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MICHAEL EDWARD THOMAS, II v. STATE OF MARYLAND

Criminal procedure — Motion to suppress evidence — Statement to police

On June 1, 2018, a jury sitting in the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County convicted appellant Michael Thomas, II, of: armed robbery, attempted armed robbery, use of a firearm in the commission of a crime of violence, possession of a regulated firearm after having committed a disqualifying crime, and other related charges. The court sentenced appellant to twenty years’ imprisonment, all but ten years suspended for the convictions stemming from the armed robbery. Regarding the firearm charges, the court sentenced appellant to a consecutive five years’ imprisonment. Finally, the court imposed five years of probation. Appellant timely appealed and presents the following issues for our review: 1. Did the trial court err in ruling that [appellant] failed to invoke unequivocally his right to counsel under Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966), when he stated that he was “not trying to talk without a lawyer”? 2. Alternatively, even if [appellant’s] request for an attorney was equivocal, did the trial court err in admitting his subsequent statements given that the police wrongly induced [appellant] to refrain from invoking his right to counsel? 3. Did the trial court err in ruling that [appellant’s] statements were voluntary under Maryland common law when the police promised that he would receive much-needed drug treatment in exchange for his confession? 4. Did the trial court err in concluding that [appellant’s] statements—made under the influence of drugs and because of the police’s violation of Miranda and promises of drug treatment—were knowing and voluntary within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment? 5. Did the trial court abuse its discretion by disregarding the importance of [appellant’s] testimony at trial and thereby permitting the State to introduce evidence of [appellant’s] prior convictions for armed robbery and theft during a trial in which he was charged with armed robbery and theft? We hold that appellant …

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