Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility


Criminal procedure — Plea agreement — Breach by state

In 2007 appellant James Wise agreed to plead guilty to two counts of possession with the intent to distribute cocaine. One count arose from charges filed in Queen Anne’s County, the other from charges filed in Talbot County. On May 4, 2007, Wise entered his pleas to both charges in the Circuit Court for Queen Anne’s County. The court imposed the maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment (Md. Code (2002, 2007 Supp.), § 5-608(a) of the Criminal Law Article), with all but seven years suspended, in the Queen Anne’s County case. In the Talbot County case, the court also imposed the maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment, with all but five years suspended. In addition, the court imposed five years of probation.

After his release from incarceration, Wise violated his probation. Consequently, on May 13, 2014, the Circuit Court for Queen Anne’s County imposed two consecutive sentences of 10 years’ imprisonment. On November 16, 2015, Wise filed a petition for post-conviction relief. His amended petition alleged that he had not received the effective assistance of counsel, because his defense attorney had not objected to the State’s alleged breach of the plea agreements. The Circuit Court for Queen Anne’s County denied the petition. Wise filed a timely application for leave to appeal, which this Court granted.

Read the opinion