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RANDOLPH THOMPSON v. STATE OF MARYLAND

Criminal procedure — Writ of actual innocence — Need for hearing

In 1995, Randolph Thompson, appellant, was convicted by a jury in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City of first-degree murder and use of a handgun in a crime of violence. He was sentenced to life in prison for murder and a consecutive twenty years for the handgun conviction. This Court affirmed his convictions and sentences in an unreported opinion. See Thompson v. State, No. 90, Sept. Term 1996 (filed Nov. 12, 1996).

On May 31, 2016, appellant filed a petition for a writ of actual innocence, claiming that newly discovered evidence in the form of police interview notes demonstrated that a State witness lied at trial. The circuit court ordered appellant to amend his petition, which he did on August 15th. On September 6, 2016, the circuit court dismissed the petition, after determining that appellant had failed to demonstrate how the interview notes would have impacted the trial. Appellant did not note an appeal from that order. Instead, on November 15, 2016, appellant filed another petition for a writ of actual innocence, again asserting that the police interview notes were newly discovered evidence that called into question the credibility of the State’s witness. 1 The circuit court dismissed this petition without a hearing. Appellant noted this appeal and maintains that he adequately met the pleading requirements of a petition for a writ of actual innocence pursuant to Maryland Code (2001, 2008 Repl. Vol., 2016 Suppl.), Criminal Procedure Article (“Crim. Pro.”), § 8-301, and the court erred in dismissing his petition without a hearing.

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