Legal Question in Criminal Law in Maryland

CDS with a firearm

Last year my husband was arrested for possesion w/ intent to distribute(marijuana)& CDS with a firearm. They dropped the gun charge & in turn he had to plead guilty of the 1st charge. He has no other convictions. Pre-sentencing report highly recommended probation and we had a private home monitoring service in court, so if need be he wouldn't have to wait the 6-8 weeks for processing in jail. He was sentenced to 4 yrs, 3 suspended & is currently in jail. The gun was registered to him & people are telling him that he never would have been convicted on that charge. He never would have accepted the plea bargain if this is true. Is it? Is there anything I can do to try to help getting him released early, on work release or home monitoring? I was told to write letters to the judge, does that help any? Our lawyer isn't really involved anymore & I'm afraid he will lose his job if he is in there to long. Any advice will be appreciated.

Asked on 5/13/01, 7:05 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

David Lease Smith, Lease & Goldstein, LLC

Re: CDS with a firearm

The first thing to do is file a motion for reconsideration of sentence under Md. Rule 4-345(b), which must be filed within 90 days of sentencing. This motion must be in writing and a copy provided to the State's Attorney. The motion should set forth detailed reasons why the court should modify the sentence.

Additionally, a guilty plea must be knowing and voluntarily made. A review of the transcript would disclose if this standard was met. If not, it could provide a basis to vacate the conviction.

Lastly, your husband could argue that he received ineffective assistance of counsel. This is very difficult to establish. Your husband would have to demonstrate that his counsel's actions or omissions fell below an objective standard of reasonableness considering prevailing professional norms and that the challenged conduct could not be considered sound trial strategy.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.

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Answered on 6/22/01, 9:18 am
Judith Stainbrook Law Offices of Judith S. Stainbrook

Re: CDS with a firearm

I don't have enough information to answer your question as to whether your husband would have been convicted of the firearm charge. It doesn't matter in any event since he has already taken the plea. He has 90 days from the date of his sentencing to file a Motion for Modification of Sentence, asking the judge to either reduce the sentence or allow him home detention. He should also ask the court to recommend work release. It doesn't do you any good to write letters to the judge if it is more than 90 days since the sentence. If you are within that time frame, your husband can attach a letter from you to the Motion for Modification as an exhibit.

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Answered on 6/21/01, 8:20 pm

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