Gray v. State

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Re: Julian Gray v. State of Maryland, No. 108, September Term, 2004 POST CONVICTION PROCEDURE: The post conviction court is not required to provide a detailed supporting statement or memorandum when ruling upon a petition to reopen a postconviction proceeding. POST CONVICTION PRODECURE: The Legislature has treated petitions to reopen with less formality than petitions for postconviction relief, with respect to the rights to counsel and to a hearing, therefore it is logical to conclude that a petition to reopen may be treated less formally than a petition for postconviction relief, regarding what a court must do in explicating its ruling on such a petition. POST CONVICTION PROCEDURE: If the Legislature intended for defendants to retain a right to a second postconviction petition, it would not have changed the law to take away that right. Finally, unlike § 7-103, §7-104 does not prohibit a person from filing more than one petition to reopen. There is no question that Md. Rule 4-407 (a) applies to initial postconviction proceedings. We have not, however, found a case in which the rule has been applied to petitions to reopen. POST CONVICTION PROCEDURE: As explained in this opinion, the Legislature has left it within the court s discretion to decide whether a person seeking to reopen a postconviction proceeding should receive counsel or a hearing. Moreover, the Legislature has left it within the trial court s discretion to decide, in the interests of justice, if a postconviction proceeding should be reopened. Stovall should not be read to remove discretion from the trial court in those instances. POST CONVICTION PROCEDURE: Section 7-104 requires the court to exercise discretion when ruling on a petition to reopen a postconviction proceeding. The requirement to exercise discretion prevents the court from acting arbitrarily. Because the court has discretion to determine if a postconviction proceeding should be reopened, it follows that the court also has discretion to determine how detailed a statement will be given in response to any such petition. In the Circu it Court for B altimore C ity Case No. 190166006 IN THE COURT OF APPEALS OF MARYLAND No. 108 September Term, 2004 __________________________________ JULIAN GRAY v. STATE OF MARYLAND __________________________________ Bell, C.J. Raker Wilner Cathell Harrell Battaglia Greene, JJ. _________________________________ Opinion by Greene, J. __________________________________ Filed: August 10, 2005 On Janu ary 10 , 199 0, Ra ndy H udso n wa s fatally sh ot in Balt imore City. As a result of that shooting, on April 17, 1991, Julian Gray, petitioner in this case, was convicted by a jury of second-degree murder and use of a handgun in the commission of a violent crime. The court sentenced Gray to thirty-years imprisonment for the murder and five-years imprisonment for the handgun conviction. Gray appealed and on April 20, 1992 , the Court of Special Appeals affirmed his convictions in an unreported opinion. Gray petitioned this Court for certiorari, and we denied the petition. Gray v. S tate, 327 Md. 626, 612 A.2d 256 (1992). On July 28, 1999, Gray petitioned for postconviction relief. On December 22, 1999, the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, Judge Clifton J. Gordy, Jr., presiding, held a hearing on the petition, at which both the State and Gray presented witnesses. On January 10, 2000, Judge Gordy den ied the postc onviction p etition and issued a Statement of Reasons and Order of Court. On March 13, 2000, Gray filed an Application for Leave to Appeal, which was d enied b y the Cou rt of Sp ecial A ppeals on Ap ril 2, 200 1. On August 20, 2003, Gray filed a Petition to Reopen Post Conviction Proceedings in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, pursuant to Md. Code (2001), § 7-104 of the Criminal Procedure Article. The State opposed the petition and on October 10, 2003, Judge Gordy denied Gray s petition, concluding that reopening would not be in the interest of justice. Gray filed an Application for Leave to Appeal, which was granted by the Court of Special Appeals on February 24, 2004. On September 13, 2004, in a reported opinion, the Court of Spe cial Ap peals af firmed the Circ uit Cou rt. Gray v. State, 158 Md. App. 635 (2004). Gray petitioned this Court and on December 17, 2004, we granted certiorari. Gray v. State, 384 M d. 448, 8 63 A.2 d 997 ( 2004) . We are asked to determine whether a circuit court is required under the Maryland Rules to render a sup porting s tatem ent o r memorandum e xplicatin g a decision to deny a request to reopen a pos tconviction proceedin g. We ho ld that the cou rt is not required to provide a detailed supporting statement or m emorand um wh en ruling up on a petition to reopen a postconviction proceeding. FACTS During Gray s trial, fifteen-year-old Erika McCray1 testified that on the night of the shooting, she went to her friend Peggy Riddic s 2 house, located across the alley from a laundromat at Nort h and R uxton A venue s. McCray testified that she, Shauna Hantz, and two other friends named Tina and Neda, started to leave Riddic s house, and when she was at the doorwa y, McCra y said she saw a bunch of guys, whom she did not know, running through the alley so we ran back in. She testified that they ran back in the house for a few minutes because they thought the people they saw w ere stickup boys, mean ing peop le who stick people up and take what they have like money. McCray also testified that after a minute or two, she and the other girls came out of the house an d wh ile on the p orch , they saw a couple other guys walking from Moreland to Ruxton Avenue. McCray then te stified th at she saw two guys, one of w hom was Gra y, 1 The Circuit Court spelled Erika as Erica. However, the statement signed by Ms. McCray uses a k in Erika. 2 The Circuit C ourt spe lled R iddic a s Ridd ick. H owev er, the statement signed by Ms. Riddic does not include a k at the end. 2 walk down Ruxton Road toward the laundromat and that they was passing a few word s. After that, McCray heard five or mo re gunsho ts. When a sked wh at she did ne xt, she testified that, [w]e just stood there and then we was stu nned a nd then we w alked a round the corn er. Then McCray testified that when she looke d over tow ards the laun dromat, she saw the v ictim falling down and she saw Gray going another direction. Gray was convicted of seconddegree murde r and us e of a h andgu n in the c omm ission o f a viole nt crime . Gray appealed, claiming that the trial court erred by admitting hearsay evidence and by precluding discussion of the lack of fingerprint evidence on the murder weapon. On April 20, 1992, Gray s convictions were upheld by the Court of Special Appeals. On September 15, 1992, we d enied Gray s petition for certiorari. On July 28, 1999, Gray petitioned for postconviction relief, alleging ineffective assistance of trial counsel. Gray argued that his attorney failed to (1) investigate affirmative defenses, (2) cross-exam ine Erika M cCray effec tively, (3) object to in admissible evidence, and (4) present mitigating evidence at sentencing.3 The court held a hearing on the petition and heard testimony from Gray, Gray s sister (Frankie Gray), Peggy Riddic, and John Denholm, Gra y s tria l cou nsel. Gra y, Frankie Gray, and Riddic testified that McC ray could not have seen the murder from the doorway of the house. Denholm testified that he was not aware of additional available witnesses and that he could not recall if he had visited the crime scene. 3 At the postconviction hearing, Gray abandoned most of his allegations and focu sed solely on the alleged f ailure to investigate defenses and the problems with Ms. McCray s tes timo ny. 3 On January 10, 2000, Judge Gordy denied Gray s petition. Judge Gordy summarized Gray s argument as follows: At the Post Conviction hearing, Petitioner and Frankie Gray testified that they informed trial counsel, Mr. Denholm that the State s only witness (E rica McC ray) could not p ossibly have seen the murder from the porch of a nearby house (1823 Ruxton Avenue) where she testified she was located. Ms. Peggy Riddick, who lived in the house in question, also testified that she was ready and available to testify at Mr. Gray s trial that you cannot see the murder site if you are located at the front door on her porch. * * * * Petitioner asserts that counsel should have visited the murder site and followed up on the information provided by the Petitioner and Frankie Gray that it was impossible for the State s witness to see the murd er from the porch of the house in question. In failing to do so, Petitioner argues that trial counsel was unreasonably deficient in his duties and his non-action prejud iced the case. Judge Gordy fou nd that the first prong of the Strickland test, requiring deficient performance of couns el, was a rguabl y satisfied . He noted that it would have been prudent to visit or at least obtain pictures of the homicide scene to better assess the testimony of the State s witness. In addition, the record supports Petitioner s view that the State s eyewitness could not have actually seen who shot the victim. Judge Gordy concluded, however, that Gray was not prejudiced by his counsel s performance. The court wrote: Even if counsel had visited the crime scene, it would not have changed the testimon y offered by the State s witness, which complete ly contradicted Petitioner s alibi defen se. The State s witness testified that she saw Mr. Gray walking w ith the victim in the direction of where the murder took place; that the victim 4 and Mr. Gray were having words ; that she saw the boy (victim) falling down; and that she saw the Defend antPetitioner, Mr. Gray, leaving the murder scene going in the opposite direction down an alley. The State s eyewitness was no longer on the porch of the house in question when she witnessed these events. She had moved down the steps and off to the side enabling her to have a better view of the aforem entione d even ts. Therefore, although she could not testify to who actually shot the victim, she did provide strong circumstantial evidence that Mr. Gray committed the murde r. She also completely destroyed his alibi defense that he was at a hospital during his child s birth. On April 2, 2001, the Court of Special Appeals denied Gray s March 13, 2000, Applic ation fo r Leav e to Ap peal Ju dge G ordy s de cision. On August 20, 2003, Gray filed a petition to reopen the postconviction proceeding, pursuant to §7-1 04 of th e Crim inal Pro cedure Article. Gray argued that his postconviction counsel was inef fective and that his case must be reopened to prevent the injustice of the conviction of an innocent person. In support of his claims, Gray provided a written statement by M cCray, dated May 9, 2003 , indicating that portions of her trial testimony were false. Gray had already questioned McCray s trial testimony in his postconviction hearing. With the petition to reopen, however, he provided for the first time, a statement from McCray that her t rial testim ony wa s partially f alse. In her M ay 9 statement, McCray claimed that at the time of the shooting she was inside Peggy Riddic s house and not on the porch as she had claimed at the trial. She further stated that the only actual knowledge she had of the shooting was provided to her by her friend Shaun a, who is now decea sed. McC ray alleged that, after the sho oting, Shau na told 5 her that she had seen Gray with a gun earlier. McC ray also claimed that she lied at Gray s trial because she was bitter about being detained at the Waxter Center, a juv enile faci lity, to ensure that she would testify. McCray stated that she gave a friend of Gray s her number because she felt guilty for lying. According to McCray, when Gray called, McCray informed him of her actio ns and asked f or forg ivenes s. Gray also attached a written statement from Peggy Riddic, the person who lived in the home McCray was visiting during the shooting. Riddic s statement is as follows: I lived at 1823 Ruxton Avenue, Baltimore, Maryland at the time of this incident. Erika McCray, Shauna Hantz and Tina were inside my house at the time when we heard gunshots going off outside. There is no way that Erika McCray could have seen who did the shooting as she was inside my house at the time. As previously noted, during Gray s postconviction hearing, Riddic testified th at it would have been impossible to see the location of the shooting from her doorwa y. In support of his petition to reopen, however, Gray complained that at the postconviction hearing, counsel d id not ask Riddic, as a preliminary matter, whether McCray was even at the doorway at the time of the shooting.4 Gray asserted that the failure to ask that question constituted ineffective assistan ce of p ostcon viction c ounse l. The State argued that the petition should be denied because McCray s recanted testimony was not a basis for postconviction relief and because Gray s postconviction counsel was not ineff ectiv e and did n ot prejud ice G ray. 4 Gray asserts in his brief before this Court that if Riddic had been asked that question, she would have testified that Ms. McCray was not in fact in the doorway when Mr. Hudson was shot. 6 On Octob er 10, 2003, Judge G ordy issued the following O rder: The Petitioner Julian Gray has filed a Petition to Re-Open Post Conviction Proceed ings and a n attendant Memorandum. The State has filed a Motion in Opposition and an attendant Memorandum. This court has reviewed and considered the matters submitted by both counsel as well as the post conviction proceedings relevant hereto. IT IS ORDERED this 10th day of Octo ber, 2003, b y the Circuit Court for Baltimore City pursuant to Maryland Code Annotated, Criminal Procedu re, § 7-104 (2001) up on FIN DING that to reopen post conv iction proce edings in the matter, captioned above , is not in the inter est of ju stice, AND THEREFOR E, the Petitioner Julian Gray s Motion to ReOpen Post Conviction Proce edings is D ENIED , without h earing. On September 13, 2004, in a reported opinion, the Court of Special A ppeals upheld Judge Gord y s decisio n. Gray v. State, 158 Md. App. 635 (200 4). Gray petition ed this Court and on December 17, 2004, we granted certiorari. Gray v. State, 384 Md. 448, 863 A.2d 997 (2004 ). STANDARD OF REVIEW According to Maryland Rule 8-131(c) when an ac tion has b een t ried with out a jury, the appellate court will review the case on both the law and the evidence. It will not set aside the judgment of the trial court on the evidence unless clearly erroneous, and will give due regard to the oppo rtunity of the trial co urt to judge the credibility of the witnesses. The clearly erroneous standa rd does not app ly to legal c onclus ions. Nesbit v. GEI CO, 382 Md. 65, 72, 854 A.2d 879, 88 3 (20 04). Wh en th e tria l cou rt's order involves an interpretation and application of Maryland statutory and case law, our Court must determine whether the 7 lower court's conclusions are legally correct under a de novo standard of review." Nesbit, 382 Md. at 72, 854 A.2d at 883 (quoting Walter v. Gunter, 367 Md. 386, 392, 788 A.2d 609, 612 (2002)). We interpret the Md. Rules under t he sam e stand ard of r eview . Davis v. Slater, 383 M d. 599, 6 04, 861 A.2d 7 8, 81 (2 004). The issue raised in this case, whether the court is required to provide a statement supporting its denial of a petition to reopen a postconviction proceeding, involves the interpretation of §7-103 of the Criminal Procedure Article and Md. Rule 4-407. As such, our review is de novo. DISCUSSION I. Section 7-103 of the Criminal Procedure Article provides: (a) Only on e petition allowed. F or each trial or sen tence, a person may file o nly one p etition fo r relief u nder th is title. (b) 10-year filing period. (1) U nless extrao rdinary cause is shown, in a case in which a sentence of death has not been imposed, a petition under this subtitle may not be filed more than 10 years after the sentence was imposed. (2) In a case in which a sentence of death has been imposed, Subtitle 2 of this title gov erns the time of filing a p etition. Md. Code (2001), §7-103 of the Criminal Procedure Article. Section 7-104 states that [t]he court may reopen a postconviction proceeding that was previously conclud ed if the court determines that the a ction is in the inter est of ju stice. M d. Cod e (2001 ), §7-104 of the Crimin al Proc edure A rticle. Chapter 400 of Title 4 of the Md. Rules governs the procedural rules for 8 postconv iction matters. M d. Rule 4-4 07 provid es: (a) Statemen t. The judge shall prepare and file or dictate into the record a statement setting forth separately each ground upon w hich the pe tition is based, th e federal an d state rights involved, the court s ruling with respect to each ground, and the reason s for the action ta ken the reon. If dictated into the record , the state ment sh all be pro mptly tran scribed . (b) Order of court. The statement shall include or be accompanied by an order either granting or denying relief. If the order is in favor of the petitioner, the court may provide for rearraignm ent, retrial, custody, bail, discharge, correction of senten ce, or oth er matte rs that m ay be nec essary an d prop er. (c) Copy to the parties. A copy of the statement and the order shall be filed with the clerk and sent to the petitioner, petition er s cou nsel, an d that S tate s A ttorney. (d) Finality. The statement and order constitute a final jud gmen t when entered by the cler k. As we stated in Oaks v. Conners, 339 Md. 24, 35, 660 A.2d 423, 429 (1995), [t]he first step in determining legislative intent is to look at the statutory language and '[i]f the words of the statute, construed according to their common and everyday meaning, are clear and unambiguous and express a plain me aning, we will give ef fect to the statu te as it is written.' Oaks, 339 Md. at 35, 660 A.2d at 429 (quoting Jones v. State, 336 Md. 255, 261, 647 A.2d 1204, 1206-07 (1994)). The same analysis pertains to our interpretation of the Md. Rules. Johns on v. Sta te, 360 Md. 250, 264, 757 A.2d 796, 804 (1999). Section 7-104 of the Criminal Procedure Article says nothing about whether the Circuit Court must give a particular type of statement (or any statement at all) when ruling on a request to reopen a postconviction proceedin g. More over, M d. Rule 4-4 07 does n ot mention whether the requirement to provide a detailed statem ent, as stated in Md. R ule 4-407(a), is a pplicable to 9 the denial o f a petitio n to reo pen po stconv iction pr oceed ings. If the intent of a statute is not clear from its lang uage, we may consid er other sources . See John son v. M ayor & City Counc il of Baltimore City, 387 Md. 1, 11, 874 A.2d 439, 445 (2005) (discussing the history and general purpose of the Workers Compensation Act and noting that we construe statutory language in light of the legislative purpose and statutory context). As noted in Kaczorowski, 309 M d. 505, 5 25 A.2 d 628 ( 1987) , [w]e may and often must consider other external manifestations or persuasive evidence, including a bill s title and function paragraphs, amendments that occurred as it passed through the legislature, its re lationship to earlier and subsequent legislation, and other material that fairly bears on the fundamental issue of legislative purpose or goal, which becomes the context w ithin which we read the particular language befo re us in a given case. Kaczorowski, 309 Md. at 515, 525 A.2d at 632-33. The historical development of the Uniform Postconviction P rocedure Act (U PPA), over time, reveals a legislative attem pt to limit the number of postconviction petitions that can be filed. That statutory history supports our holding that the court is not required to treat a petition to reop en the s ame as a petition for po stconv iction re lief. The reported opinion of the Court of Special Appeals in this case provides the following historical review of the Ac t: Since the enactment of the UPPA in 1958, the General Assemb ly has acted to limit the number of postconviction petitions that a person may file for each conviction. Orig inall y, the UPPA did not pla ce any limit on the number of postconviction petitions which a petition er was entitled to file. Mason v. State, 309 Md. 215, 217-18, 522 A.2d 1344 (1 987). But, effective July 1, 1986, Art. 27, § 645A was amended by adding subsection (a) (2), which provided that a person may 10 not file more than two petitions, arising out of each trial, for relief under this Subtitle, Grayso n v. State, 354 Md. 1,3, 728 A.2d 1289 (1 999). In 1995, the General Assembly again changed the number of petitions that could be filed to challenge a particular conviction. By Ch. 110 of the Acts o f 1995 . . . (I) an d (II) were a dded to subsection (a)(2) and subsequently codified as Art. 27, 645A (a)(2)(I) and (iii). Under subsection (a)(2)(I), a person was permitted to file only one petition arising out of each trial, Id. at 4, and subsection (a)(2)(iii) provided that [t]he cou rt may in its discretion reopen a postconviction proceeding that was previously conclude d if the court determines that such ac tion is in the interests of justice. Id. In 2001, the UPPA was repealed and reenacted at CP §§ 7-101 et seq. The provision relating to the reopening of a postconviction proceeding is now codified at CP § 7-104 and contains new langua ge deriv ed with out sub stantive chang e. Revisor s Note. Th e words in its discretion were deleted as surplusage. Id. Gray, 158 Md. App. at 645-646, 857 A.2d at 1182. Consideration of the statutory purpose can help us determine the legis lative inte nt. Kaczorowski, 309 Md. at 517, 525 A.2d at 634 (1987 ). To interpret sectio n 7-104 a s requiring a court to rend er a suppo rting stateme nt with respect to its decisions on petitions (treating them exactly like a petition for postconviction relief) would ignore the purpo se of the po stconviction legislation as re vealed by its development over time that is, to lessen the burden on the courts created by endless postconviction proceedings. See Tillett v. Ward en of the Md. H ouse o f Corre ction, 220 Md. 677, 679, 154 A.2d 808, 810 (1959) (Discussing the predecessor to the current postconviction statutes and noting the Legislature s intention to put a stop to the endless 11 repetition of the same grounds of collateral attack upon convictions. Repeated petitions for writs of habeas corpus became suc h an abus e as to call for legislation w hich bega n in 1941. ). In addition to the historical development of the UPP A, a review of the statutory context within which § 7-104 is located supports our holding. Section 7-108 provides, in pertinent pa rt, (a) In genera l. Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, a person is entitled to assistance of counsel and a hearing on a petition filed under this title. (b) Exceptions. (1) If a person seeks to reopen a postconviction proceeding under § 7-104 of this subtitle, the court shall determine whether assistance from cou nsel or a hearing should be granted. Md. Code (2001), § 7-108 (a)-(b) 1 of the Criminal Procedure Article.5 The Legislature has treated petitions to reopen with less formality than petitions for postconviction relief, with respect to the rights to counsel and to a hea ring. Con sequ ently, it is logical to conclude that a petition to reopen may be treated less formally than a petition for postconviction relief, regarding what a court must do in explicating its ruling on such a 5 In addition, in keeping with § 7-108, Md. Rule 4-406 (a) provides: A hearing shall be held promptly on a petition under the [UPPA] unless the parties stipulate that the facts stated in the petition a re true and th at the facts and applicable law justify the granting of relief. If a defendant requests that the court reopen a postconviction proceeding that was previously concluded, the court shall determine whether a hearing will be held, but it may not reopen the proceeding or grant the relief requested without a hearing unless the parties stipulate that the facts stated in the petition are true and that the facts and applica ble law justify the g ranting of relief . 12 petition. The logic of this reasoning is particularly strong in view of the fact that th e right to have the court provide a detailed statement is not as significant as the right to counsel or the right to a hearing. Citing Pfoff v. State, 85 Md. App. 296, 583 A.2d 1097 (1991), Gray arg ues that a petition to reopen is the functional substitute for the former right to a second postconviction petition , and, as such, the court is required to treat it as a petition for postconviction for the purposes of issuing a mean ingful statement in supp ort of the court s decision on the matter. In Pfoff, the Court of Special Appeals discussed the requirements of postconviction proceedings existing at the time, and noted that the petition er was lim ited to two petitions arising from the same trial. Pfoff, 85 Md. App. at 302, 583 A.2d at 1100. The court also noted that Md. Rule 4-406 (a) did not require a hearing for a second petition. Id. Nonetheless, the court noted that a judge s responsibility under Md. Rule 4-407 (a) was to issue a detailed statement to resolve the second petition for postconviction relief. Pfoff, 85 Md. App. at 303, 583 A.2d at 1101. Gray arg ues that thos e same req uirements should be impos ed on the c ourt regarding petitions to reopen because, when the law permitted two postconviction petitions, the court did not have to grant a hearing on the second petition but still had to prepare the statement in acc ordance with M d. Rule 4-407 (a). Gray s reliance on Pfoff is misplaced . The cou rt in Pfoff did not app ly Md. Rule 4-407 (a) to a petition to reopen and, for that reason alone, the case is distinguishable. Moreover, the law on postconviction relief has changed since Pfoff. Petitioners no longer hav e a right to more th an one petition for po stconv iction re lief. 13 If a petition to reopen was the functional substitute of the former right to a second postconviction petition, the Legislature would not have required assistance of counsel and a hearing for the postconviction petition and then expressly remov ed or nullified the court s discretion to decide whether a person should rec eive those rig hts in the case of a petition to reopen. Add ition ally, if a petition to reopen was the functional substitute of a petition for postconviction relief, § 7-103 , which states tha t [f]or each tria l or sente nce, a person may file only one petition for relief under this title, would be rendered meaningless. Md. Code. (2001), § 7-103 of the Criminal Procedure Article (emphasis added). If the Legislature intended for defendants to retain a right to a second postconviction petition, it would not have changed the law to ta ke away tha t right. Finally, unlike § 7-103, § 7-104 do es not prohibit a person from filing more than one petition to reopen. 6 As noted by the Court of Special Appea ls in Gray, if each request to reope n a closed proceeding required an indepth assessment as to each of the issues upon which the petition was based, the effect would be an unlimited n umber o f postcon viction proceedings disguised as requests to reopen the proceeding. Gray v. State, 158 M d. App . 635, 64 4-45, 8 57 A.2 d 1176 , 1181 ( 2004) . There is no question that Md. Rule 4-407 (a) applies to initial postconviction proceedings. See Da vis v. State, 285 M d. 19, 400 A .2d 406 (1 979) (hold ing that Ru le BK45(b), the predecessor to Md. Rule 4-407, requires judges in postconviction proceedings 6 In addition, the statute does not specify when a defendant must file a petition to reopen, unlike petitions for postconviction relief in non-death penalty cases, which have a 10-year filing period, un less extraordinary cause is shown. Md. Code (2001), § 7-103 (b) of the Crimin al Proc edure A rticle. 14 to make findings of fact as to every claim in ord er to avoid a remand); Wilson v. State, 284 Md. 664, 399 A.2d 256 (1979) (holding that the court s order resolving an initial petition filed under the UPPA must comply with Md . Rule BK45 (b)); Farrell v. Warden of Md. Penitentiary, 241 Md. 46, 215 A.2d 218 (1965) (remanding a postconviction proceeding for findings of fact in accordance with Rule BK45(b)). We have not, h oweve r, found a c ase in which the rule has been applied to petitions to reopen. Gray also relies on Stovall v . State, 144 Md. App. 711, 800 A.2d 31, cert. den ied, 371 Md. 71, 806 A.2d 681 (2002). In Stovall, the Court o f Special A ppeals held that a postconviction petitioner, (1) is entitled to the e ffective ass istance of p ostconvictio n counsel, and (2) has a right to reopen a postconviction proceeding by asserting facts that if proven to be true at a subsequent hearing establish tha t postconv iction relief w ould have been granted but for the ineffective assistance of the petition er s pos tconvic tion cou nsel. Stovall, 144 Md. App. at 715-16, 800 A.2d at 34. Gray argues that the right to reopen because of ineffe ctive postco nviction co unsel will ring hollow without the concomitant requirement that the circuit judge render a meaningful statement as to these issues that co uld not have been raised in the initial postco nviction petition . We d isagree . Stovall is distinguisha ble from th e prese nt case. Stovall does not address whether the court must provide a detailed statement similar to the one required under Md. Rule 4-407(a) when resolving a petition for postconviction relief. Furthermore, in view of §7-104, we are not persuaded that the right to effective postconviction counsel will ring hollow if the decision 15 to write a detailed statement or a simple ord er in response to a petition to reopen is left to the sound discretio n of the trial judg e. We think it necessary to mention that insofar as Stovall could be misinterprete d to require a trial court to reopen a postconviction proceeding any time a defendant alleges that his postconviction counsel was ineffective, we reject such an interpretation. As explained in this opinion, the Legislature has left it within the c ourt s discretion to decide wh ether a person seeking to reopen a postcon viction proceeding sho uld receive counsel or a hearing. Moreover, the Legisla ture has left it w ithin the trial court s discretion to decide, in the interests of justic e, if a po stconv iction pr oceed ing sho uld be r eopen ed. Stovall should not be read to remove discretion from the trial court in those instances. II. Having discussed what § 7-104 does not require, we now turn our attention to what it does require. Section 7-10 4 requires the court to exerc ise discretion when ruling on a petition to reopen a postconviction proceeding. The requirement to exercise discretion prevents the court from acting arb itrarily. The court may reopen a postconviction proceeding that was previously concluded if the court determines that the action is in the interests of justic e. 7 Md. Cod e (2001), § 7-104 of the Crimin al Procedu re Article (em phasis 7 The phrase interests of justice has be en interpreted to include a w ide array of possibilities. See Lo ve v. Sta te, 95 Md. App. 420, 427, 621 A.2d 910, 914 (1993) (mentioning a long list of reasons for granting a new trial in the interests of justice). Wh ile it is within the trial court s discretion to decide when the interests of justice require reopening, we note that some reasons for reopening could include, for example, ineffective assistance of postconviction counsel or a change made in the law that should be applied (continued...) 16 added). 8 Because the court has discretion to determin e if a postco nviction pro ceeding sh ould be reopened, it follows that the court also has discretion to determine how detailed a stateme nt will b e given in respo nse to a ny such p etition. We will only reverse a trial court s discretionary act if we find that the court has abused its discretion. As noted by this Cou rt in Dehn v. Edgecombe, 384 Md. 606, 865 A.2d 603 (200 5): Abuse of discretion is one of those very general, amorphous terms that appellate courts use and apply with great frequency but which they hav e defin ed in m any diffe rent wa ys . . . . [A] ruling reviewed under an abuse of discretion sta ndard will not be reverse d simply beca use the app ellate court would not have made the same ruling. The decision under consideratio n has to be well removed from any center mark imagined by the reviewing court and beyond the fringe of what that court deems minimally acceptable. That kind of distance can arise in a number of ways, among which are that the ruling either does not logically follow from the findings upon which it su pposedly rests or has no reasonable relationship to its announced 7 (...continued) retroactively. See O ken v. S tate, 367 Md. 191, 195, 786 A.3d 691, 693 (2001) (noting Oken s motion to reopen a postconviction proceeding on the basis that the Supreme C ourt s opinion in Appre ndi v. N ew Jer sey, 530 U.S. 466, 120 S.Ct. 2348, 147 L.Ed.2d 435 (2000) rendered his sentencing proceedin g invalid); see Ha rris v. Sta te, 160 Md. App. 78, 862 A.2d 516 (discussing the defend ant s motion to reopen postconviction proceeding on the ground that he had ineffective assistance of postconviction counsel, in addition to ineffective assistance of trial and appellate counse l); Stovall, 144 Md. App. at 800, A.2d at 34 (holding that a defendant may petition to reopen a postconviction proceeding if postconviction counsel was in effect ive). 8 Also, as previously noted, Md. Rule 4-406(a) requires the court to hold a hearing on a petition for postco nviction relief but gives the court discretio n regarding petitions to reopen. If a defendant requests that the court reopen a postconviction proceeding that was previously concluded, the court shall determine whether a hearing will be held . . . . (Emphasis add ed.) 17 objective. That, we think, is included within the notion of untenable grounds, violative of fact and logic, and against the logic and effect of facts and inferences b efore the court. Dehn v. Edgecombe, 384 Md. at 628, 865 A.2d at 616 (quoting North v. North, 102 Md. App. 1, 13-1 4, 648 A .2d 102 5, 1031 -1032 (1994 )). In the Order denying the petition to reopen, Judge Gordy specifically noted that he had reviewed and considered the matters submitted by both counsel as well as the postconv iction proce edings relev ant hereto. H e then fou nd that it was not in the interest of justice to reopen the proceedin gs. That brief statement, when considered along with the record of this case, w as enoug h to inform the parties and th e appellate c ourts of the reasons for Judg e Go rdy s decision. As noted in William s v. State , 344 Md. 358, 371, 686 A.2d 1096, 1102-03 (199 6), [t]here is no requirement that the trial court s exercise of discretion be detailed for the record, so long as the record reflects that the discretion was in fact exercis ed. As a result, we cannot say that Judge Gordy abused his discretion by writing the brief Order denying Gray s petition. Turning briefly to the merits of the petition to reopen, we note that it was not an abuse of discretion to refuse to reopen the postconviction proceeding in this case. It was not violative of fact an d logic fo r the trial court to c onclude, a s it obviously did, that even if Gray s postconviction counsel had asked Riddic if McCray was on the porch during th e shooting, Riddic s answer would not have changed the outcome of the initial postconviction hearing. Riddic s tes timony wo uld only have raised a credibility issue between McCray and Riddic. Credibility of a witness is ordinarily not reviewable in a postconviction proceeding. 18 Walls v . Ward en, Ma ryland Penite ntiary, 242 M d. 401, 4 04, 219 A.2d 6 , 7 (196 6). As for Mc Cray s recan tation itself, we note that it occurred after the death of McCray s friend Sh auna, the p erson wh o allegedly told McCray that she had seen Gra y with a gun. In addition, there is no indication that the officer who obtained McCray s testimony believed it to be false or that the State knowingly used false testimony at trial. The allegation that perjured testimony was off ered at trial, abs ent a show ing that the S tate knowingly used perjured testimo ny, is not a groun d for p ostcon viction r elief. Fisher v. Warden of Md. House of Correction, 225 Md. 642, 643, 171 A.2d 731, 731 (1961). As a result, it was not an abuse of discretion for the court to conclude that McCray s new statement did not present a reaso n, in the interests of justic e, to reo pen the postco nviction procee dings. JUDGMENT OF THE COURT OF SPECIAL APPEALS AFFIRMED. PETITIONER TO PA Y COSTS. 19