State v. JohnsonAnnotate this Case
Defendant was convicted of felony murder, kidnapping, and robbery, among other crimes. The circuit court court sentenced Defendant to life imprisonment for felony murder, a term of twenty years concurrent for kidnapping, and a term of ten years concurrent for robbery. The Court of Special Appeals vacated the sentences for the convictions for kidnapping and robbery, concluding that the rule of lenity required merger for sentencing purposes of those convictions with the felony murder conviction because it was unclear which felony was the predicate felony for the felony murder conviction. The Court of Appeals reversed insofar as the Court of Special Appeals vacated the sentence for robbery and otherwise affirmed, holding (1) a conviction for only one predicate felony merges for sentencing purposes with the felony murder conviction, and applying the rule of lenity does not result in merger of additional convictions for predicate felonies; (2) the predicate felony with the greatest maximum sentences merges for sentencing purposes with the felony murder conviction, and the defendant may be separately sentenced for any remaining predicate felonies; and (3) because the kidnapping offense carries the greater maximum sentence, that conviction merges for sentencing purposes with the felony murder conviction, and the sentence for robbery shall remain as imposed by the circuit court.