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Criminal procedure — Illegal sentence — Plea agreement

In 1988, appellant, William Andrew Hebb, Jr., appeared with counsel in the Circuit Court for Prince George’s County and entered an Alford plea to felony murder and use of a handgun in the commission of a crime of violence. He was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder and to a consecutive twenty-year term for the handgun offense. This Court granted his application for leave to appeal and affirmed the judgments. William A. Hebb, Jr. v. State of Maryland, No. 1768, September Term, 1988 (filed June 26, 1989). His attempts at post-conviction relief have been unsuccessful. In May and June of 2016, Hebb filed motions to correct an illegal sentence, which the circuit court denied in a single order. Hebb appeals that ruling and raises the following questions for our review, which we quote:

1. Is Mr. Hebb’s sentence illegal because there was no proper conviction to which a sentence could be given since he did not knowingly and voluntarily enter into the Alford plea because the circuit court did not strictly adhere to the dictates of Rule 4-242?

2. Is Mr. Hebb’s sentence illegal because he consented to the sentence of a crime that did not exist nor happened?

3. Is Mr. Hebb’s sentence illegal because his sentence exceeds the sentence agreed to between him and the State?

4. Should the lower court have recused itself because the existence of the appearance of impropriety mandated a sua sponte recusal during the consideration of the illegal sentence motion?

Read the opinion