Y.Y. v. State

Citation46 A.3d 1223,205 Md.App. 724
Decision Date27 June 2012
Docket NumberNo. 3025,Sept. Term, 2009.,3025
PartiesY.Y. v. STATE of Maryland.
CourtCourt of Special Appeals of Maryland

205 Md.App. 724
46 A.3d 1223

Y.Y.
v.
STATE of Maryland.

No. 3025, Sept. Term, 2009.

Court of Special Appeals of Maryland.

June 27, 2012.


[46 A.3d 1226]


George Harper, Upper Marlboro, MD, for Appellant.

James E. Williams (Douglas F. Gansler, Atty. Gen., on the brief), Baltimore, MD, for Appellee.


Panel: DEBORAH S. EYLER, KEHOE, STUART R. BERGER,* JJ.

KEHOE, J.

[205 Md.App. 730]The principal issue in this case is whether the remedy of quantum meruit is available to a defendant who has not fully performed his obligations under a plea agreement. We hold that it is not.

Y.Y.1 appeals from an order of the Circuit Court for Prince George's County denying his motion to enforce the terms of a plea bargain. He presents three questions which we have reworded and consolidated as follows: 2

[46 A.3d 1227]

Did the Prince George's County Circuit Court err in denying appellant's motion to enforce the plea agreement?

We will affirm the order of the circuit court.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

In early May, 2009, appellant, while represented by counsel, entered into a plea agreement with the State's Attorney for Prince George's County. In essence, appellant agreed to plead guilty to a pending charge of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. If appellant cooperated with the Narcotics Enforcement Division of the Prince George's County Police Department as a confidential informant, appellant would be sentenced to 18 months, with all but one day suspended; if [205 Md.App. 731]appellant failed to do so, he would be sentenced within the sentencing guidelines, which were five to ten years. The parties further agreed that sentencing would be deferred until appellant had an opportunity to fulfill his obligations.

Appellant entered a guilty plea, which was accepted by the circuit court. Sentencing was deferred until August, 2009. The transcript of the proceeding contains no reference to the terms of a plea agreement. However, the terms of the agreement were explained to the presiding judge off the record.

On May 12, 2009, appellant and his counsel met with Prince George's County Assistant State's Attorney (“ASA”) Tamika S. Brown, Esq., to discuss the details of the plea agreement. At this meeting, Ms. Brown, appellant, and defense counsel signed a letter stating the following:

This is to advise you that the State's plea offer in this case is conditioned on the agreement stated below:

1. The defendant is to sign up as a confidential informant with N.E.D.: 3

2. The defendant is to give names and detailed information regarding three sources for cocaine;

3. The defendant's sources must be people who are Kilo dealer's of cocaine;

4. The defendant has to give information, conduct a control buy, or arrange an introduction that leads to the arrest of his supplier. The CDS weight has to be enough for PWID 4 indictment;

5. The defendant has to keep in constant contact with [the] N.E.D.;

6. The defendant must keep his communications that he has with [the] and N.E.D. confidential.

7. The defendant must follow directions of [the] N.E.D.;

[205 Md.App. 732]8. As the last resort, the Defendant must testify; and

9. The defendant is to start working as a confidential informant starting the week of this letter.

(Footnotes added by this Court).

Appellant's sentencing proceeding was continued four times between August and October, 2009. A sentencing hearing was held by the court in early November, 2009. During that proceeding, defense counsel alluded to a “dispute [that] has arisen” as

[46 A.3d 1228]

to appellant's obligation to perform “certain community services” and requested a continuance for a month for the parties “to fix it all.” Ms. Brown consented to the continuance, which was granted. Sentencing was rescheduled to early December. At that hearing, defense counsel requested another continuance because “we [have] an agreement that is still in the process of being fulfilled.” Again, Ms. Brown consented to the request. Sentencing was continued by the court on three additional occasions in December, 2009 and January, 2010.

Appellant then filed a motion to enforce his plea agreement, contending that the State had ceased performing its obligations under the agreement, therefore making it impossible for appellant to satisfy his. The circuit court conducted a two-day hearing on appellant's motion. The circuit court heard testimony from both appellant and ASA Brown regarding the plea agreement and appellant's progress, or lack therefore, in fulfilling the agreement. We summarize the evidence:

During his interaction with the Narcotics Enforcement Division, appellant was, at various times, assigned to work with different Prince George's County detectives. Appellant testified that one detective forced him to participate in buy-bust operations,5 which were not part of his obligations under the plea agreement. Appellant further testified that the same detective refused to cooperate with or help appellant regarding[205 Md.App. 733]one of his selected targets. Appellant also explained that, during the time he was assigned to another detective, he made a controlled purchase of narcotics, but the target was not apprehended because, by the time detectives tracked him down, the target had been murdered. Appellant was still given credit for this arrest.

However, as he stated in his testimony, appellant's success ran out at this point. Starting in late November, appellant moved on to the third target. According to appellant:

[W]e moved on the target to make the buy. That was when I used my own money ... to make a buy.... I was told to have my target at a particular place at 6:15. I had my target there. He was there. He left. And [N.E.D. detectives] told me that he left and to call him. So I called him back and he came back. By the time the officers was able to get over there where he was and set up, he had left again.

Appellant testified that it took detectives 45 minutes to arrive at the location of the buy. Because the detectives arrived late and missed the target, appellant stated, they never made the buy. In the days following, appellant continued to pursue this target without success.


Appellant and the detective then “tried to move to another target.” Appellant found a new target but he “couldn't get nothing from the cops.” Appellant sent a text message to the detective to give him information about this new target but the police officer did not respond. According to his testimony, appellant first discovered that the detectives in the Narcotics Enforcement Division would no longer be working with him when the officer sent him a text message asking him if he had spoken to his attorney because the N.E.D. detectives “no longer were on the case.”

[46 A.3d 1229]

Appellant testified that, even though the detectives were no longer interested in working with him, he was still willing and able to perform his obligations under the plea agreement. However, appellant argued, the Narcotics Enforcement Division rendered his satisfaction of the agreement difficult, if not [205 Md.App. 734]impossible, by frequently transferring him between different detectives and assigning him to detectives who either did not have sufficient time to work with him or did not cooperate with him. Appellant explained that the detectives' lack of availability hindered his ability to satisfy the agreement because appellant and the detectives needed to spend time together to plan and evaluate different strategies of identifying and arresting targets. Appellant testified that, despite this need to spend time together, “[t]hey was a little busy. They was tied up and [one of the detectives] will tell me, you know—each week will go by she will say we can't work that target, I'm busy on working another assignment.... So it wasn't like we weren't doing nothing. The time elapsed, however, they were busy, too, though.” Appellant also testified that the State was not cooperating with his efforts because, under the agreement, he was required to produce three “Kilo dealers” of cocaine. However, the 2009 market rate for a kilo of cocaine was $36,000, and the Narcotics Enforcement Division detectives offered no more than $250 for the buy-bust operations, which could only purchase “approximately seven grams” of cocaine.

ASA Brown testified that she gave appellant credit for the first arrest and the murdered suspect as fulfilling two thirds of his obligation under the agreement.6 However, according to Brown, she warned appellant and his counsel in early December that appellant needed “to make one more arrest by December 11th of 2009” because, as of December 10, 2009, “the [d]etectives were tired of trying to work with” appellant because “he has been dragging his feet and not returning phone calls.” Brown added, “[i]t became unproductive. They have other cases.” Brown explained that, when appellant failed to provide information leading to a third arrest by December 11, 2009, after having seven months to complete the agreement, she again informed him that the detectives no [205 Md.App. 735]longer wanted to work with him “because of his abandoned efforts over this period of time since May ..., 2009.” Brown stated that she “thought it was understandable that [the detectives] did not want to continue working with [appellant] due to the circumstances.”

At the close of the hearing, the court issued factual findings and legal conclusions from the bench. Specifically, the court determined that: the written plea agreement finalized on May 12, 2009 was controlling; under the agreement, if appellant satisfied his obligations, the State would dismiss charges against his wife 7 and would recommend a sentence for appellant of eighteen months and one day; if appellant did not satisfy his obligations, the State would recommend a sentence within the guidelines; appellant only completed two of the three arrests required under the agreement; and, therefore, appellant did not satisfy the plea agreement.

[46 A.3d 1230]

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    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • 27 June 2012
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    • 13 August 2019
    ...was formed "we are bound by the circuit court's findings of fact unless we conclude they are clearly erroneous." Y.Y. v. State, 205 Md. App. 724, 743 (2012). Here the initial offer made by the State was a guilty plea to first and second-degree assault with a 12-year sentence of incarceratio......
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    ...449 Md. 246, 264 (2016). The moving party bears the burden of proof with respect to a motion to enforce a plea agreement. Y.Y. v. State, 205 Md. App. 724, 743 (2012) ("[A]ppellant, as the party alleging the breach [of a plea agreement], has the burden of proof on all of his breach of contra......
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