Sunday, November 17, 2013

State v. Sowell case brief

State v. Sowell case brief summary
728 A.2d 712 (1999)


CASE SYNOPSIS
Certiorari was granted to the Court of Special Appeals, the Circuit Court for Prince George's County (Maryland), which reversed respondent's convictions for armed robbery, robbery, use of a handgun in the commission of a crime of violence, and assault, arising from his involvement in the robbery of his employer, holding that respondent should not have been convicted as a principal in the second degree.

DISCUSSION

  • On certiorari review, the court affirmed the reversal of respondent's conviction for armed robbery, robbery, use of a handgun in the commission of a crime of violence, and assault. 
  • Conviction as a principal in the second degree required respondent's presence, either actual or constructive. 
  • Maryland retained the common law distinction between principals and accessories, and there was insufficient evidence to find that respondent was present, either actually or constructively, at the scene of the crime. 
  • A principal in the second degree was one who was guilty of a felony by reason of having aided, counseled, commanded, or encouraged its commission in his presence, either actual or constructive. 
  • Testimony at trial indicated respondent was the mastermind behind the robbery, but was driving his truck route while the robbery occurred. 
  • The alteration of the common law rule of accessoryship in relation to robbery was a legislative function. 
  • Although the court had abrogated certain technical procedural rules accompanying the doctrine over the years, the legislature had not followed suit in abrogating the entire doctrine, and the court declined to do so by judicial action.

CONCLUSION
The reversal of respondent's convictions arising from robbery of his employer was affirmed because the court refused to abrogate the doctrine of accessoryship by judicial action and the evidence showed that respondent was not actually or constructively present at the crime, as was required for him to be convicted as a principal in the second degree.

Recommended Supplements for Criminal Law

No comments:

Post a Comment

Search Thousands of Case Briefs and Articles.