Argued: May 4, 2017
Court for Montgomery County Case No. 116959
Barbera, C.J., Greene, Adkins, McDonald, Watts, Hotten,
Bashawn Montgomery Ray, pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to
commit theft and making a false statement to the police at a
hearing based on an agreed statement of facts, and was
thereafter sentenced to ten years' incarceration with six
years suspended and four years' probation. He argues that
the circuit court imposed an illegal sentence after it bound
itself to a "[c]ap of four years on any executed
incarceration." Petitioner contends that a reasonable
lay person in his position would not have understood the
agreement's cap to mean that the circuit court could have
imposed a suspended sentence and probation in addition to
incarceration for up to four years. We affirm the judgment of
the Court of Special Appeals, holding that the plain language
of the cap was clear and unambiguous, and thus,
Petitioner's sentence was legal.
AND LEGAL PROCEEDINGS
was charged by indictment in the Circuit Court for Montgomery
County with conspiracy to commit theft of property with a
value over $1, 000, theft scheme, identity fraud, and making
a false statement to the police. After the denial of his
motion to suppress evidence, Petitioner and the State entered
into the following agreement: Petitioner would proceed by way
of a plea of not guilty with an agreed statement of facts on
the conspiracy and false statement charges, and the State
would enter the remaining counts as nolle
prosequi. This agreement was written, signed by the
prosecutor and Petitioner's attorney, and submitted to
the circuit court's Assignment Office, in the form of an
agreement memorandum. The memorandum contained the following
The defendant agrees to proceed by way of an agreed statement
of facts on count one, amended to allege conspiracy to commit
theft of property having a value at least $1, 000 but less
than $10, 000 and on count four, alleging false statement
when under arrest.
Cap of four years on any executed
Judgments of restitution totaling $8, 377 will be entered
as part of the sentence, not merely as a term of probation.
The State will enter nolle prosequi as to counts two and
three at sentencing.
The State will defer to the Court as to the defendant's
bond status between the date of the trial and the date of
The defendant will waive his right under Maryland Rule
4-345(e) to request modification of his sentence.
addition to the agreement memorandum, the record reflects a
form entitled "GUILTY PLEA - VOIR DIRE[.]" We
recognize that the form's title is inaccurate- Petitioner
did not enter a guilty plea. This form was characterized at
the hearing at which Petitioner pleaded not guilty on an
agreed statement of facts as an "advice of rights
form[.]" At the hearing, Petitioner's counsel stated
"I have crossed out a number of items" on the form
"that deal with the appeal issues because [Petitioner]
would maintain his appeal rights[.]" The form, signed by
Petitioner and his counsel, outlines the elements of the
conspiracy and false statement counts, and states that
"[t]he maximum penalty for the offense you are offering
to plead guilty is: 10 years 6 months[.]"
hearing at which Petitioner pleaded not guilty on an agreed
statement of facts, and the subsequent trial, were held on
April 18, 2011. The circuit court read into the record the
terms of the agreement:
THE COURT: The terms of the plea are that [Petitioner] agrees
to proceed by way of an agreed statement of facts on Count 1,
amended to allege conspiracy to commit theft of property
having a value of at least $1, 000 but less than $10, 000.
And on Count 4, alleging false statement when under arrest.
There's a cap of four years [on executed incarceration.
The State will enter a nolle prosequi to Counts 2 and 3 at
sentencing, and the State will defer to the Court as to
defendant's bond status between the date of trial and the
date of sentencing.
The defendant will waive any right under Maryland [R]ule
4-345(e) to request a modification of his sentence.
Are those the complete terms of the agreement?
[DEFENSE COUNSEL]: They are, Your Honor. Mr. Montgomery,
understanding those terms of the agreement -
Are those the terms of the plea agreement that you and I
[PETITIONER]: Yes. What was it about the bond issue?
[DEFENSE COUNSEL]: The bond is that the State's not going
to be asking to have your bond revoked -
THE COURT: Whether you stay out of jail between now and the
time you get sentenced or not, the State is not going to
request that you be locked up while ...