The opinion of the court was delivered by: Eldridge, J.
Bell, C. J. Harrell Battaglia Greene Adkins Barbera Eldridge, John C. (Retired, Specially Assigned) JJ.
The General Assembly, at its 2009 session, amended the Maryland theft statute to provide, inter alia, that the theft of property with a value of less than $1,000 is a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment not exceeding 18 months. The statute was also amended to provide that the theft of property with a value of at least $1,000 but less than $10,000 is a felony punishable by imprisonment not exceeding ten years. See Ch. 655 of the Acts of 2009; Maryland Code (2002, 2012 Repl. Vol.), § 7-104(g)(1)(i) and (2)(i) of the Criminal Law Article. Prior to these 2009 amendments, the theft statute's dividing line between a misdemeanor punishable by 18 months imprisonment and a felony punishable by a greater period of imprisonment was $500. The bill, which became Ch. 655 and which contained the 2009 amendments to the theft statute, was signed by the Governor on May 19, 2009, and had an effective date of October 1, 2009.
The petitioner, Calvin Waker, on March 30, 2009, committed a theft of property valued at $615. After one postponement, his trial was held on December 11, 2009. Waker was found guilty of the theft of property having a value of $615, and he was sentenced to ten years in prison. This Court granted a petition for a writ of certiorari to decide whether the penalty provisions of the 2009 theft statute amendments were applicable to Waker's sentencing.
The facts in this case are not disputed by the parties. Calvin Waker was charged in the District Court of Maryland, Baltimore County, with four counts of theft and one count of making a false statement to a police officer. Pursuant to Waker's request for a jury trial, the case was transferred to the Circuit Court for Baltimore County. Waker thereafter waived his right to a jury trial, and, on December 11, 2009, he was tried on a "agreed not guilty statement of facts." The Court found Waker guilty of theft of property having a value of $615, and the remaining charges were nolle prossed. As previously mentioned, Waker was sentenced to ten years incarceration.
According to the agreed statement of facts, Waker made a purchase at the Wal- Mart store at Putty Hill Avenue in Baltimore County on March 30, 2009, using a fraudulent credit card. Included in his purchase were four CDs, a pair of jeans, and a television set. The total cost of the items was $615.60. He was apprehended later the same day when he attempted to use the same fraudulent credit card at another Wal-Mart store in Cockeysville. Waker was charged, inter alia, with "steal[ing] property of [a] Wal-mart Store . . . having a value of $615.60 . . . in violation of" § 7-104 of the Criminal Law Article.
At the time of Waker's offense on March 30, 2009, the penalty provisions of § 7- 104(g) of the Criminal Law Article read as follows:
"§ 7-104. General theft provisions.
(g) Penalty. - (1) A person convicted of theft of property or services with a value of $500 or more is guilty of a felony and:
(i) is subject to imprisonment not exceeding 15 years or a fine not exceeding $25,000 or both; and
(ii) shall restore the property taken to the owner or pay the owner the value of the property or services."
Ch. 655 of the Acts of 2009, which became effective more than two months before Waker's trial and sentencing, modified the penalty provisions of § 7-104(g). The amended provisions of § 7-104(g) provided, in relevant part, as follows:
"(g) Penalty. - (1) A person convicted of theft of property or services with a value of:
(i) at least $1,000 but less than $10,000 is guilty of a felony and:
1. is subject to imprisonment not exceeding 10 years or a fine not exceeding ...