Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County Case No.
Nazarian, Salmon, James P. (Senior Judge, Specially
October 20, 2015, Jimmie Rogers pleaded guilty in the Circuit
Court for Anne Arundel County to a single count of human
trafficking under Maryland Code § 11-303(a) of the
Criminal Law Article ("CR"). Under Maryland Code
§§ 11-701(p)(2) and 11-704 of the Criminal
Procedure Article ("CP"), Mr. Rogers qualified as a
tier II sex offender and was required to register upon
release from prison because he was convicted of violating CR
§ 11-303 and his victim was a minor. Mr. Rogers
registered with the Maryland Sex Offender Registry
("MSOR") as instructed on October 4, 2016.
January 31, 2017, Mr. Rogers filed a complaint in the circuit
court seeking a declaratory judgment that he was not required
to register as a sex offender because, he argued, the State
had failed to establish that his victim was, in fact, a
minor. The State and Mr. Rogers both filed motions for
summary judgment-the State contended that there was no
factual dispute that the victim was a minor, while Mr. Rogers
argued that there was no factual dispute that she wasn't.
The circuit court granted Mr. Rogers's motion and entered
a declaratory judgment stating that Mr. Rogers's
conviction did not require him to register as a sex offender.
The State appeals that decision and we reverse and remand for
further proceedings consistent with this opinion.
1, 2015, Mr. Rogers was charged by indictment in the Circuit
Court for Anne Arundel County with five counts of human
trafficking a minor victim and two counts of prostitution. At
the start of Mr. Rogers's plea hearing five months later,
Count Five of the indictment was amended from alleging that
he had trafficked a minor victim, citing CR § 11-303(b),
to human trafficking generally, citing CR § 11-303(a).
Mr. Rogers pleaded guilty to the amended Count Five and the
State entered a nolle prosequi on the remaining
Rogers's plea hearing, the State laid out the facts it
planned to prove at trial. On April 3, 2015, Maryland State
Trooper Heid was searching for a missing young woman, M.H.,
was believed to be the victim of human trafficking. In the
course of his investigation, Trooper Heid came across a post
on Backpage, a website known to him as an advertising hub for
sex workers and human trafficking victims. Based on his
knowledge and experience in human trafficking investigations,
he suspected that the person featured in the post was a human
trafficking victim and might be M.H.
Heid called the number provided on the Backpage post to set
up a meeting with the subject for 9:00 that morning. He
suspected that the person he spoke to on the phone was a man
attempting to disguise his voice as a woman's. Based on
the pictures on Backpage, Trooper Heid believed the victim
was at a Red Roof Inn in Linthicum, a hotel he knew was a
popular prostitution venue. Trooper Heid and several
colleagues surveilled the Red Roof Inn's parking lot and
saw Mr. Rogers emerge from a vehicle, enter a motel room,
return minutes later, and drive off. Shortly thereafter,
Trooper Heid received a phone call from the number he'd
found on Backpage. The caller, who had a different voice than
the individual to whom he had spoken earlier, instructed him
to come to room 333.
the police knocked on the door, a young woman, later revealed
to be M.H., answered. The officers identified themselves and
M.H. explained that her "boss," later identified as
Mr. Rogers, had rented the hotel room for her and would be
back to check on her soon. She stated that Mr. Rogers had
posted her ad on Backpage and that she had, over several
days, had sexual intercourse with men for money at Mr.
Rogers's direction. M.H. explained that Mr. Rogers set up
"dates" for her through Backpage and kept half of
the proceeds in exchange for security. It was later revealed
that Mr. Rogers had, in fact, been holding all of the
proceeds from M.H.'s sex work.
Rogers was sentenced to ten years' imprisonment and two
years' probation. All but 548 days of Mr. Rogers's
imprisonment were suspended and he got credit for 202 days
already served. Upon release, he registered as a tier II sex
offender, as mandated by CP § 11-704, when a person is
convicted under CR § 11-303, and their victim is a
minor. See CP § 11-701(p)(2).
January 31, 2017, Mr. Rogers filed a complaint for
declaratory judgment in the circuit court seeking a
declaration that he was not required to register as a sex
offender and ordering the State to remove his name from the
MSOR. In his motion for summary judgment, he argued that
because he had not been convicted under CR §11-303(b),
and because the State had failed to produce any evidence that
M.H. was a minor, he did not qualify as a tier II sex
offender under CP § 11-701(p)(2). Mr. Rogers provided no
evidence to support his motion.
State filed its own motion for summary judgment and countered
that because Mr. Rogers indisputably had been convicted under
CR § 11-303 and had never contested M.H.'s minority,
the plain language of CP § 11-704 required him to
register. The State attached to its motion the affidavit of
Allison Gilford, the supervisor and custodian of records for
the MSOR, and several documents that purported to demonstrate
M.H.'s minority status: (1) Mr. Rogers's Criminal
Hearing Sheet indicating he pleaded guilty to Count Five
after it was amended to cite CR § 11-303(b) rather than
§ 11-303(a), (2) the Statement of Charges prepared by
Trooper Heid, which indicated repeatedly that M.H. was a
minor, and (3) the indictment charging him with five counts
of trafficking a minor victim.
hearing, the circuit court granted Mr. Rogers's motion
for summary judgment and issued a declaration stating that
"Jimmie Rogers is not required to register as a tier II
sex offender on the basis of his conviction in State of
Maryland vs. Jimmie Junior Rogers, 02-K-15-1039"
and that "Defendants State of Maryland and Maryland
Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services . . .
shall remove Mr. Rogers' name from any and all sex
offender registries on which it appears as a result of