Rory Leftwich v. State of Maryland
Rory Leftwich v. State of Maryland, (Ct. Spec. App., No. 1156, Sept. Term 2005) (March 19, 2007). A three judge panel of the Court of Special Appeals (Eyler, Deb. S., J.; Adkins, J.; Sharer, J.; opinion by J. Adkins) reversed the judgment of the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, Maryland, in an unreported opinion issued on March 19, 2007. Rene Sandler, Esq., represented the defendant in the trial court, and argued that the lower court was not permitted to join distinct theft related charges with separate burglary charges merely because evidence related to the theft charges was recovered when the defendant was arrested on the burglary charge. Ms. Sandler argued that the evidence from the two distinct offenses was not mutually admissible, nor sufficiently similar to constitute a “signature.” The trial judge disagreed, and allowed the joined charges to go forward in a single jury trial. Ms. Sandler secured acquittals on certain counts; however, the defendant was convicted on the counts related to the improperly joined offenses. A direct appeal was taken to the intermediate appellate court. The Assigned Public Defenders, Bryon A. Christensen, Esq., and Donald Salzman, Esq., represented the defendant on appeal, and successfully persuaded the appellate court that the defense position in the trial court was correct, and that the judge erred in refusing to sever the counts. The case has been remanded for a new trial.