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Rollins v. State

Court of Special Appeals of Maryland

March 29, 2018


          Circuit Court for Worcester County Case No. 23-K-16-000241

          Berger, Beachley, Thieme, Raymond G., Jr. (Senior Judge, Specially Assigned), JJ.


          BERGER, JUDGE.

         Following a jury trial, Edward Dorsey Ellis Rollins, III ("Rollins"), appellant, was convicted in the Circuit Court for Worcester County of one count of indecent exposure and one count of disorderly conduct based upon events that occurred on June 22, 2016. Rollins received a sentence of ninety days' incarceration, all of which was suspended. The court ordered that Rollins serve eighteen months of supervised probation.

         Rollins raises three issues on appeal, which we have rephrased and consolidated as two issues as follows:

1. Whether the circuit court committed reversible error with respect to its jury instruction on the elements of the crime of indecent exposure.
2. Whether the circuit court committed reversible error with respect to its instruction that, in order to convict Rollins of disorderly conduct, the State was required to prove that Rollins "acted in a public place or public conveyance."

         For the reasons explained herein, we shall affirm.


         Many of the underlying facts relating to Rollins's criminal conviction are unrelated to the limited issues before us in this appeal. We set forth the facts relevant to this appeal, as well as limited additional facts in order to provide the appropriate context for our consideration of the issues.

         The events giving rise to this appeal occurred in Ocean City, Maryland on June 21-22, 2016. Karen Lynn, Lisa Smith, Glorilyn Rowe, and Nancy Schrey were visiting Ocean City and staying at the Atlantis condominium complex. During the same time period, Rollins was a guest at the Clarion Hotel, which is adjacent to the Atlantis.

         At around 12:00 p.m. on June 21, Lynn and Smith were on the enclosed balcony of their condominium unit. Rowe and Schrey did not arrive until later that evening. From their balcony, Lynn and Smith observed a naked man, later determined to be Rollins, in front of an open sliding glass door in a hotel room at the adjacent Clarion Hotel. The women initially believed that Rollins had mistakenly walked in front of the sliding glass door without realizing that the door was open and that he could be seen from outside. Subsequently, however, Rollins opened the screen door and "looked right over at" the women. The women then observed Rollins "holding" and "stroking" his penis while making eye contact with the women. The women estimated that Rollins continued to masturbate for approximately fifteen minutes.[1] Smith contacted the Clarion Hotel to inform them that there was a gentleman standing naked at his balcony window. The women photographed Rollins, intending to show the photographs to the Clarion manager so that hotel management would "make him stop."

         That evening, Rowe and Schrey arrived at the Atlantis condominium. All four women testified as to what they observed the following afternoon, on June 22, 2016. At approximately 2:30 p.m., the women again observed Rollins naked in front of his open sliding glass door. Rollins "looked like [he was] posing, " "rubb[ed] his butt, " and "ben[t] over." At some point, Rollins sat down on a piece of furniture in front of the open sliding glass door and masturbated. The women could see that Rollins had an erection at this time. Rollins had "his legs really far apart" and was "looking right at" the women.

         The women testified that Rollins masturbated in front of the open sliding door on multiple occasions throughout the afternoon. Lynn testified that she observed Rollins masturbating twice that afternoon. Smith testified that she observed Rollins masturbating on "three separate occasions, " while Rowe and Schrey each testified that they observed Rollins masturbating four separate times during the afternoon. Rowe testified that Rollins was looking "directly at [her], directly in [her] eyes" while he was masturbating "with a fully erect penis." Lynn and Schrey similarly testified that Rollins looked directly at the women while masturbating.

         The women contacted Atlantis security to report Rollins's conduct. Atlantis security representative Michelle Jones arrived at the women's unit to confirm the report. The women pointed out the balcony where they had observed Rollins. Within approximately two minutes after Jones began looking in Rollins's direction, she observed Rollins appear with a towel wrapped around his waist. Within "seconds, " Rollins "turned around and dropped the towel, " exposing his penis. Jones observed as Rollins sat down on a dark piece of furniture and "started to masturbate." Jones testified that Rollins was positioned in such a manner that she was concerned that Atlantis hotel guests, including children, might be able to see Rollins from the pool area below. Thereafter, Jones contacted the Ocean City Police Department.

         Officer Kevin Flower responded to Jones's call and met with the women at their condominium unit. While Flower was there, he observed Rollins walk to the sliding door of his hotel room and expose his buttocks. The next day, Officer Flower and Sergeant Gregory DiGiovanni continued to investigate. Sergeant DiGiovanni stood in the position in Rollins's hotel room where Rollins had been observed standing the day prior, while Officer Flower stood in the women's condominium unit at the Atlantis. Officer Flower testified that he could easily see Sergeant DiGiovanni standing at his balcony door in the hotel room at the Clarion. Officer Flower and Sergeant DiGiovanni then switched places with identical results.

         Rollins was charged with two counts each of disorderly conduct and indecent exposure. One count of each was based upon Rollins's alleged conduct on each of the two days. Following a jury trial, the jury returned a not guilty verdict as to the charges based upon Rollins's conduct on June 21, 2016. The jury found Rollins guilty of disorderly conduct and indecent exposure for his conduct on June 22, 2016.

         Additional facts shall be discussed as necessitated by our discussion of the issues on appeal.

         STANDARD ...

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