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Top court vacates four new-trial orders

Four convicted criminals may not get new trials after all.

The Court of Appeals on Monday told the Court of Special Appeals to reconsider the cases of Anthony Thomas Bookman, Damerum Burroughs, Brandon Cash Morris and Ronnie Turner (pdfs). Each man had waived his right to a jury trial, and in each case, the intermediate appellate court ordered a new trial based on Valonis v. State, a May 2013 decision of the top court. Valonis required an explicit statement by the judge that the waiver was knowing and voluntary. However, this April the Court of Appeals said, in Nalls and Melvin v. State, that the trial court need not recite a “magic litany” and that a defendant must object at trial in order to raise the issue on appeal.

The four cases remanded Monday were numbers 116-119 of the Sept. 2013 term.