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LINDZELL NELSON v. STATE OF MARYLAND

Criminal procedure — Consciousness of guilt — Refusal to submit DNA specimen

At issue in this case is the admission at trial of statements made by Lindzell Nelson, appellant, to police officers during their investigation of a shooting in Baltimore City, as well as testimony of the State’s inability to locate for trial a presumed victim of the shooting. Mr. Nelson appeals his conviction for two counts of reckless endangerment and one count of unlawfully carrying a handgun. He asks four questions, which we have slightly rephrased: I. Was his pre-arrest refusal to answer police questions relevant to a consciousness of guilt, and, if so, was its probative value substantially outweighed by its unfair prejudice? II. Was his refusal to submit a DNA specimen relevant to a consciousness of guilt and, if so, was its probative value substantially outweighed by its unfair prejudice? III. Was it error to admit evidence that a victim was a missing witness when there was no evidence of why he was missing at trial? IV. Did the cumulative effect of evidentiary errors deprive Mr. Nelson of a fair trial? For the following reasons, we shall …

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