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JESSIE THOMAS ALIMONDO v. STATE OF MARYLAND

Criminal law — Sufficiency of the evidence — Conspiracy to distribute heroin

Following a jury trial in the Circuit Court for Harford County, Jessie Thomas Alimondo, appellant, was convicted of conspiracy to distribute heroin. His sole contention on appeal is that there was insufficient evidence to support his conviction. Mr. Alimondo concedes that this issue is not preserved because, when making his motion for judgment of acquittal in the trial court, defense counsel submitted on the evidence and did not raise any of the contentions that Mr. Alimondo now raises on appeal. See Peters v. State, 224 Md. App. 306, 354 (2015) (“[R]eview of a claim of insufficiency is available only for the reasons given by [the defendant] in his motion for judgment of acquittal.” (citation omitted)). In fact, during closing, defense counsel indicated that Mr. Alimondo was “not disputing” that the State had met its burden on the charge of conspiracy to distribute heroin and that if the jury took “the facts and applied them in this case . . . [it would] find Mr. Alimondo guilty of [that] charge[.]” He therefore requests that we engage in plain error review. Although this Court has discretion to review unpreserved errors pursuant to Maryland Rule 8-131(a), the Court of Appeals has emphasized that appellate courts should “rarely exercise” that discretion because “considerations of both fairness and judicial efficiency ordinarily require that all challenges that a party desires to make to a trial court’s ruling, action, or conduct be presented in the first instance to the trial court[.]” Ray v. State, 435 Md. 1, 23 (2013) (citation omitted). Therefore, plain error review “is reserved for those errors that are compelling, extraordinary, exceptional or fundamental to assure the defendant of [a] fair trial.” Savoy v. State, 218 Md. App. 130, 145 (2014) (quotation marks and citation omitted). Under the circumstances presented, we …

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