“I wouldn’t be surprised if there were hundreds of the same kind of people sitting in prison right now,” chief Baltimore prosecutor Marilyn Mosby tells the New York Times after three men walked out of a Maryland prison this week after serving 36 years for a murder that prosecutors acknowledge they did not commit. Alfred Chestnut, Ransom Watkins and Andrew Stewart had insisted that they had nothing to do with the 1983 death of a junior high school student who was targeted in the halls of his Baltimore school for his popular brand of jacket.
It took Baltimore officials, including the state’s attorney’s office that had prosecuted them in the first place, reaching the same conclusion to set them free. Marilyn Mosby, who took over the prosecutor’s office in 2015, created a conviction integrity unit to review cases like this one. Mosby said there probably are more cases like the one that prompted this week’s releases “when you look at some of the past practices. It’s scary. But that’s the point of having a unit that’s dedicated to reinvestigating these types of claims … 10, 15, 20, 25 years ago, what prosecutors were focusing on were getting convictions. That was the measure of success.”