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Baker v. State

Court of Special Appeals of Maryland

July 6, 2015

MICHAEL EDWARD BAKER
v.
STATE OF MARYLAND

Woodward, Graeff, Moylan, Charles E., Jr. (Retired, Specially Assigned), JJ.

OPINION

GRAEFF, J.

On November 8, 2013, Michael Edward Baker, appellant, was arrested and charged with second degree rape, second degree sex offense, fourth degree sex offense, second degree assault, and impersonating a police officer. Appellant subsequently was convicted, in the Circuit Court for Cecil County, of each offense, and the court sentenced him to a prison term of ten years.[1]

On appeal, appellant raises three issues for our review, which we have reordered and rephrased slightly, as follows:

1. Did the circuit court err in admitting call records obtained from appellant's phone service provider and expert testimony relating to the records?
2. Did the circuit court err in failing to exclude appellant's statement to the police?
3. Did the prosecutor's closing argument constitute plain error?

For the reasons set forth below, we answer question one in the affirmative, and therefore, we shall reverse the judgments of the circuit court.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Because appellant does not challenge the sufficiency of the evidence to support his conviction, we will recite only those facts necessary to provide context to our discussion of appellant's contentions.

I. A.O.'s Allegations

On July 18, 2013, the victim, A.O. was "prostituting" at the Knights Inn on Belle Road in Cecil County.[2] She testified that the person she worked for, her former boyfriend, set up an advertisement on a website, backpage.com, which listed a "Google account number, " "a separate [phone] number that rings to your personal phone."

Sometime after dark, she received a call from a man, whom she later identified as appellant, seeking an encounter with her. She told appellant where to meet her, and he came to her hotel room between 7:00 and 9:00 p.m.

Appellant stated that he wanted to engage in oral and vaginal sex without a condom. A.O. told him that she did not do that. Appellant pulled out what appeared to be a police badge and told A.O. that he was a police officer. He said that if she did not do what he told her to do, he was going to arrest her, and he "made [her] write down [her] information like a cop would do." He also informed her that "his supervisor was in a nearby room."

Appellant then physically struck A.O. and forced her to engage in oral and vaginal sex without the use of a condom. At one point during the encounter, appellant appeared to receive a phone call, and he responded to the person on the phone: "Yeah, I'm with her right now, she's scared, but there's not really nothing here I could charge her for, so we will wrap things up." After appellant left, A.O. was "an emotional wreck, " and she told several girls that she worked with that she had been raped.

At some point in the week following the rape, appellant contacted A.O. again. He told her: "Hey, it's Mike, the cop from the other night, I just want to let you know that don't be out there tonight because they are doing stings again, " and he stated that he just wanted to warn her. After this call, A.O. put appellant's phone number in her cell phone under the contact name: "Do not answer." The day after the second phone call, A.O.'s boyfriend arranged for her to meet with a police officer, but A.O. was "still an emotional wreck, " and she refused to talk to the officer.

In October 2013, Trooper First Class Alan Flaugher approached A.O. to question her about the rape. Although A.O. was hesitant to talk to Trooper Flaugher because she believed appellant was a police officer, and she "didn't want to talk to another cop about what a cop did to" her, she eventually spoke with Trooper Flaugher. She showed Trooper Flaugher appellant's number on her phone and described how appellant raped her. Trooper Flaugher later showed her a ...


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