Maryland is ready for reform

Time and again, the ACLU receives calls from Marylanders, usually poor and of color, who have fallen victim to the failed war on drugs. Many describe the illegal searches and verbal intimidation they experienced at the hands of law enforcement officers in the misguided, racially biased, and endless hunt for marijuana.

Obstacles to justice

Leslie Vass spent 10 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. The story he tells about how the police, the courts and entire criminal justice system failed him is alarming.

Real representation for all

What would happen if every single person accused of a crime in this country got a lawyer who his knew his name? Why he had been arrested? His version of events? His witnesses? His evidence? His case? What? That doesn’t happen?

The Perry Hall case and the danger of prosecuting youth as adults

An unthinking “lock ’em up” approach does not adequately serve either the youth involved in criminal cases or the larger society. Maryland decision makers should rethink the practice of prosecuting and sentencing youth as adults and appropriately deal with all criminal cases involving youth in the system created especially for them—the juvenile justice system.

Murdered in Maximum Security

Let us speak on behalf of the dead—because we are implicated in these particular homicides. But let’s first be clear on who these murder victims were. Ricky Bailey and Michael Armstead were convicted rapists. Charles David Richardson IV was convicted of murdering two people. They were not innocents. They were violent criminals. Yet all three […]

DNA, Race and Public Safety

On February 26 the Supreme Court will hear arguments to determine the constitutionality of Maryland’s DNA collection law. The DNA Collection Act (2009) allows law enforcement to obtain and analyze genetic information from individuals without a search warrant who have not been convicted of any crime and have merely been arrested. Strongly supported by the […]

Baltimore, BGF and “Deadly Symbiosis”

The young man handed me a piece of notebook paper, fragile at the creases where it had been folded and unfold many times. Kept in a pocket, taken out often to be reviewed and studied, it was a handwritten bibliography of works he was required to read as a new member of the Black Guerrilla […]

Death, Life Without Parole & Legislating Extreme Punishment

Maryland lawmakers have a real chance this legislative session to vote to abolish the state’s death penalty. This makes it an opportune time to examine the growing body of research and reflection on America’s increasing use of sentences of “life without parole”(LWOP) and their relationship to the broad national trend toward capital punishment abolition. Nowhere […]