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EDWARD HALL BELL v. STATE OF MARYLAND

In 2004, Edward Hall Bell, appellant, was convicted by a jury in the Circuit Court for Prince George’s County of first-degree murder, second-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, attempted second-degree murder, and two counts of use of a handgun in the commission of a crime of violence. The court sentenced Bell to life imprisonment without the possibility of par ole for first-degree murder, a consecutive life sentence for attempted first-degree murder, and two consecutive twenty-year terms for the handgun offenses. The second-degree murder offenses merged.

Criminal procedure — Illegal sentence — Improper enrollment

Bell appealed and this Court affirmed the convictions, but directed the circuit court to amend the docket entries to reflect that the sentence for attempted first -degree murder was life with the possibility of parole. Edward Hall Bell v. State, No. 2765, September Term, 2004 (filed August 3, 2006). In 2014, Bell filed a pro se motion to correct an illegal sentence pursuant to Md. Rule 4-345(a).

Bell asserted that his sentence for life without the possibility of parole was illegal because (1) he was not personally served with the State’s notice of intent to seek a sentence of life without the possibility of parole, and (2) the conviction was not “properly enrolled” because only eleven of the twelve jurors were polled as to their verdict and, therefore, “no sentence could have been given.”

The circuit court denied the motion. Bell appealed and raises the same contentions he made below.

Read the opinion here: