Illegal Deferred Sentence. Montgomery v. State.


Brief Brief: Montgomery v State 405 Md 67 (2007)

Issue: Illegal Deferred Sentence

Facts:  The defendant was convicted “of violating the conditions of a previously imposed period of probation. The court sentenced Montgomery to ten years imprisonment for the violation, with no new period of probation involved. The court then deferred for three years the date when the defendant was  to report to the Division of Correction and begin serving his sentence. The reason given for the deferral, by the trial judge at sentencing, was that, “if you [Montgomery] are of good behavior between now and three years from now I will reconsider it and vacate it and not make you serve another day.” The dispositive issues before this Court are whether the deferred reporting date, based on the reasons set forth by the Circuit Court, was authorized by Maryland Rule 4–348(d)  and, if not authorized, whether the sentence amounted to an illegal sentence within the meaning of Maryland Rule 4–345(a).  We shall hold that the deferred reporting date, under the circumstances, was not authorized by Rule 4–348(d) and that it constituted an illegal sentence.” Id. at 68-69.


 the purpose of …[Maryland] Rule 4–348(d)… [is] to authorize a trial judge to defer a convicted defendant’s prison reporting date so that the defendant could “take [ ] care of” his or her “personal, financial or other commitments.” This would include such things as winding up business affairs, making arrangements for the care of children or other dependents, etc. The original placement of the new provision, in the Rule dealing with stays pending appeal, is a strong indication that the authorized deferral of the prison reporting date was not intended to be for a multi-year or indefinite period. The purpose of the provision was not to allow a trial judge to monitor the defendant’s behavior for several years.” Id. at 81.

See: Maryland Rule 4-348 (d), “Stay of Execution of Sentence; Other Sentences. Any other sentence or any order or condition of probation may be stayed upon terms the court deems proper.”

See Also:  The United States Supreme Court, as well as the Maryland Court of Appeals has held, that “having determined that a fine or restitution is an appropriate sentence, a court cannot then imprison a defendant solely because of his inability to pay it.”  (Reddick v. State, 327 Md 270 at 273-74, (1992) citing Bearden v. Georgia, 461 U.S. 660, 665 (1983)).

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