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STATE OF MARYLAND v. ROBERT MOORE

Criminal procedure — Ineffective assistance of counsel — Chain of custody documents

On November 9, 2011, following a jury trial, Robert Moore, appellee, was convicted of possession of cocaine and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. He was sentenced to a term of eight years’ imprisonment. His conviction and sentence were affirmed on appeal. On December 12, 2016, appellee filed a pro se Petition for Post Conviction Relief, which the Circuit Court for Baltimore City granted on July 31, 2018. The State, appellant, subsequently sought leave to appeal pursuant to Md. Code (2016 Repl. Vol.) §7-109 of the Criminal Procedure Article (“CP”),1 which this Court granted on January 8, 2019. On appeal, the State raises the following question for this Court’s review, which we have rephrased slightly, as follows: Did the postconviction court err in holding that failure to disclose a certain chain of custody document violated the State’s obligations under Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963)? Appellee raised an additional question on appeal, which he presents as an alternative ground why he was entitled to post-conviction relief: Did the post-conviction court err in failing to conclude that trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance of counsel in failing to obtain and examine certain chain of custody documents that could have been used for impeachment purposes at trial? For the reasons set forth below, we shall …

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