Brown Law Blog

NOT GUILTY: Brown Law Wins Federal Jury Trial

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…

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Firm Wins Post-Conviction, Reverses Murder Conviction

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…

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Maryland’s Juvenile Restoration Act Gives Young Offenders Relief From Long Prison Sentences

On October 1, 2021, a breakthrough law will take effect that could grant early prison release for juvenile offenders serving long sentences. The measure is one of Maryland’s most significant criminal justice reforms in recent memory. The Juvenile Restoration Act, or JRA, lets state courts reduce sentences for people who committed a crime as a…

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Federal Compassionate Release Full Steam Ahead with McCoy Decision

In recent decades, there has existed a resounding finality to federal prison sentences. Once a sentence was imposed – no matter how unfair it may have been – it was virtually impossible to get it reduced. Federal law often tied the hands of judges, and forced them to impose punishment that was vastly disproportionate to…

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Brown Law Wins Compassionate Release for Corey Riley

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…

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COVID-19 Demonstrates Arbitrariness of Justice System

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…

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COVID-19 and Early Release

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…

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Fourth Circuit’s Huge Pro-Defendant Ruling: US v. Gary

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…

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Some COVID-19 Relief for Inmates

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…

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Brown Law: Witness Intimidation Bill Won’t Help

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…

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Brown Law Files Post-Conviction for Innocent Man in Salisbury Murder

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…

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Firm Seeks Justice for Man Who Was Shot by Police and Left to Die

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…

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Tainted Baltimore Cops – Know Your Rights

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…

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Judge Reverses Life Sentence in AA County

Brown Law last week won a high-stakes post-conviction proceeding in Anne Arundel County when a Circuit Court Judge found that prosecutors had withheld critical evidence from the defendant. As a result, our client’s life sentence was vacated and a new trial ordered. This marks the sixth time the Firm has reversed a life sentence. The…

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Lloyd Hall is Free after 34 years

(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…

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This is why we fight.

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…

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Adnan Syed Updates

February 18, 2020 The past year was a disappointing stretch for Adnan Syed. The Maryland Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, reversed the granting of a new trial and reinstated Syed’s conviction. Our appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court was denied. But this does not mean we have given up. There are multiple legal…

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When Finality Trumps Common Sense: Brendan Dassey Denied

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…

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New Expungement Laws Coming to Maryland

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…

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Firm Fights to Clear Name of Wrongly Convicted

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…

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