Argued: May 13, 2019
Circuit Court for Baltimore County Case Nos. 03-C-18-006040
C.J., Gould, Harrell, Glenn T., Jr. (Senior Judge, Specially
Pablo Javier Aleman pleaded guilty to the second-degree
murder of his former landlord, for which a Baltimore County
jury found him not criminally responsible
("NCR"). Ordinarily, a finding of
NCR would require the court to commit the defendant to the
Maryland Department of Health ("Department of
Health"), which in turn would admit him to an
appropriate facility for the evaluation and treatment of any
was no ordinary case. Mr. Aleman had been serving a prison
sentence in Ohio when Maryland took temporary custody of him
under the Interstate Agreement on Detainers
("IAD") for the limited purpose of
trying him for the Maryland charges. Under the IAD, once the
Maryland trial was over, Maryland's temporary custody
over Mr. Aleman ended and it was required to promptly return
him to Ohio.
Mr. Aleman would prefer to be evaluated and, if necessary,
treated for any mental disorders in Maryland rather than be
incarcerated in Ohio. To this end, he argues that the
statutory obligation to commit him to the Department of
Health supersedes any obligation Maryland may otherwise have
under the IAD to return him to Ohio. In support of his
argument, Mr. Aleman points to a provision of the IAD that
specifies that none of its provisions or remedies shall apply
to a prisoner who is adjudged to be mentally ill.
appeal emerges from the intersection of these seemingly
conflicting statutes and requires us to consider what happens
when a prisoner-who has invoked the benefit of a speedy trial
in Maryland made possible by the IAD-is then adjudged to have
been mentally ill at the time he committed the crime in that
state. We find that here, the IAD still applies to Mr. Aleman
notwithstanding the jury's finding of NCR, and Maryland,
having had only temporary custody of Mr. Aleman, must return
him to Ohio as required by the IAD. Accordingly, we shall
affirm the judgment of the circuit court.
THE UNDERLYING CASE
early 2016, Mr. Aleman fatally stabbed his former landlord at
the latter's home in Baltimore County. He then fled
Maryland. Two weeks later, in Ohio, Mr. Aleman had an
altercation with the police during which he threatened an
officer with a knife. The officer shot Mr. Aleman to disarm
and apprehend him. Mr. Aleman was heard to say, "I
don't want to kill somebody else.  I wanted the officer
to kill me." An Ohio jury convicted Mr. Aleman of
felonious assault, resulting in an eleven-year prison
authorities notified Ohio of the charges still pending in
Maryland by way of a "detainer." As a result, Mr.
Aleman filed a request under the IAD to face trial for the
murder charges pending against him in Maryland. In requesting
disposition of the Maryland charges, Mr. Aleman signed an
agreement stating that he "consent[s] to be . . .
returned" to Ohio after trial. Upon his return to
Maryland, Mr. Aleman asserted a plea of NCR and then pleaded
guilty to second degree murder. From the results of an
examination ordered by the circuit court pursuant to Md. Code
Ann., Crim. Proc. ("CP") §
3-111(a) (2001, 2018 Repl. Vol.),  the circuit court determined
that Mr. Aleman was competent to stand trial.
Aleman's plea of NCR was tried by a jury on May 31, 2018.
The jury found that he was NCR at the time of the murder, and
the court entered an order committing him to the Department
officials refused to transport Mr. Aleman to the Department
of Health facility, and instead "prepared to return him
to Ohio" pursuant to the IAD. Mr. Aleman filed a
petition for a writ of habeas corpus to challenge his
continued confinement in the local detention center, arguing
that he should have been committed to the Department of
Health instead. The court denied the habeas corpus petition
and determined that Mr. Aleman should be sent back to
Ohio. The court stayed its prior order of
commitment to the Department of Health but enjoined Maryland
from returning him to Ohio pending this appeal.
THE INTERSTATE AGREEMENT ON DETAINERS
addressing the parties' specific arguments, and to place
the parties' contentions in their appropriate context, we
first briefly address the history and framework of the IAD.
The IAD is an interstate compact designed to facilitate the
orderly disposition of detainers. A "detainer" is
"a notification filed with the institution in which a
prisoner is serving a sentence, advising that he is wanted to
face pending criminal charges in another jurisdiction."
State v. Pair, 416 Md. 157, 161 n.2 (2010) (citing
Stone v. State, 344 Md. 97, 108 (1996)). Prior to
the IAD, unresolved detainers were known to complicate the
prisoner's ability to fully participate in the
rehabilitative, educational, and vocational services and
programs offered by the incarcerating institution. State
v. Jefferson, 319 Md. 674, 679-80 (1990) (citing
Carchman v. Nash, 473 U.S. 716, 730 (1985)). Such
problems were described by the Court of Appeals in
[T]he inmate is (1) deprived of an opportunity to obtain a
sentence to run concurrently with the sentence being served
at the time the detainer is filed; (2) classified as a
maximum or close custody risk; (3) ineligible for initial
assignments to less than maximum security prisons (i.e.,
honor farms or forestry camp work); (4) ineligible for
trustee status; (5) not allowed to live in preferred living
quarters such as dormitories; (6) ineligible for
study-release programs or work-release programs; (7)
ineligible to be transferred to preferred medium or minimum
custody institutions within the correctional system, which
includes the removal of any possibility of transfer to an
institution more appropriate for youthful offenders; (8) not
entitled to preferred prison jobs which carry higher wages
and entitle [him] to additional good time credits against
[his] sentence; (9) inhibited by the denial of possibility of
parole or any commutation of his sentence; (10) caused
anxiety and thus hindered in the overall rehabilitation
process since he cannot take maximum advantage of his
1956, the Council of State Governments drafted what would
become the IAD to address such problems. Pair, 416
Md. at 160. The IAD took the form of a
congressionally-sanctioned compact between its member
states. Id. Maryland adopted the IAD in
1965, and it has been adopted by forty-eight states, the
Federal Government, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and
the District of Columbia. Id. Under the IAD, the
states agreed to limit their authority over certain prisoners
in exchange for the right to quickly dispose of untried
indictments of defendants serving time in other states.
See Thomas R. Clark, The Effect of Violations of
the Interstate Agreement on Detainers on Subject Matter
Jurisdiction, 54 Fordham L. Rev. 1209, 1218 n.46 (1986)
("The IAD is a limitation on the receiving
is triggered by the filing of a detainer. Once filed, the
incarcerating state (the "sending
state") must notify the prisoner that the
detainer has been filed and advise him of his right to a
speedy disposition of the underlying charges in the state
that filed the detainer (the "receiving
state"). See, e.g., Md. Code Ann.,
Corr. Servs. ("CS") §
8-405(c) (1999, 2017 Repl. Vol.).
has two mechanisms by which the prisoner may be transferred
to the receiving state. First, Article III (codified in
Maryland as CS § 8-405) gives the prisoner the right to
demand a speedy disposition of the pending charges.
Pair, 416 Md. at 162 (citing Carchman, 473
U.S. at 718-19). If the receiving state does not bring the
prisoner to trial within 180 days of his request, the IAD
requires the receiving state to dismiss the charges with
prejudice. See CS § 8-405(a).
Article IV (CS § 8-406) permits the receiving state to
request the transfer of the prisoner to stand trial.
Pair, 416 Md. at 162 (citing Reed v.
Farley, 512 U.S. 339, 341 (1994)). Under this provision,
the receiving state must start the trial within 120 days of
the prisoner's arrival in the receiving state or risk
dismissal of the charges. See CS § 8-406(c).
either mechanism, the IAD enables the orderly transfer from
the sending state to the receiving state. The receiving state
obtains only temporary custody of the prisoner for the
limited purpose of prosecuting the outstanding charges; for
all other purposes, the sending state retains custody over
the prisoner. CS § 8-406(d), (g). The receiving state,
therefore, must return the prisoner to the sending state
promptly after the trial. CS § 8-406(e).
THE PARTIES' CONTENTIONS
Aleman contends that CP § 3-112-which requires Maryland
to commit to the Department of Health any defendant deemed
not criminally responsible-prevents Maryland from sending him
back to Ohio to serve his sentence there. This statute
states, in relevant part:
Except as provided in subsection (f) of this section, after a
verdict of not criminally responsible, the court shall order
the defendant committed to the facility that the Health
Department designates for institutional inpatient care or
CP § 3-112(b).
to the use of the word "shall" in CP § 3-112,
Mr. Aleman argues that Maryland's obligation to commit
him to the custody of the Department of Health is not a
matter of discretion, and therefore overrides the IAD's
requirement that he be returned to Ohio. Mr. Aleman
further argues that the IAD no longer applies to him, because
it was rendered inapplicable by Article VI of the IAD (CS
§ 8-408), which states that the IAD does not apply to
any defendant who is adjudged to be mentally ill. With the
IAD out of the way, Mr. Aleman maintains that Maryland has no
choice but to comply with CP § 3-112. In Mr.
Aleman's analysis of the plain language in CS §
8-408(b), he sees no reason not to apply it to the jury's
finding that he had been insane two years earlier when he had
committed the underlying crime. And in any event, Mr. Aleman
argues the jury's finding in this case creates an
inference that he was mentally ill at the time of the
verdict, thus falling within the present tense phrasing used
in CS § 8-408(b).
State counters that Maryland had only temporary custody over
Mr. Aleman to begin with, and that this custody ended once he
entered his guilty plea. At that point, the IAD required
Maryland to send Mr. Aleman back to Ohio under CS §
8-407(e). Any contrary finding would, according to the State,
undermine the dual purposes of the IAD of expediting the
resolution of untried charges and establishing procedures
designed to promote cooperation among the participating
states to facilitate the expeditious resolution of detainers.
These purposes were fulfilled once Mr. Aleman pleaded guilty
to the charges because, at that point, there were no
remaining charges looming over Mr. Aleman's head.
Accordingly, the State argues its obligation to return Mr.
Aleman to Ohio ripened before the jury even came back with
its finding of NCR.
whether CS § 8-408(b) applies, the State argues that it
only applies when a prisoner is still physically located in
the sending state, because it is at that point that
objections to his transfer based on mental incompetence can
be raised and resolved. In Mr. Aleman's case, the State
contends, § 8-408(b) could have potentially prevented
his transfer from Ohio to Maryland had he been deemed
mentally ill at that time, but did not apply once he was
transferred to Maryland.
the State argues that Mr. Aleman waived any rights he might
otherwise have had to remain in Maryland when he invoked his
rights under the IAD to be transferred to Maryland to stand
trial. For this proposition, the State relies on Mr.
Aleman's written demand to be transferred, which he
signed in the presence of two witnesses, that states his