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Brown Law Blog

Jury trials are very rare in the federal system. Acquittals are even rarer. Despite the overwhelming odds, C. Justin Brown and Lylian Romero won a hard fought “not guilty” verdict last week, vindicating their client in United States v. Johnson, CCB-19-22. Johnson was charged with federal witness retaliation, and prosecutors aggressively pursued the case. Johnson maintained his innocence from the outset. A four-day jury trial ensued in the United States District Court for Maryland, with

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Brown Law won another Maryland post-conviction proceeding recently, reversing a murder conviction and winning a new trial for Mohammad Biglari, a man who has maintained his innocence for the past 27 years. This marks the seventh time the Firm has obtained an order reversing a life sentence. The Opinion can be uploaded HERE. The Baltimore City Circuit Court’s ruling granting post-conviction relief was based on ineffective assistance of trial counsel that occurred in 1994. Trial

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We are trying to get inmates out of unsafe prisons and jail one at a time. Today we won compassionate release for Corey Riley, who was incarcerated in California’s Lompoc prison complex. Lompoc has one of the highest rates of COVID-19 infection in the country. By some measures, half of the inmates there have been compromised by the virus. As a result, the prison — like most others around the country — has gone on

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Since the COVID-19 pandemic has ground the criminal justice system to a virtual halt, there has been a chorus of calls – at both the local and national levels – for prisons to reduce their inmate populations. This is based on science: there are few places more susceptible to the spread of the virus than a prison or jail, where social distancing is nearly impossible. In fact, federal prisoners are about six times more likely

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We at Brown Law are doing everything in our power to respond to the coronavirus pandemic and ensure the safety of our clients who are in prisons and jails in Maryland and across the country. It is our belief that no detained person is safe in confinement – where medical care is inadequate and where it is impossible to practice “social distancing.” As such we are aggressively seeking ways to move our clients out of

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The Fourth Circuit today issued a significant ruling that could help a large number of federal inmates who pleaded guilty to being a “felon in possession of a firearm,” in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g). The decision from the Fourth Circuit today stems from the Supreme Court’s decision last summer in Rehaif v. United States. In that case, the Supreme Court held that the Government must prove that a defendant charged under § 922(g)

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Brown Law has been contacted by many inmates and their families asking what relief is available for incarcerated individuals who are vulnerable to the coronavirus – whether because of age or medical condition. As of now, there are two groups that can potentially obtain relief: those who are detained while awaiting trial, and those who are nearing the end of their sentence. We will continue to monitor the situation and seek other types of relief

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With the rash of violence currently plaguing Baltimore, Governor Hogan and Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby are advocating for a bill that will address what they see as one of the major issues facing the city: witness intimidation. We think this bill is a bad idea. During his State of the State address earlier this month, Governor Hogan promoted the “Witness Intimidation Protection Act,” and described it as a tool to fight back against

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Brown Law today filed a post-conviction petition on behalf of Derrien Douglas, who for more than a decade has maintained his innocence. Douglas was convicted of murder in Wicomico County, Maryland, and is currently serving a life sentence at North Branch Correctional Institution. His conviction was deeply flawed, and he is now seeking a new trial. First, the judge forced Douglas to stand trial in jail clothes, despite the fact that his family had a

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In the afternoon of April 15, 2008, Charles Atkins, a 26-year-old black man, was walking down a Baltimore street, about to meet a friend. Two plain-clothes police officers happened to be in the neighborhood, and they spotted Atkins walking by. They became interested in him because, they claimed, Atkins was walking in a manner that suggested he was carrying a gun. The police decided to confront him. After Atkins got into a car driven by

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Prosecutors in Baltimore City have started to ask the courts to throw out old convictions that relied on dirty police officers. Starting on October 1, 2019, prosecutors began undoing 790 convictions that they believe are no longer valid. If the courts agree to vacate these convictions, judges will set aside original verdicts, essentially treating convictions as if they never happened. Individuals with cases involving these police officers should be aware of this process and how

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