MURPHY, Chief Judge.
In the Circuit Court for Baltimore County, Bryan Walter Cox, appellant, filed an Application for Review of Sentence by Three Judge Panel. Chief Judge Edward A. DeWaters, Jr. dismissed that application, and appellant now presents the following question for our review:
For the reasons that follow, we shall answer "no" to that question and therefore affirm the judgment of the circuit court.
On July 15, 1992, appellant was convicted of daytime housebreaking. On October 29, 1992, pursuant to Article 27, § 643B, he received a "mandatory minimum" sentence of 25 years without the possibility of parole. Appellant filed an appeal to this Court. In an unreported per curiam opinion, we affirmed the judgment of the circuit court. Appellant then filed a petition for writ of certiorari. The Court of Appeals denied that petition on December 10, 1993.
On January 13, 2000, appellant filed the application at issue.
This appeal followed.
When appellant was sentenced, Md.Code Ann., Article 27 § 645JA provided, in pertinent part:
In 1999, House Bill 602 (1999 regular session) modified §§ 645JA and 645JC.
"The cardinal rule in construing statutes is, of course, to ascertain and effectuate the legislative intention." Mason v. State, 309 Md. 215, 219, 522 A.2d 1344 (1987) (citing Tucker v. Fireman's Fund Ins. Co., 308 Md. 69, 73, 517 A.2d 730 (1986)). If legislative history is "unenlightening," the courts apply "several well
Mason, supra, at 219-20, 522 A.2d 1344.
The presumption that statutes operate prospectively is discussed in State Commission on Human Relations v. Amecom Division of Litton Systems, Inc., 278 Md. 120, 123-24, 360 A.2d 1 (1976); Rigger v. Baltimore County, 269 Md. 306, 310, 305 A.2d 128 (1973); Kastendike v. Baltimore Ass'n, 267 Md. 389, 395-96, 297 A.2d 745 (1972); and Ireland v. Shipley, 165 Md. 90, 97-98, 166 A. 593 (1933). This presumption "is particularly applicable where the statute adversely affects substantive rights, rather than only altering procedural machinery." Washington Suburban Sanitary Com'n v. Riverdale Heights Volunteer Fire Co., Inc., 308 Md. 556, 561-62, 520 A.2d 1319 (internal citations omitted). "When the General Assembly intends a statute to have a retroactive application, it knows how to express that intent." Id. at 568, 520 A.2d 1319.
"The presumption against retrospectivity is rebutted only where there are clear expressions in the statute to the contrary." Washington Suburban Sanitary Com'n v. Riverdale Heights Volunteer Fire Co., Inc., 308 Md. 556, 560, 520 A.2d 1319 (1987). (internal citations omitted). "Moreover, even when permissible, retrospective application is not found except upon the plainest mandate in the statute." Id. (Citing Bell v. State, 236 Md. 356, 204 A.2d 54 (1964)).
Mason, supra, involved an amendment to Article 27, § 645A(a)(2) that limited the number of petitions for post-conviction relief that a prisoner could file.
In addition to the presumption that § 645JC was intended to operate prospectively from July 1, 1999 (because of the "absence of clear language to the contrary"), contemporary legislative history has revealed that the "manifest intention of the legislature d[id] not indicate otherwise." Earlier this year, the House Judiciary Committee considered and rejected a proposal that would make the current version of § 645JC applicable to persons sentenced prior to July 1, 1999. House Bill 380 (2000 regular session),
Unfortunately for appellant, HB380 received an unfavorable report on March 13, 2000. In light of this legislative history and the presumption against retroactivity, we are persuaded that appellant is not entitled to a three judge panel review of the "mandatory minimum" sentence he received on October 29, 1992.