Criminal Justice

The ACLU of Maryland seeks an end both to the death penalty and to excessively harsh crime policies that result in mass incarceration and stand in the way of a just and equal society. Maryland’s incarceration rate has tripled since 1980, disproportionately affecting communities of color and wasting staggering amounts of precious resources that could be used for educating our youth and improving our communities. We oppose unnecessarily locking people up and favor cost-effective alternatives at the local and state level. 

Recent Activity

Statement Regarding Consent Decree Approval

News article, April 7, 2017

Approving the consent decree is a step in the right direction.

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Statement Regarding DOJ motion to delay consent decree hearing

News article, April 3, 2017

Why is everyone in Baltimore ready to move forward with police reform except Donald Trump's DOJ?

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Press Conference to Support Transparency in Police Misconduct Investigations

News article, February 8, 2017

Maryland Public Information Act now blocks transparency and accountability regarding police abuse and misconduct

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Federal Court Clears Way for Juvenile Lifers' Challenge to Maryland Parole System

News article, February 6, 2017

Ruling Suggests Current Scheme Unconstitutional

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Hearing in juvenile life sentences case

News article, January 4, 2017

Advocates and family members press for reform

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Stop the Retaliation Against Black Officers Challenging Eastern Shore Race Discrimination

News article, December 16, 2016

ACLU Files Public Information Request About Prior ‘Misconduct in Office' Prosecutions

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Judge Dismisses FOP suit seeking to block Civilian Review Board

News article, November 4, 2016

Police accountability advocates filed a brief challenging the FOP

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ACLU Urges Justice Department to Investigate the Use and Impact of Face Recognition

News article, October 18, 2016

ACLU of Maryland Raises Concerns About Impact in Baltimore

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Report Outlines the Consequences of Maryland's Diversion Programs for Noncitizens

News article, October 11, 2016

Report finds guilty plea requirements lead to prolonged detention, deportation

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Police Secretly Put Large Part of Baltimore Under Constant Aerial Video Surveillance

News article, August 24, 2016

Technology Was Developed for U.S. Military in Iraq

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Department of Justice findings regarding the Baltimore City Police Department

News article, August 10, 2016

Total lack of supervision and accountability has allowed abuses to flourish unchecked

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Statement on Police-Involved Shooting of Korryn Gaines

News article, August 2, 2016

It should be the goal of police that all involved in encounters survive

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Statement After Charges Dropped Against Remaining Officers Regarding Freddie Gray

News article, July 27, 2016

It is a travesty that not one Baltimore Police officer will be held accountable by the court

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ACLU Slams "Postcard-Only" Prison Mail Proposal

News article, July 20, 2016

Maryland would be first state in Nation to ban personal letters

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ACLU Challenges Baltimore Police Union’s Attempt to Block Work of Civilian Review Board

News article, July 14, 2016

Brief urges Court to dismiss FOP case as frivolous and contrary to improving police-community relations

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ACLU-MD Statement on the Police Killings in Louisiana and Minnesota

News article, July 8, 2016

ACLU-MD Statement on the Police Killings in Louisiana and Minnesota

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Will there be individualized justice or accountability for Mr. Gray's death?

News article, June 23, 2016

Statement from the ACLU of Maryland

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Solitary confinement reporting bill passes General Assembly

News article, April 5, 2016

Bill will shine light into Maryland's practices

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ACLU Update: At Least 21 People Died in Police Custody in Maryland in 2015

News article, March 15, 2016

81 Percent of Those Killed Were Black; Every Unarmed Person Killed Was Black

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ACLU raises concerns with Baltimore Police Department body camera policy

News article, March 10, 2016

Officers should not be allowed to access their own body camera footage before being questioned about an incident

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Legislature Overrides Gov. Hogan's Veto of Bill to Fix State's Marijuana Decriminalization Law

News article, January 21, 2016

New Poll Shows Most State Voters Support Broader Reform

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Jan 18: MLK police accountability rally in Annapolis

News article, January 12, 2016

Maryland Coalition for Justice and Police Accountability event to demand strong legislation in 2016

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State Policing Workgroup Recommendations a Positive Step, More Needed

News article, January 11, 2016

Coalition Statement Regarding Maryland Policing Workgroup Recommendations

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Mistrial declared in trial of William Porter

News article, December 16, 2015

Statement of the ACLU of Maryland

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Mobile Justice Comes to Maryland

News article, November 13, 2015

ACLU Releases Phone App for Recording Police Encounters

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Advocates to hold press conference regarding state workgroup meeting on LEOBR

News article, August 24, 2015

Groups Decry Law Enforcement-Dominated Hearing

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Important Cell Phone Location Data Ruling Protects Privacy

News article, August 6, 2015

Federal Appeals Court Rules Warrant Is Required for Cell Phone Location Tracking

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ACLU Comment on Closure of Decaying and Dangerous Jail Building in Baltimore

News article, July 30, 2015

Maryland must provide safe housing and adequate health care to detainees

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ACLU to Hold "Police Accountability to the Communities They Serve," Annual Chapter Dinner and Discussion

News article, June 15, 2015

Guest speakers include Del. Alonzo Washington, sponsor of House Bill 954, to require police departments to report to the state civilian deaths as a result of a police encounter.

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As Legislative Work Group on Police Accountability Begins, Activists to Set Out Reform Principles

News article, June 8, 2015

Groups from across the state will then travel to Annapolis for workgroup meeting

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Department of Justice launches investigation into Baltimore Police Dept

News article, May 8, 2015

ACLU applauds move, which will hopefully spur fully enacted reforms

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ACLU statement on lifting Baltimore Curfew

News article, May 3, 2015

We celebrate Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's decision this morning to rescind the order.

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ACLU raises new concerns with Baltimore curfew

News article, May 2, 2015

We express grave concern about the continuation of the curfew and the manner in which it is being enforced.

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ACLU statement on charges filed against officers in death of Freddie Gray

News article, May 1, 2015

Starting to address the double standards of our criminal justice system.

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Statement on Freddie Gray investigation being handed over to state's attorney

News article, April 30, 2015

We join with the people of Baltimore who demand answers

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ACLU asks Baltimore Mayor to lift the curfew

News article, April 30, 2015

Curfew is continuing at the expense of Baltimore residents' constitutional freedoms

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Statement on Freddie Gray and police/community conflict in Baltimore

News article, April 28, 2015

The path to peace goes through justice

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Groups to Call on Governor Hogan To Take Action Following Death of Freddie Gray

News article, April 24, 2015

Maryland Coalition for Justice and Equality presses for executive action to address systemic and structural issues

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ACLU Statement on Death of Freddie Gray in Police Custody

News article, April 21, 2015

Read briefing paper on police-involved killings

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Marijuana Decriminalization Fix Bill Passes General Assembly, Heads to Governor’s Desk

News article, April 14, 2015

Legislation to remove criminal penalties for possession of marijuana paraphernalia was approved by the General Assembly.

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Legislature Approves Bill to Restore Voting Rights to 40,000 Marylanders

News article, April 13, 2015

Broad Coalition Calls on Governor Hogan to Sign Legislation

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ACLU Briefing Paper Finds At Least 109 Police-Involved Killings Since 2010

News article, March 18, 2015

Victims from Counties Across Maryland

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Maryland Coalition for Justice and Equality to hold Press Conference

News article, February 26, 2015

Groups support police accountability and reform bills

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Judge Awards Full Attorneys Fees in Racial Profiling Case

News article, December 23, 2014

Ruling upholds value of using public information law to hold government accountable

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Maryland Decriminalization Bill to Take Effect

News article, September 30, 2014

Criminal penalties for simple marijuana possession will be replaced with a civil fine similar to a traffic ticket

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ACLU Seeks Answers to Unanswered Questions about Baltimore's Expanded Curfew Plans

News article, August 7, 2014

Group files public information request for copies of policies and directives to police officers

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Montgomery County Council Urges State to Decriminalize Possession of Marijuana Paraphernalia

News article, July 8, 2014

Representatives of Maryland's most populated county say possession of marijuana and marijuana paraphernalia should be among its lowest law enforcement priorities

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ACLU raises constitutional problem with detention centers

News article, June 10, 2014

Courts find holding individuals solely on immigration detainers raises Fourth Amendment concerns

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Civil Rights and Youth Groups Offer Alternative to Proposed Curfew Expansion

News article, May 29, 2014

Alternate plan promotes safety of Baltimore youth without risking the criminalization and unintended consequences of an expanded curfew

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ACLU Weighs in on Baltimore Police Taser Policies

News article, May 27, 2014

Letter highlights key recommendations from 2009 Task Force on Electronic Weapons report

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Juvenile Curfew

Legal case, May 15, 2014

Extreme, far-reaching juvenile curfew in Baltimore City

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ACLU Raises Concerns with Far-Reaching Youth Curfew Proposal in Baltimore City

News article, May 12, 2014

Courts around the country have struck down as unconstitutional less extreme curfews laws

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Bills to Decriminalize Marijuana, Limit Location Tracking and License Plate Readers, and Restrict Shackling of Pregnant Inmates

News article, April 14, 2014

Governor O'Malley signs five ACLU priority bills into law

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Maryland Senate Gives Final Approval to Marijuana Decriminalization Bill

News article, April 7, 2014

Measure Will Be Sent to Gov. O'Malley For His Signature

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House Approves Amended Marijuana Decriminalization Bill

News article, April 5, 2014

Bill would make possession of small amounts of marijuana a civil offense.

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Bill to Curb the Shackling of Pregnant Inmates Passes

News article, April 4, 2014

ACLU joins allies in heralding this bill to protect women from barbaric, dangerous, and dehumanizing treatment.

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Maryland Committee Passes Amended Bill to Create a Marijuana Task Force

News article, April 2, 2014

House Judiciary Committee failed to approve common sense proposal to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana.

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NAACP, ACLU Call on Chairman Vallario to Allow Vote on Marijuana Decriminalization

News article, March 31, 2014

New ACLU polling in several House Judiciary Committee members' districts shows majority support for marijuana policy reform

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ACLU of Maryland Executive Director to be Inducted into Maryland Women's Hall of Fame

News article, March 20, 2014

Ceremony at the Governor's Mansion in Annapolis

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Maryland Senate Committee Approves Bill to Impose a Civil Fine for Marijuana Possession

News article, March 7, 2014

Statements from the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Maryland, the NAACP Maryland State Conference, and the Marijuana Policy Project

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Campaign Launched to Regulate and Tax Marijuana Like Alcohol in Maryland

News article, January 16, 2014

State lawmakers, state and national groups join together to support a legal marijuana market for adults

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ACLU of Maryland Announces 2014 Legislative Priorities

News article, January 8, 2014

Issues include taxing and regulating marijuana, stopping local police from enforcing civil immigration detainers, limiting email and cell phone surveillance, and ending the shackling of pregnant women.

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ACLU Demands Prince George's State's Attorney Allow Women to Reunite with Family Members In Misuse of "Nuisance Abatement" Law

News article, December 18, 2013

Group Asks that Families be Allowed to Spend the Holidays Together

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Wrongful Nuisance Abatement Actions in Hyattsville

Legal case, December 18, 2013

Prince George's County State's Attorney wrongfully forced two women to sign “nuisance abatement” orders banishing their family members from their own homes and the neighborhood in which they had grown up. The ACLU is urging the prosecutor to dissolve the orders and call off longstanding harassment by police claiming to enforce the orders so the families can be reunited without fear that they will be arrested or that they could lose the homes they own.

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In Every County, Black People More Likely to be Arrested for Marijuana Possession

News article, November 7, 2013

New report details growing marijuana arrest rates, even as support for decriminalization grows

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Poll: Majority of Maryland Voters Support Regulating and Taxing Marijuana; Only 38% Opposed

News article, October 3, 2013

More than 2/3 support removing criminal penalties for marijuana possession and replacing them with a civil fine

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ACLU, CASA Urge Police to Change ICE Warrant Policies

News article, September 26, 2013

Recent court ruling bans arrest by local law enforcement

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Illegality of "stop and frisk" practice by police not addressed by name change

News article, September 24, 2013

ACLU public information request seeks answers about Baltimore Police stops and searches without reasonable suspicion.

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ACLU Report on Racial Disparities in Marijuana Arrests

News article, June 4, 2013

Report Show Black People 3 Times More Likely to Be Arrested for Marijuana than White People, Despite Equal Usage Rates

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ACLU Heralds Signing of Bills Expanding Rights

News article, May 2, 2013

Legislation on Death Penalty Repeal, Drivers Licenses, and Same-Day Voter Registration

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ACLU hails passage of bill to reduce youth incarceration

News article, April 9, 2013

Keeps youth charged with minor offenses out of juvenile facilities

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Senate Passes Bill Decriminalizing Small Amounts of Marijuana

News article, March 19, 2013

Legislation now moves to the House

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No Drones Without a Warrant

News article, March 18, 2013

Bill would prohibit Maryland law enforcement from using drones to gather evidence without a warrant

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ACLU Heralds Passage of Historic Death Penalty Repeal Legislation

News article, March 15, 2013

Group Has Worked for Decades with Partners to End Capital Punishment

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ACLU Opposes Bill to Put Police Officers in Every School

News article, February 28, 2013

Criminalizing Minor Discipline Issues Does More Harm Than Good

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ACLU Advocates for Marijuana Decriminalization

News article, February 27, 2013

Reform Needed to Reduce Bloated, Biased Prison System

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ACLU To Testify for Bill to End Shackling of Pregnant Women

News article, February 26, 2013

Practice is unhumane and dangerous

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ACLU Says Study Needed for "Prosecution for Profit" Companies

News article, February 21, 2013

Companies threaten criminal prosecution using prosecutors' official letterhead

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Private Prosecution Programs

Legal case, January 14, 2013

ACLU Questions State’s Attorneys About Authorizing Private Companies to Threaten Prosecution For Profit

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ACLU Questions State's Attorneys About Authorizing Private Companies to Threaten Prosecution For Profit

News article, January 14, 2013

Details Sought About "Private Prosecution Programs"

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ACLU Distributing 20,000 Maryland Voter Empowerment Cards to Groups Across the State

News article, October 9, 2012

Voters can report problems on Election Day by calling hotline: 1-888-496-ACLU

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Illegal Arrests Lawsuit Against Baltimore Police Department

Legal case, April 26, 2012

ACLU works to ensure that reforms are fully implemented in the Baltimore City Police Department

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ACLU Supports Bills that Promote Public Safety While Saving Money

News article, March 1, 2012

ACLU To Testify in Support of Bills to Eliminate Need for Governor In Pardon Process for Juvenile Offenses; Establish "Good Time Credits"

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2012 Legislative Priorities

News article, January 11, 2012

Issues Include Marriage Equality, Criminal Justice Reform, Social Media Privacy

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Maryland Increases Prison Population Nearly Two Percent

News article, December 21, 2011

While U.S. saw first drop in prison population since 1972, Maryland's imprisoned population rises, facilities at 99% capacity

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Princess Anne Community to Come Together for Memorial, Discussion on the 78th Anniversary of George Armwood Lynching

News article, October 22, 2011

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ACLU of Maryland Lauds Passage of Bill Advancing Parity for Girls in Juvenile Justice System

News article, April 11, 2011

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ACLU To Testify in Support of Legislation Requiring Detailed Reports of Taser Use

News article, February 24, 2011

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ACLU Testifies In Support Of Two Bills That Would Increase Public Safety And Save Taxpayer Money

News article, February 24, 2011

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ACLU of Maryland to Testify Today in Support of Bills to Decriminalize Marijuana and Reform Mandatory Minimum Sentences

News article, February 22, 2011

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ACLU Joins Republicans and Democrats to Support Bill to Steamline Maryland's Bloated Prison System

News article, February 10, 2011

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