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Conviction reversed where defendant absent during critical stage of jury deliberations and when mistrial declared

by | Aug 20, 2016 | Commentary

The Maryland Court of Appeals reversed a conviction where it found that the defendant was not present during critical stages of jury deliberations and when the court declared a mistrial over the objections of defense counsel.   A jury note was received by the trial court at a time when the defendant had been taken to the hospital due to a medical emergency.  The trial court subsequently determined that the jury was deadlocked on some counts and over the objections of defense counsel, and in the absence of the defendant, took a partial verdict and declared a mistrial as to the lead count of possession with intent to distribute heroin.  The trial court subsequently determined that it erred in taking the partial verdict in the absence of the defendant and granted a new trial on those counts.  With respect to count one, as to which the trial granted a mistrial, the Court of Appeals held that there was no manifest necessity to grant a mistrial at the time that it did, and in the absence of the defendant, and, therefore, principles of double jeopary barred a retrial on that count.   Read the opinon –  State v. Hart

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