Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Kranz v. State

Court of Special Appeals of Maryland

August 30, 2017

WILLIAM LOUIS KRANZ
v.
STATE OF MARYLAND

         Circuit Court for Cecil County Case No. 07-K-06-000806

          Woodward, C.J., Graeff, Berger, JJ.

          OPINION

          Berger, J.

         William Louis Kranz, appellant, was convicted, following a jury trial in the Circuit Court for Cecil County, of two counts each of assault in the first degree and reckless endangerment. The court then sentenced Kranz to a total term of five years' imprisonment, to be followed by three years' supervised probation.

         Thereafter, Kranz filed a petition, under the Maryland Uniform Postconviction Procedure Act, seeking to vacate his convictions on the ground that the State had committed a Brady violation -- that, at the time of his trial, an Assistant State's Attorney in Cecil County, although not involved in Kranz's criminal case, was representing the two victims in that case in a separate civil action against Kranz, arising out of the same incident, but that that conflict had not been disclosed to the defense. The postconviction court ruled that the State had, indeed, failed to make a required disclosure to Kranz, but it nonetheless denied his petition on the basis that the State's nondisclosure was not "material" because it did not "create a reasonable probability of a different result."

         Subsequently, Kranz filed an application for leave to appeal from that decision, which this Court granted. It, therefore, appeared that the issue before us was whether the postconviction court had erred in concluding that the State's nondisclosure was not "material" and, concomitantly, whether the postconviction court had applied the correct materiality standard under the facts of this case.[1] However, unbeknownst to the applications panel, sometime after Kranz had filed his application for leave to appeal but prior to the granting of that application, Kranz completed serving his sentence, including the three-year probationary period.

         In its brief, the State has included a motion to dismiss, asserting that, upon the completion of Kranz's sentence, this Court was divested of appellate jurisdiction and therefore must dismiss this appeal. For the reasons that follow, we shall grant that motion.

         BACKGROUND

         We quote the memorandum opinion of the postconviction court for factual background:

Kranz was convicted of first degree assault and reckless endangerment by a jury in the Circuit Court for Cecil County, for shooting victims Brandi Schaffer and George McSwain when they were accidentally driving on his property. After his conviction, but before sentencing, Kranz learned that Ms. Schaffer and Mr. McSwain had filed a civil suit against him over the same incident. They were seeking damages in excess of one million dollars. They obtained Kevin Urick as counsel in the civil suit.
Mr. Urick (hereafter ASA Urick) serves as a full time [A]ssistant [S]tate's [A]ttorney while also maintaining a private practice.[2] As an ASA, Mr. Urick worked under the State's Attorney, Christopher Eastridge: the prosecuting attorney in Mr. Kranz's criminal trial. ASA Urick was in no way involved in the criminal prosecution of Mr. Kranz and had no contact with Mr. Eastridge regarding preparation for the case. However, Mr. Eastridge was aware of ASA Urick's representation of Ms. Schaffer and Mr. McSwain in the civil suit and at no time disclosed this information to Mr. Kranz nor to his attorney.
Mr. Kranz's criminal trial may reasonably be considered close as he was tried twice as a result of a hung jury in his first trial.[3] In the latter trial the [S]tate's case was put on primarily by use of circumstantial evidence as the [S]tate was not able to present any direct evidence against Mr. Kranz. Likewise, victims Ms. Schaffer and Mr. McSwain were the [S]tate's key witnesses. The record states that neither Ms. Schaffer nor Mr. McSwain could positively identify Mr. Kranz as the shooter and instead could only testify as to seeing a shadowy figure immediately prior to the shots being fired. Mr. Kranz's trial counsel cross-examined both witnesses but ultimately was unsuccessful in persuading the jury to find in favor of Mr. Kranz.
After the jury's verdict but prior to being sentenced, Mr. Kranz was notified of the civil suit filed against him by Ms. Schaffer and Mr. McSwain. Subsequently, he notified his trial counsel of the information. Prior to sentencing defense counsel filed a motion for new trial that did not include claims regarding a Brady violation by the [S]tate for failing to disclose ASA Urick's representation of Ms. Schaffer and Mr. McSwain in the civil suit. The trial court denied this motion. Mr. Kranz filed an appeal on August 17, 2009.
On September 23, 2009 another motion for new trial was filed. A hearing for this new trial motion was held on December 11, 2009 before Judge Kahl. This motion was denied. Subsequently, the Court of Special Appeals issued Judge Moylan's unreported opinion on November 9, 2010 affirming ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.