MD Jury-Instruction Case Could Free 200 Inmates, Some Murderers


Thirteen inmates convicted of murder have been released from prison and dozens more could be freed after Maryland’s highest court ruled that jurors had been given improper instructions in the decades-old cases, reports the Baltimore Sun. The Court of Appeals ruling effectively entitled as many as 200 prisoners convicted before 1980 of crimes including murder, attempted murder, and rape to demand new trials. The difficulty of retrying the old cases has prosecutors throughout the state fighting to keep violent offenders behind bars. Faced with several setbacks as it attempted to block new trials, the Baltimore state’s attorney’s office has released 14 inmates it believes do not pose a threat to public safety. “It’s really sad that this is reopening wounds for these loved ones, but we’re really working hard to achieve just outcomes,” said Mark Cheshire, spokesman for the Baltimore prosecutor’s office. The releases have left victims’ families struggling to understand how the 2012 ruling undid convictions that seemed long settled.

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