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Criminal procedure — Illegal sentence — Ex post facto

In 1983, Vernon Lee Evans, appellant, for a fee of $9,000 paid by or on behalf of his friend, Anthony Grandison, murdered Scott Piechowicz and Susan Kennedy at the Warren House Motel in Pikesville, in Baltimore County, to prevent them from testifying against Grandison in a then-pending criminal trial in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland. Evans v. State, 304 Md. 487, 494-95 (1985), reconsideration denied, 305 Md. 306, cert. denied, 478 U.S. 1010 (1986). The following year, after removal of the case at Evans’s request, he was convicted, by a jury sitting in the Circuit Court for Worcester County, of two counts of first-degree, premeditated murder, as well as conspiracy to commit murder and use of a handgun in the commission of a felony or crime of violence. The jury thereafter sentenced him to death for both murders. Id.

In his pro se motion below, as well as his pro se brief in this Court, Evans presents a number of related arguments, which, in essence, boil down to a single contention: that the Governor, in exercising his clemency power and commuting Evans’s death sentences to sentences of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, violated the Maryland constitutional prohibition against ex post facto laws, because, at the time of the crimes at issue, there was no provision, under Maryland law, for a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

Read the opinion here: