Take Action NOW to Support Amnesty & Release for those Affected by COVID-19 in the Criminal Legal System

On December 22, 2020, the Maryland Judiciary announced that jury trials will be suspended through April 26, 2021, and that courts will hear only limited matters through March 14, 2021. This means that countless men, women, and children—all presumed innocent—will continue to see unprecedented delays, well past their right to a speedy trial, in many circumstances while detained in unsafe jails and prisons in the midst of a worsening pandemic.  

While we appreciate the Judiciary’s efforts to consider the risks to public health by limiting the scope and volume of hearings currently taking place, these unprecedented orders only highlight the dire need for immediate action to relieve the extraordinary delays in trials (too many have been waiting since 2019 for a court date), growing populations in jails and prisons, and mounting caseloads that threaten the very notion of a fair and efficient system of justice.

Join the Maryland Defenders Union in demanding the following:

1)     Immediate review and reconsideration of release for all pretrial detainees

2)     Compassionate release for people serving DOC sentences with pre-existing conditions and/or over the age of 60

3)     Amnesty for all non-violent misdemeanors, traffic cases, and technical violations of probation and/or parole

4)     Priority vaccine access for all people detained in jails and prisons across the state

These are unprecedented times; now is the time to call for extraordinary action, to protect the rights, health, and safety of everyone impacted by the criminal legal system. Please show your support by signing and sharing this petition!