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Criminal procedure — Closing argument by state — Defendant’s flight

A jury in the Circuit Court for Prince George’s County convicted appellant Nathaniel Lanier of three counts based on his illegal possession of a regulated firearm and one count of possession of ammunition. He was sentenced to fifteen years’ imprisonment, with all but seven years suspended, and five years’ probation on one of the three counts of possession of a regulated firearm, and a concurrent one year term of imprisonment for possession of ammunition. The other two convictions for illegal possession of a firearm were merged for sentencing. Appellant presents three questions for our review: 1. Did the trial court commit plain error in allowing the prosecutor to comment on [appellant’s] flight during closing argument where the court and counsel, but not the jury, knew of an alternative, equally reasonable explanation for the flight and the court refused to give a flight instruction for that reason? 2. Where [appellant] was found to be in possession of a single loaded firearm, did the trial court err in imposing separate sentences for both possession of a regulated firearm after having been convicted of a crime of violence and possession of ammunition by a person who is prohibited from possessing a regulated firearm? 3. Must two of the three convictions for possession of a firearm be vacated where [appellant] was found to have possessed only one firearm? For the reasons that follow, we answer …

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