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Henson v. State

Court of Special Appeals of Maryland

May 30, 2013

JULIUS HENSON
v.
STATE OF MARYLAND

Matricciani, Hotten, Moylan, Charles E., Jr. (Retired, Specially Assigned), JJ.

OPINION

MATRICCIANI, J.

Nazarian, Douglas R. M., J., did not participate in the Court's decision to report this opinion pursuant to Md. Rule 8-605.1.

A jury sitting in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City convicted appellant Julius Henson of conspiracy to violate Md. Code (2003, 2010 Repl. Vol.), §§ 13-401 and 13-602(a)(9) of the Election Law Article ("EL"), by distributing campaign material without an "authority line" disclosing the name of the responsible campaign finance entity and treasurer. At the close of evidence appellant moved unsuccessfully for a judgment of acquittal. After conviction and sentencing, appellant noted this timely appeal.

Questions Presented

Appellant presents five questions for our review; they are:

I. Was the application of E[lection] L[aw] § 16-201 (1)(7) to [appellant] [c]onstitutionally vague?
II. Was the jury verdict inconsistent in counts three (3) and five (5)?
III. Was the court's instruction to the jury on aiders and abettors clearly erroneous?
IV. Did the trial court err when it refused to allow [appellant's] experts to testify that [in their opinions] the call, its content and the lack of authority line were the responsibility of the campaign and not [appellant's] []?
V. Was the court's sentence forbidding [appellant's] participation in politics illegal?

For the reasons that follow, we answer no to each question and affirm the judgment of the circuit court.

Factual and Procedural History

In the days immediately preceding the November 2, 2010 statewide elections, senior members of the Bob Ehrlich for Maryland Campaign met to discuss strategy. The discussion among Paul Schurick, Greg Massoni, and Bernie Marczyk, [1] pertained to, inter alia, how to influence African-American voter turnout in Baltimore City and Prince George's County. The Ehrlich Campaign retained appellant's businesses, Politics Today and Universal Elections, to provide consulting services. In that capacity, appellant received a telephone call from Paul Schurick inquiring how the Campaign could decrease voter turnout in the aforementioned jurisdictions. Appellant responded that a robocall would best fit the Campaign's designs.

To effect the plan, appellant and his employee, Rhonda Russell, retained the services of a company named Robodial.org. Robodial.org owns and operates software that places recorded phone calls—known as "robocalls"—and records logistical data about them. Ms. Russell set up an account with Robodial.org and uploaded a list of phone numbers for residents in each county who were selected to receive the robocall.[2] On election day, appellant dictated the ...


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