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PATRICK JOSEPH THOMAS A/K/A/ PATRICK JOSEPH PATRICK v. STATE OF MARYLAND

Criminal procedure — Illegal sentence — Gross negligence involuntary manslaughter

Patrick Joseph Thomas was convicted of distribution of heroin, reckless endangerment, and involuntary manslaughter under two theories: unlawful act manslaughter and gross negligence manslaughter. In this Court, Thomas challenged the sufficiency of the evidence to sustain his involuntary manslaughter conviction. We reversed. Thomas v. State, 237 Md. App. 527 (2018). The State appealed only as to the gross negligence variant of involuntary manslaughter. The Court of Appeals reversed us and reinstated Thomas’ involuntary manslaughter conviction. State v. Thomas, 464 Md. 133 (2019). The Court of Appeals then remanded the matter to this Court to determine whether the trial court erred in failing to merge Thomas’ sentences for involuntary manslaughter and distribution of heroin. Id. at 180 n.23. Shortly thereafter, this Court decided Tolen v. State, 242 Md. App. 288 (2019). In Tolen, we held that under the required evidence test, a sentence for heroin distribution must merge into the sentence for the unlawful act variant of involuntary manslaughter where the unlawful act is the selling of heroin. 242 Md. App. at 310. Our analysis was carefully limited to the unlawful act variant of involuntary manslaughter and reserved for future consideration whether the gross negligence variant also necessitates merger. That question is presented here.1 We also address Thomas’ request to correct the docket entries and commitment record. …

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