Prevent Wrongful Convictions and Compensate Exonerees in Maryland

Photo by Kenneth K. Lam, The Baltimore Sun.

Demetrius Smith was wrongfully convicted of a 2008 murder in Baltimore because of false jailhouse informant testimony. Investigators had an initial suspect but changed course after a jailhouse informant, who was arrested on a probation violation, told police that he saw Demetrius commit the crime. The state failed to disclose key evidence about the jailhouse informant that could have helped the defense raise issues of his credibility to the jury. Without the full facts, the jury convicted Demetrius and he was sentenced to life in prison. After five years in prison, Demetrius was exonerated when a federal investigation connected the real perpetrators to the murder. Even though Demetrius proved he did not commit the crime and the actual perpetrators have been convicted, he is not eligible for state compensation. 

Maryland’s law only permits compensation if an individual receives a pardon from the governor or if the State’s Attorney agrees to vacate the conviction under a specific law. This leaves many people, even those who were exonerated with DNA, barred from receiving compensation.

Sign up here to prevent wrongful convictions in Maryland involving jailhouse informants and to fix the state’s exoneree compensation law.

 

This campaign is in partnership with the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project and the University of Baltimore Innocence Project Clinic.

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