Help Protect the Innocent in Maryland from Unreliable Jailhouse Witnesses

James Owens was wrongfully imprisoned for 20 years for the rape and murder of a college student in Baltimore based on unreliable jailhouse witness testimony

The jailhouse witness testified that Owens had confessed to the crime while they were in jail together. DNA evidence proved Owens’ innocence and he was released from prison in 2008.

In Maryland, 4 of 28 wrongful convictions involved false jailhouse witness testimony

In 2018, Owens settled a lawsuit with the City of Baltimore for $9 million—the largest in the city’s history. The lawsuit revealed that the prosecution had withheld critical evidence from Owens’ defense—including 11 letters the jailhouse witness wrote to prosecutors seeking either better conditions or his release in exchange for his testimony. Had Owens’ defense had access to this critical evidence, it might have prevented two decades of his wrongful imprisonment.

Will you support passing legislation in Maryland to provide safeguards against unreliable jailhouse witness testimony?

Contact your senator and ask them to support SB 769 to protect innocent people like James Owens from wrongful conviction.

This campaign is in partnership with the Midatlantic Innocence Project.