. State, 406 Md. 369, 378, 958 A.2d 915 (2008) (quoting Owens v. State, 399 Md. 388, 418-19 n. 41, 924 A.2d 1072 (2007)). Maryland Rule 4-246 sets forth the procedure......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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