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RICARDO O’NEIL BROOKS v. STATE OF MARYLAND

Criminal procedure — Motion to suppress evidence — Other crimes evidence

The State charged Appellant Ricardo O’Neil Brooks with eight counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon, in violation of Md. Code Ann., Criminal Law Article (“CR”) § 3-403, alleging that he had committed a series of early-morning robberies of CVS and 7-Eleven stores in Montgomery County in August and September 2014. A jury sitting in the Circuit Court for Montgomery County subsequently convicted Brooks of two counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon, and one count of robbery. Brooks noted an appeal and raises seven issues for our review:

1. Did the trial court err in denying the motion to sever the multiple counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon and in admitting other crimes evidence?

2. Did the trial court err in finding that defense counsel failed to offer a race-neutral explanation for striking a prospective juror and err in reseating the struck juror?

3. Did the trial court err in denying defense counsel’s motion for mistrial as to all charges after the court found that a discovery violation by the State warranted dismissal of two of the counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon?

4. Did the trial court err in instructing the jury that as a matter of law State’s Exhibit 22 was a dangerous weapon?

5. Did the trial court err in permitting improper closing argument by the State?

6. Did the trial court abuse its discretion in instructing on flight?

7. Did the trial court err in permitting impermissible lay opinion by a police witness?

Read the opinion here: