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Law School Case Brief

Young v. State - 303 Md. 298, 493 A.2d 352 (Md. 1985)


Convinced that an approach based on the "substantial step" test is the proper one to determine whether a person has attempted to commit a crime, and that Md. Code Ann., Criminal § 110.00 (Proposed) best expressed it, the Supreme Court of Maryland adopts the provisions of that section: A person is guilty of an attempt to commit a crime when, with intent to commit a crime, he engages in conduct, which constitutes a substantial step toward the commission of that crime whether or not his intention be accomplished.


Several banks in the Oxon Hill-Fort Washington section of Prince George's County had been held up, and so, the Special Operations Division of the Prince George's Police Department set up a surveillance of banks in the area. In the early afternoon of Nov. 26, 1982, the police team observed defendant Raymond Alexander Young driving an automobile in such a manner as to give rise to a reasonable belief that he was casing several banks. The officers followed Young and saw him park in the rear portion of a bank's parking lot. Through the windows of his office, the bank manager saw Young walking on the "landscape" by the side of the bank toward the front door. Young had his right hand in his jacket pocket and tried to open the front door with his left hand. When he realized that the door was locked and the bank was closed, he retraced his steps, running past the windows with his left hand covering his face. Young ran back to his car and drove away. Subsequently, the police stopped the car and ordered Young to get out. Young was in the process of removing his jacket, and the butt of a loaded .22 caliber revolver was sticking out of the right pocket of his jacket. Young was thereafter found guilty by a jury in Maryland state court of two crimes: (i) attempted robbery; and (ii) transporting a handgun. He was sentenced to 20 years on the attempt conviction and to a consecutive 3-year sentence on the handgun conviction. The court of special appeals affirmed. Young appealed, alleging that the evidence was not legally sufficient to prove his commission of the crime of attempted armed robbery.


Were the evidence legally sufficient to prove that Young committed attempted armed robbery?




The state supreme court affirmed the appellate court's judgments. The court found that there was sufficient evidence to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that Young had the specific intent to commit armed robbery. The court found that Young's acts of disguising himself, carrying a police scanner and a gun, opening the bank door, and then speeding away when confronted established the necessary overt acts towards the commission of the crime. The court also found that Young’s acts were more than mere preparation and were a substantial step in the furtherance of the crime.

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