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Judge denies former Hagerstown man a new trial in manslaughter case

Floyd A. Bingaman III claims he received ineffective assistance from counsel

October 01, 2012|By DON AINES | dona@herald-mail.com
  • Floyd Edward Bingaman III is led away from Washington County Courthouse after the first day of his trial in November 2007 in the death of Justice Christopher Calvin Myers-Cannon.
File photo

The latest effort of a former Hagerstown man to get a new trial in the 2007 death of an infant has been denied by a Washington County Circuit Court judge.

Floyd A. Bingaman III is serving a 30-year sentence for the January 2007 death of 4-month-old Justice Calvin Myers-Cannon. He was convicted by a jury that year of first-degree child abuse resulting in death and involuntary manslaughter, court records said.

Judge Donald E. Beachley on Thursday signed an order denying Bingaman’s motion to reopen Bingaman’s post-conviction case. The order stated it was “not in the interests of justice.”

In 2010, Beachley denied Bingaman’s post-conviction petition, in which he claimed several instances of ineffective assistance of counsel in his November 2007 trial.

On Sept. 13, Bingaman, now 26, was in court for a hearing to reopen the hearing with his attorney, Daniel Ginsburg, claiming other instances of ineffective assistance of counsel by Bingaman’s trial attorney, Scott Rolle.

Under Maryland’s Uniform Post Conviction Procedure Act, the court may reopen a post-conviction proceeding that was previously concluded if the court determines it is in the interests of justice.

In September, Ginsburg told Beachley that Rolle should have asked the court to question potential jurors whether they had strong feelings about child abuse that would have rendered them incapable of reaching a fair and impartial verdict based solely on the evidence. Ginsburg also argued that Rolle should have objected to jury instructions given by trial Judge M. Kenneth Long Jr.

Rolle testified at the hearing that he asked the questions necessary to pick a fair and impartial jury. Assistant State’s Attorney Elizabeth Carranza argued at the hearing that the instructions were proper.

Ginsburg also argued that one witness’ testimony about Bingaman revealed a prior criminal record, although the statement was stricken by the court during the trial.

Bingaman was convicted of causing injuries to Justice that a physician at the trial testified were consistent with blunt-force trauma.

Justice’s family pushed for the passage of Justice’s Law, sponsored by state Sen. Christopher B. Shank, which increased the penalty for first-degree child abuse resulting in death from a maximum of 30 to 40 years.

During last month’s hearings, the state and defense agreed that Bingaman has the right to file a motion for modification of sentence within 90 days of the order Beachley signed last week.

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