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JAHFAHREE CHESTER v. STATE OF MARYLAND

Criminal procedure — Illegal sentence — Merger of burglary and sexual offense

A jury, in the Circuit Court for Prince George’s County, convicted Jahfahree Chester, appellant, of first-degree sexual offense, second-degree sexual offense, thirddegree sexual offense, second-degree burglary, fourth-degree burglary, and second-degree assault. Chester then filed a motion for a new trial, which was denied. The court sentenced Chester to a term of 50 years’ imprisonment, with all but 25 years suspended, on the conviction of first-degree sexual assault and a consecutive term of 15 years’ imprisonment, with all but ten years suspended, on the conviction of second-degree burglary. All other convictions were merged for sentencing purposes. In this appeal, Chester presents two questions for our review, which we have rephrased and renumbered as three questions.1 They are: 1. Did the circuit court err in admitting into evidence an audio and video recording that the State had not disclosed prior to trial? 2. Did the circuit court err in denying Chester’s motion for a new trial, which was based on a claim that the State had failed to disclose the existence of a recorded statement made by the victim? 3. Did the sentencing court err in failing to merge, for sentencing purposes, Chester’s conviction of second-degree burglary into his conviction of first-degree sexual offense? For reasons to follow, we answer …

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