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BENJAMIN DAVIS, III v. STATE OF MARYLAND

Criminal procedure — Writ of actual innocence — Recanted testimony

In 2001, a jury in the Circuit Court for Howard County convicted Benjamin Davis, III, appellant, of eight offenses, including attempted second-degree murder and the use of a handgun in a crime of violence. The court subsequently sentenced him to ten years in prison for attempted murder and a consecutive five years for the handgun offense. We affirmed appellant’s convictions and sentence in an unreported opinion.

Following his unsuccessful appeal, appellant filed numerous post-conviction actions, none of which were successful. Relative to this appeal, on December 12, 2016, appellant filed a petition for a writ of actual innocence, claiming that Mott had recanted his trial testimony, and this constituted newly discovered evidence that called into question his convictions. Attached to the petition was an affidavit by Mott in which he claimed that he was pressured by the prosecutor to testify that appellant shot at him. Still, Mott states that he “knew that either Aamir Benton or [appellant] were involved[.]” The circuit court dismissed the petition without a hearing, determining that the issues raised by the affidavits were not newly discovered evidence because the information contained therein was known at trial.

Read the opinion