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Young v. State

Decided: March 21, 1962.


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

Henderson, Prescott, Horney, Marbury and Sybert, JJ. Henderson, J., delivered the opinion of the Court.


The appellant was convicted of rape in a trial before the court without a jury, and after his motion for new trial had been overruled by the Supreme Bench, sentenced to death. Young was indicted for rape on December 22, 1960, and on the same day a joint indictment for burglary was filed against Young, James Bowler and Earl James Boston. The defendants received copies of the indictments on December 27, 1960,

and were arraigned on December 29, 1960. Apparently counsel were appointed for Bowler and Boston, but Young retained his own counsel. The cases were set for trial on February 20, 1961, and tried together. There was no motion or request for a separate trial.

The State produced the testimony of the prosecuting witness to the effect that she was asleep in her apartment at about 11 o'clock on the morning of November 29, 1960, when she was awakened by a man on top of her who told her to "keep her head down." He told her he had a knife. He had thrown an article of clothing over her head and threatened to kill her. She heard others in the room, but they evidently left, for the noise ceased. Her assailant then had intercourse with her, although she resisted and received scratches on her neck and forehead. When he left she went to a telephone downstairs and called the police. She identified her assailant in a police line-up a few days later, by his voice. Medical testimony was to the effect that penetration had occurred.

The State produced a statement made by Young in which he stated that in company with Bowler and Boston he went to the apartment and the others took a record player of the prosecuting witness and a suitcase, while he took her radio. He stated that she solicited him to have intercourse with her. He had never seen the woman or been in the apartment before. After intercourse, he went out with the radio and joined the others. They pawned the record player for thirty dollars, after Young had given his "identification" to the broker. They split the money three ways. After testimony from three police officers as to the circumstances surrounding the interrogation, the statement was admitted. Young's counsel did not challenge the voluntariness of the statement, but did object on the ground that the length of detention, and three periods of questioning, rendered it inadmissible.

The testimony of all the officers was to the effect that there had been no mistreatment, threats made or inducements offered. Young had been arrested early in the morning of December 2, 1960. They recovered the record player and other articles upon information supplied by Young. After three short periods of intermittent questioning, Young gave the

statement at about 8 P. M. on the same day. He had been "confronted" with Bowler and Boston at about 5 P. M. They had made statements earlier in the day.

The statements of Bowler and Boston were offered in evidence over objection of counsel for Young. The court admitted them "only as to Boston and Bowler, not against Young".

Bowler and Boston were found guilty on the burglary charge and each was sentenced to ten years. Young was found guilty of rape and burglary, but the verdict as to rape was striken out by the trial judge, of his own motion, because of an incident that occurred before the close of the case. It appears that counsel for Young stated that his client did not desire to take the stand, but when the court questioned Young as to the matter, Young replied that he did. But when his counsel stated that he was surprised, Young said he would abide by his counsel's decision. The court then rendered its verdict and a motion for new trial was filed. But when the court indicated that it was willing to strike the verdict, counsel for Young agreed, and voluntarily dismissed the pending motion for a new trial. After a continuance of a few days, the case was resumed and Young took the stand. He admitted having intercourse with the prosecuting witness at the time alleged in the indictment, but swore for the first time that he had had voluntary intercourse with her on two previous occasions. He reiterated that she had solicited the intercourse on the occasion in question, denied taking the radio, which was among the articles recovered and offered in evidence, and denied making the statements attributed to him by the other codefendants in the burglary case. The State brought out in cross-examination that Young had a long criminal record. The trial court again found Young guilty of rape and, after a new trial had been denied, sentenced him to death. On this appeal Young was represented by new counsel of his own selection.

The appellant contends that the procedure whereby the first verdict was stricken out and the accused allowed to testify was irregular and constituted prejudicial error. We do not agree. The vacillating statements of the accused as to whether he desired to testify or not were sufficient, we ...

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