Commission will issue recommendations to improve Maryland’s criminal pretrial system
ANNAPOLIS, MD -- Building on the O’Malley-Brown Administration’s commitment to protecting the public’s safety, Governor O’Malley issued an executive order creating the Governor’s Commission to Reform Maryland’s Pretrial System (the “Commission”).
“Working with community leaders and the brave men and women of law enforcement, we’ve driven down violent crime to 30-year lows” said Governor O’Malley. “We must build on this important progress by streamlining and modernizing our justice system to better serve and protect Maryland families. The Commission will foster the consensus we need to move comprehensive pretrial reform forward.”
“We remain committed to building a justice system that’s both strong and fair, and that starts with a responsive and effective pretrial system that meets constitutional requirements,” said Lt. Governor Brown. “As we look to the future, the Commission on Pretrial Reform will play a critical role in our efforts to build a long-term, comprehensive plan that addresses this important issue and ensures justice for all Marylanders while keeping our communities safe.”
In September 2013, the Maryland Court of Appeals issued a ruling in the Richmond v. DeWolfe case. A divided court stated that arrestees have the right to an attorney during an initial appearance before a District Court Commissioner.
The Commission will examine the pretrial justice system in Maryland, look at best practices from around the country, and assess the use of an objective risk assessment tool to inform pretrial release determinations. Its work is intended to ensure compliance with Richmond, and to advance a fair pretrial system. The Commission will help shape a system that detains dangerous individuals and releases those defendants who are expected to appear in court and pose minimal risk to public safety.
In 2012, the Commission to Study the Laws and Policies Relating to Representation of Indigent Criminal Defendants by the Office of the Public Defender recommended that the State implement a validated risk assessment tool and establish a statewide pretrial system in Maryland. The Commission created today builds on those recommendations, and moves the reform process forward with the launch of a State pilot risk assessment program.
The Commission will issue recommendations for reform to the Governor by December 1, 2014. Among the objectives assigned by the Governor, the order directs the Commission to identify ways to reduce detainment times, advise the State’s risk assessment pilot program in one or more counties, and develop and issue legislative recommendations.
In 2007, the Administration set a goal of driving down violent crime 20 percent by the end of 2012. Together with the hardworking men and women of Maryland’s law enforcement, the State met this goal in 2011, and surpassed it again in 2012. Since then, the O’Malley-Brown Administration set a goal to drive down violent crime by 20 percent by 2018 to protect Maryland families and strengthen communities in every corner of the State.
EO 01.01.2014.08 (1).pdf