Yoswick v. State

Decision Date01 September 1995
Docket NumberNo. 139,139
Citation700 A.2d 251,347 Md. 228
PartiesDavid Teddy YOSWICK v. STATE of Maryland. ,
CourtMaryland Court of Appeals

Nancy S. Forster, Asst. Public Defender (Stephen E. Harris, Public Defender, on brief), Baltimore, for petitioner.

Ann N. Bosse, Asst. Attorney General (J. Joseph Curran, Jr., Attorney General, on brief), Baltimore, for respondent.


RAKER, Judge.

In this case we must decide whether a judge's failure to advise a defendant offering to plead guilty of the parole consequences of the sentence renders the plea unknowing and involuntary. We shall hold that the trial court's failure to advise a defendant who is planning to plead guilty of parole consequences does not render a plea invalid because parole consequences are collateral rather than direct consequences of a guilty plea. We shall further hold that Petitioner failed to establish a violation of the Sixth Amendment right to effective assistance of counsel because the prejudice prong of Hill v. Lockhart, 474 U.S. 52, 106 S.Ct. 366, 88 L.Ed.2d 203 (1985), has not been satisfied.


David T. Yoswick, Petitioner, was indicted by the Grand Jury for Carroll County on twenty counts of criminal activity. On August 31, 1992, pursuant to a plea agreement, he pleaded guilty to attempted first degree murder, Maryland Code (1957, 1996 Repl.Vol.) Article 27, § 407 1, and kidnapping, Article 27, § 337. In exchange for the plea, the State recommended and the court imposed a life sentence with all but forty years suspended on the attempted murder charge, and all but thirty years suspended on the kidnapping charge, to be served concurrently. As part of the plea agreement, the State entered a nolle prosequi to the remaining eighteen charges, and also agreed to recommend to other Maryland jurisdictions with pending charges stemming from this incident that they drop their charges. 2 Yoswick could have received up to life plus seventy years in prison on the Carroll County charges, and his exposure on the charges in the other jurisdictions was estimated to be approximately one hundred years.

On April 14, 1994, Yoswick filed a Petition for Post Conviction Relief, and on August 15, 1994, he filed an amended petition. The post conviction court denied relief, the Court of Special Appeals affirmed in an unreported opinion, and this Court granted certiorari to consider the following question:

Whether a defendant who pleads guilty and receives a life sentence with a portion suspended must be informed of the parole ramifications of the plea, and is the plea involuntary in any event if the defendant is wrongly informed by counsel about the requirements for parole eligibility?


We recount the facts surrounding the crimes. On February 25, 1992, Petitioner kidnapped Frank Storch from a Howard County motel, took him to another motel, handcuffed him, and kept him locked in the bathroom overnight. The following afternoon Yoswick drove Storch against his will to Carroll County. Upon arriving at their destination, Yoswick helped Storch out of the car, pulled out a knife, and stabbed Storch in the stomach. Storch managed to escape temporarily, but was caught by Yoswick at a nearby creek, where Yoswick then attempted to drown Storch by holding his head under water. After initially struggling, Storch ceased resisting and went limp in a ploy to convince Yoswick that he was dead. Yoswick released Storch, and left the scene. Storch got up and staggered to a nearby road where a passerby assisted him and took him to the Maryland Shock Trauma Unit, where he was treated for a severe abdominal wound, hand lacerations, and back and knee injuries.

On February 27, 1992, Yoswick drove to a landfill in Baltimore City and discarded a large plastic bag containing some of Storch's possessions, including Storch's driver's license, private investigator's license, credit cards, photographs, and a bloody shirt. Shortly thereafter, Yoswick was indicted by the Grand Jury for Carroll County in a twenty-count indictment, including attempted first degree murder, robbery and kidnapping.

Before the court accepted Yoswick's guilty plea, he was questioned extensively regarding his understanding of the plea. At that time, neither the court nor Yoswick's counsel discussed with him the parole consequences of his plea. The colloquy went as follows:

[DEFENSE COUNSEL]: May I qualify my client?

THE COURT: Please.

[DEFENSE COUNSEL]: David, first of all, how old are you, sir?

YOSWICK: Twenty-five years old--of age.

[DEFENSE COUNSEL]: And how far did you go in school?

YOSWICK: Twelfth grade.

[DEFENSE COUNSEL]: Are you able, then, to read and write and understand the English language?

YOSWICK: Yes, ma'am.

[DEFENSE COUNSEL]: Are you, today, under the influence of any drugs or alcohol or any other substance that would impair your ability to understand today's proceeding?

YOSWICK: No, ma'am.

[DEFENSE COUNSEL]: Mr. Yoswick, first of all, you understand that you have an absolute right to have a trial, which includes the right to have a trial by jury. Do you understand that?

YOSWICK: That's correct.

* * * * * *

[DEFENSE COUNSEL]: Do you understand that you also have a right to waive a jury trial and to proceed with a court trial, in which case the court would have to be convinced of your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt before you could be convicted. Do you understand that?

YOSWICK: Yes, ma'am.

[DEFENSE COUNSEL]: Do you understand that whether you elected to have a jury trial or a court trial, in either event, you could force the State to prove its case against you. Do you understand that?

YOSWICK: That's correct.

[DEFENSE COUNSEL]: And by entering a Plea of Guilty, you're waiving or giving up that right, which would include the right to cross-examine witnesses called--witnesses called by the State, as well as the right to produce witnesses to testify in your defense. Do you understand that?

YOSWICK: That's correct.

[DEFENSE COUNSEL]: If you had a trial, you, likewise, would have the right to testify if you elected to. However, no one could force you to testify, and if you made an election not to, neither the court in a court trial nor a jury in a jury trial would be able to use that as evidence of your guilt. Do you understand that?

YOSWICK: That's correct.

* * * * * *

[DEFENSE COUNSEL]: Do you understand, further, that in exchange for your Plea to the first two counts--first of all, the State will nol-pros Counts Three through Twenty of the Indictment.

The Court has agreed on Count One to sentence you to a period of Life, suspending all but forty years; and with respect to the Second Count to sentence you to a period of thirty years to run concurrent with the forty-year sentence. Do you understand that?

YOSWICK: I understand that.

[DEFENSE COUNSEL]: Additionally, the State's Attorney has agreed to intercede on your behalf with other counties should there be an attempt by other counties to pursue charges arising out of this incident. Do you understand that?

YOSWICK: Yes, I do.

[DEFENSE COUNSEL]: Other than those agreements, has anyone made any promises, threats, or inducements to you in order to have you proceed in this fashion?


[DEFENSE COUNSEL]: Do you feel that--do you have any questions?

YOSWICK: No, I do not.

[DEFENSE COUNSEL]: Have you had an opportunity to fully consider the offer that's been made and your acceptance of it?

YOSWICK: Yes, I have.

[DEFENSE COUNSEL]: Do you have any questions?

YOSWICK: No, I haven't.

[DEFENSE COUNSEL]: Your honor, I submit that the plea is being freely and voluntarily tendered this morning.

As previously indicated, the court accepted the plea and sentenced Petitioner in accordance with the negotiated plea.

In his Amended Petition for Post Conviction Relief, Petitioner contended that: (1) his plea did not comply with Maryland Rule 4-242(c) because he was not informed that, in order to become eligible for parole, he had to first serve fifteen years, and (2) he received ineffective assistance of counsel because counsel misadvised him regarding the requirements for parole. The circuit court (Beck, J.) held an evidentiary hearing on the post conviction petition. Yoswick testified that he spoke with his trial attorney in August 1992, and she told him that if he accepted the State's plea offer, his sentence would be forty years and he would be eligible for parole after ten years. He further testified that he was never told that with a life sentence, all but forty years suspended, he would not be eligible for parole until after he had served fifteen years, nor was he told that he needed the Governor's approval to be paroled. He said that had he been advised correctly, he would not have pleaded guilty. His trial counsel also testified at the hearing. She stated that the original plea agreement was for a straight forty-year sentence and that she had called the parole commission and learned that an inmate must serve approximately one-fourth of his sentence before becoming eligible for parole. The plea agreement was later changed to a life sentence with all but forty years suspended. Defense counsel could not remember if she told Yoswick about parole eligibility restrictions imposed by Maryland Code (1957, 1990 Repl.Vol.), Article 41, § 4-516(b), the statutory provision in effect at the time. 3

The post conviction court rejected Petitioner's claims, concluding that the plea was knowing and voluntary. The court found that Petitioner had been apprised of the nature of the charges against him and the consequences of the plea. The court concluded that the requirement that an accused be informed of the "consequences of the plea" means that an accused must be informed only of the "direct" consequences of pleading guilty. Concluding that parole eligibility was not a direct consequence, the court determined that the defendant need not be informed...

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  • State v. Syed
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • March 8, 2019
    ...even if [counsel's] failure to object was deficient performance, [the defendant] was not prejudiced." And, in Yoswick v. State, 347 Md. 228, 246, 700 A.2d 251, 259 (1997), this Court determined: "We need not address the question of whether counsel's advice constituted deficient representati......
  • Miller v. State
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    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • May 4, 2009
    ...569, 595, 409 A.2d 692 (1979). See also Boykin v. Alabama, 395 U.S. 238, 242, 89 S.Ct. 1709, 23 L.Ed.2d 274 (1969); Yoswick v. State, 347 Md. 228, 239, 700 A.2d 251 (1997). A guilty plea is valid if it "represents a voluntary and intelligent choice among the alternative courses of action op......
  • Miller v. State
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • December 29, 2010
    ...consequence of a conviction and a collateral consequence was the opinion of Judge Raker for the Court of Appeals in Yoswick v. State, 347 Md. 228, 700 A.2d 251 (1997). Judge Raker pointed out, id. at 240, 700 A.2d 251:The imposition of a sentence may have a number of collateral consequences......
  • Holmes v. State, 140, Sept. Term, 2006.
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    • September 21, 2007
    ...Rule 4-242, in 1992 and now,19 requires the judge to inform the defendant of the direct consequences of the plea, Yoswick v. State, 347 Md. 228, 242, 700 A.2d 251, 258 (1997), the failure to advise of collateral consequences then and now have not been the basis to vacate a guilty plea; now ......
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