Some Inmates in Maryland Will Benefit From A New Law That Could Provide For Earlier Release

An inmate serving a mandatory sentence without parole for a conviction related to a drug offense may now qualify for a reduced sentence under Maryland’s Justice Reinvestment Act.

The Justice Reinvestment Act, which went into effect on October 1, 2017, gives certain Maryland inmates with mandatory non-parole drug convictions one year to apply to the court to modify or reduce his sentence. An inmate is eligible to request this new sentence modification regardless of his incarceration record, or whether he has already filed for a prior sentence modification under the rule.

Perhaps most importantly, if a person qualifies to seek this new relief, the judge could not increase the sentence. The sentence can only go down, or be modified in a way to make the inmate eligible for parole that was previously denied. Before deciding whether to grant the inmate’s request for a sentence modification based on this Act, the court will consider a variety of factors specific to his case. Those factors include: the nature of the crime; the history and character of the inmate; chances of successful rehabilitation; injustice to the inmate; and protection of the public. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help persuade the court for a sentence reduction under this Act.

Anyone who may be interested in learning if they qualify for a possible chance to reduce their sentence should act quickly. This newly created form of an application for a sentence modification based on the Justice Reinvestment Act must be filed by September 30, 2018.

Rachel Wilson, Nathans & Biddle, LLP

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