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STATE OF MARYLAND v. KEVIN STEWART

Criminal procedure — Ineffective assistance of counsel — Failure to object to closing argument

In this case, the State of Maryland appeals the Circuit Court for Prince George’s County’s grant of a new trial in a post-conviction proceeding. Appellee Kevin Stewart was convicted on September 26, 1991 by a jury in the Circuit Court for Prince George’s County of rape, kidnapping, and use of a handgun in the commission of a felony. On March 16, 2016, the circuit court granted him a new trial in post-conviction proceedings on the ground that defense counsel was ineffective in failing to object to the prosecutor’s closing argument. The State appealed the grant of the petition, and we remanded the case to the circuit court for it to consider each ground raised by appellant. State v. Stewart, No. 359, Sept. Term 2016 (filed May 18, 2017). The State appeals the remand court’s grant of a new trial (pursuant to Maryland Code, Criminal Procedure Article, § 7-109(a)) and presents the following question for our review: “Did the postconviction court err in finding that Stewart received ineffective assistance of counsel, and in ordering a new trial?” We shall answer that question in …

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