Krauser, C. J., Berger, Salmon, James P., (Senior Judge,
Specially Assigned) JJ.
Maryland Court of Appeals, in Skok v. State, 361 Md.
52 (2000), made a significant change in the Maryland common
law in regards to the circumstances under which a convict
could overturn his or her conviction by filing a writ of
error coram nobis. Id. at 70, 77. Relying on the
reasoning set forth in United States v. Morgan, 346
U.S. 502 (1954) (announcing law to be applied in federal
courts), the Skok Court held that a change in the
common law governing coram nobis relief was
justified due to "contemporary conditions and public
policy." Id. at 77. The Court, 361 Md. at
78-79, listed five conditions a defendant must meet in order
to obtain coram nobis relief. One of those
conditions was that a "coram nobis petitioner
must be suffering or facing significant collateral
consequences from the conviction." Id. at 79.
case sub judice, the appellant, Michael Vaughn, pled
guilty in 2004, in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, to a
third-degree sex offense pursuant to an agreement with the
prosecutor and the circuit court judge that accepted the
plea. Before he pled guilty, Vaughn was told, inter
alia, that if the plea was accepted he would be required
to register as a sex offender "as required by law."
circuit court sentenced Vaughn to five years'
imprisonment, all suspended in favor of three years'
probation. As promised, Vaughn was ordered to register as a
sex offender and, as a condition of probation he was required
to receive sex counseling and to stay away from the victim.
Vaughn took no action for over eleven years. He then filed a
petition for a writ of error coram nobis. The
collateral consequence he relies upon in support of his
petition is that he has been required to register as a sex
offender. The issue that we are called upon to resolve is
whether the aforementioned "collateral
consequences" is sufficient to meet one of the five
conditions required for coram nobis relief.
shall hold that such a "collateral consequence" is
not sufficient to allow coram nobis relief
because, as Skok made clear, the reason for changing
the common law was to give a possible avenue of relief to
criminal defendants who could allege significant collateral
consequences arising from the conviction that were, from the
defendant's point of view, unexpected at the time the
guilty verdict was entered. Id. at 77.
Vaughn was 21 years old in July 2003 and lived at 2416
Marbourne Avenue, Apt. 3-C, in Baltimore City. The victim of
the crime to which Mr. Vaughn pleaded guilty was
"MJ", who, in 2003, was twelve years old. Mr.
Vaughn knew her age at all times here relevant.
arrived at Mr. Vaughn's apartment on July 21, 2003, while
Mr. Vaughn and the victim were still present. MJ told an
investigating police officer that she had had vaginal
intercourse with Mr. Vaughn on the evening of July 20 and
again in the morning hours of July 21, 2003. As a result of
MJ's allegations, Mr. Vaughn was charged in the Circuit
Court for Baltimore City with second-degree rape,
third-degree sex offense, fourth-degree sex offense and
March 15, 2004, Mr. Vaughn appeared in the Circuit Court for
Baltimore City. At the commencement of the proceedings, the
prosecutor placed on the record the plea agreement that the
State had entered into with the defendant and his counsel,
[T]he agreement would be that the [d]efendant plead guilty to
a third-degree sex offense, receive a five year - a sentence
of five years suspended, three years' probation, stay
away from the victim, [MJ]. Register as a sex offender as
required by law. Have sex offender counseling. And that's
counsel then explained to Mr. Vaughn some of the rights he
was giving up by entering a guilty plea. Defense counsel did
not, however, explain to Mr. Vaughn, on the record, what the
State would need to prove in order to convict him of a
third-degree sex offense.
the factual predicate for the guilty plea was placed on the
record, the circuit court, on the same day that the plea was
accepted, sentenced appellant in accordance with the plea
agreement. As mentioned, as part of that agreement, appellant
was required to register as a sex offender. In 2004, a person
convicted of a third-degree ...