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Lane v. State

Decided: July 6, 1961.


Appeal from the Criminal Court of Baltimore; Carter, J.

Brune, C. J., and Henderson, Hammond, Prescott and Marbury, JJ. Prescott, J., delivered the opinion of the Court.


The appellant was convicted in the Criminal Court of Baltimore as a third offender of two charges of selling narcotics and one of having narcotics in his possession and under his control. He was sentenced to 15 years in the Penitentiary in each case, the sentences to run concurrently, and has appealed.

It not infrequently happens in cases of second and third offenders that the offenders acquire a smattering of knowledge of the principles of the criminal law and think they have eruditely encompassed the entire field of criminal jurisprudence. This is a case of that nature. The appellant insists upon his court-appointed attorney presenting to this Court nine alleged assignments of error, although the attorney quite frankly, and we think quite properly, admits (with reference to several of the contentions) that "after an examination of the prior pertinent holdings of [the Court of Appeals], there have been found no previous adjudications, reference to which would serve the appellant's cause favorably * * *." The questions raised have little, if any, merit, but they will be answered seriatim.


The appellant first claims that certain remarks made by the prosecuting attorney in his opening statement and others made in his closing argument were prejudicial. The remarks are quite lengthy, and it would serve no useful purpose to set them forth in detail. Appellant's counsel objected to the remarks made in the opening statement and requested the court to instruct the jury to ignore the same. The court sustained the objection and instructed the jury to ignore the remarks. Nothing more was requested of the court. Maryland Rule 885; Lusby v. State, 217 Md. 191, 141 A.2d 893. No error was committed here.

The assertion of prejudicial error in the statements made

in the closing argument cannot be sustained. The appellant was represented by counsel. The remarks were induced, at least in part, by the conduct of the accused during the trial and by the argument of counsel for the accused. Compare Meno v. State, 117 Md. 435, 83 A. 759. But the controlling feature in this contention is that no objection to the remarks was made to the trial judge, nor was any request made for a mistrial. In this situation ordinarily there is nothing before us for determination. Maryland Rule 885; Madison v. State, 200 Md. 1, 87 A.2d 593; Hall v. State, 213, Md. 369, 131 A.2d 710. And a careful review of the entire proceedings below discloses no denial of due process of law. Compare Apple v. State, 190 Md. 661, 59 A.2d 509.


The appellant next contends that the defense of entrapment is available to him. Agent Lozowicki testified that he called the appellant on the telephone during the afternoon of October 9, 1959, and stated his name was "Slim." After discussing some of the people that were selling narcotics, the Agent informed appellant that he was interested in buying some and would like to meet him. Arrangements were made for the parties to meet a short time later at Eastern and Oldham Streets. They met according to plan, and the appellant sold him fifty dollars worth of morphine. On October 15, 1959, the Agent again called Lane and made arrangements to meet him in the vicinity of the Moses Kahn parking lot. They met, and on this occasion Lane sold him a hundred dollars worth of morphine. Again on November 7th, of the same year, the Agent had another telephone conversation with the appellant, in which the appellant stated that he had some cocaine for sale. This time they agreed to meet at the Moses Kahn parking lot. The appellant came to the lot accompanied by one Barbara Aversa. He left his car, entered the Agent's automobile and handed the Agent a package containing a number of capsules, which contained cocaine. The Agent told Lane he had his money in the trunk of his car. He stepped out of his automobile, which was a signal to fellow officers, and they immediately arrested the appellant.

Lane concedes that this Court has heretofore recognized the right of police officers "to lay a trap and unite with others to detect an offense," citing Callahan v. State, 163 Md. 298, 162 A. 856, but contends that the instant case presents a novel departure from any of the previous cases before this Court, in that here the law enforcement officers laid not one, but three traps. Agent Lozowicki stated there were several reasons why an arrest was not made immediately after the first purchase from Lane: it was desirable to locate the source of the narcotic supply if possible; the officers wanted to ...

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