Wheeler v. StateAnnotate this Case
At issue was whether the circuit court erred in admitting controlled dangerous substances into evidence at trial in the absence of strict compliance with Md. Code Ann. Cts. & Jud. Proc. 10-1001, 10-1002, and 10-1003.
Prior to his criminal trial, Defendant made a timely demand pursuant to Cts. & Jud. Proc. 10-1003 for the presence of all the members in the chain of custody at trial. The State was unable to call the “packaging” officer as a witness, but the court admitted the suspected controlled dangerous substances, concluding that the State properly established the chain of custody. The Court of Special Appeals affirmed. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding (1) where there has been an invocation of the right to have all witnesses produced pursuant to section 10–1003, the State may not proceed under the streamlined procedure for establishing the chain of custody pursuant to Cts. & Jud. Proc. 10-1001 to -1003 and instead must establish a proper chain of custody that negates a reasonable probability of alteration or tampering; and (2) because the State produced the officer who originally recovered the drugs and the chemist who tested them, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting the evidence.