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Brown Law Blog

September 20, 2018 The Maryland Criminal Defense Attorneys’ Association and the Maryland Office of the Public Defender jointly filed an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief today in support of Adnan Syed. The brief, authored by Steve Klepper, of Kramon & Graham, is also signed by a group of 16 long-time Maryland criminal defense attorneys. The brief addresses, among other things, the duty of defense counsel to investigate an alibi witness. The brief is

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(Photo by Alan Chin)   A Montgomery County Circuit Judge ordered Lloyd Hall to be released from prison on Thursday – immediately – vacating a life-without-parole sentence and ending an injustice that had persisted for 34 years. Hall walked out of the courthouse in a new black suit around 1:15 p.m., and was greeted by a cheering crowd of family and supporters. Hall had been convicted in 1984 for burglary and related offenses. Because he

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I get asked the question all the time. Why do you represent criminal defendants? Sometimes I ask myself. But this is why. I have sat in prison visiting booths with inmates serving life sentences whom I believed were innocent. I have stood side by side with guilty defendants who were better human beings than the people judging them. I have seen men plead guilty to crimes they did not commit – and face very long

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This week the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the legality of Brendan Dassey’s confession to the 2005 killing of Teresa Halbach, finding that it was voluntary and could be used against him at trial. To many of the millions of people who watched video of the confession in the Netflix documentary series “Making a Murderer,” the appellate court’s conclusion was incomprehensible. Dassey was 16 years old at the time and it was apparent that

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Important changes are coming to Maryland’s expungement law. Starting October 1, 2017, more people than ever before will have the ability to have their criminal records expunged – in many cases, for free. In the criminal context, expungement refers to the removal of certain criminal records from public inspection – meaning that the general public will not have access to those records. Until recently, only charges that did not result in a conviction were eligible

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Brown & Nieto this week filed a federal habeas petition on behalf of Christopher Jones, who was falsely convicted in 2015 by allegedly corrupt Baltimore City Police officer Daniel Hersl. Jones has maintained his innocence since he was first arrested in Baltimore City and charged with drugs and a gun. According to Jones, Officer Hersl planted the evidence against him, and other officers wrote up a false police report. Rather than risk a very long

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Adnan Syed today filed his “Brief of Appellee/Cross-Appellant” with the Court of Special Appeals. To recap, on June 30, 2016, the Baltimore City Circuit Court vacated Syed’s conviction and granted him a new trial. The Baltimore City Circuit Court found that Syed’s trial counsel had been constitutionally ineffective, in violation of the Sixth Amendment, at Syed’s original trial in 2000. The State is appealing the Circuit Court’s ruling to the Court of Special Appeals. The State filed its

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The election of Donald Trump will have sweeping consequences for everyone, but perhaps no group should be more concerned than non-citizens who have criminal records. Trump has already stated that he will target this group, and, as president, he now has the means to follow through on his promise. Many of these non-citizens are legal permanent residents who have been here for a long time. In many cases they are productive members of the community,

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The Circuit Court for Baltimore City has denied Adnan Syed’s Motion for Release Pending Appeal. Judge Welch denied the Motion, in large part, because of the open status of the case in the appeals court. (The State is attempting to appeal Judge Welch’s Order vacating Syed’s conviction and granting a new trial; multiple applications for leave to appeal are pending). Judge Welch also denied Syed’s request for a hearing. Syed has already served more than 17 years in

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