Eyewitness Identification Reform
State statute requires that all law enforcement agencies implement scientifically-supported eyewitness identification protocols that contain: blind administration, proper instructions; proper fillers, and confidence statements. Effective: 2007. Amended most recently: 2015.
Recording of Interrogations
A law enforcement unit that regularly utilizes one or more interrogation rooms capable of creating audiovisual recordings of custodial interrogations shall make reasonable efforts to create an audiovisual recording of a custodial interrogation of a criminal suspect in connection with a case involving murder, rape, sexual offense in the first degree or sexual offense in the second degree, whenever possible. Effective: 2008.
Post Conviction DNA Testing
A person convicted of a crime of violence may petition for post-conviction DNA testing. In 2018, the law was amended in response to Maryland Supreme Court decisions to clarify that people who pleaded guilty may be eligible for post-conviction DNA testing and relief through a writ of actual innocence. Effective: 2001; Amended most recently: 2018.
State statute requires the automatic preservation of biological evidence collected in relation to a murder (1st and 2nd degree), manslaughter, rape (1st and 2nd degree), or sexual offense (1st and 2nd degree). The evidence must be preserved for the length of an individual’s sentence. Effective: 2001; Amended most recently: 2009.
Maryland's statute meets the best practices standards outlined by the NIST Technical Working Group on Biological Evidence Preservation.
Board of Public Works determines compensation package for pardoned persons whose conviction was in error, and may grant a reasonable amount for any financial or other appropriate counseling for the individual. The law was amended in 2017 to allow eligibility if the State's Attorney certifies that the petition was in error. Effective: 1999; Amended most recently: 2017.
State statute requires each state’s attorney office to track the use of in-custody witness testimony and send the following information to the Governor’s Office of Crime Prevention for maintenance in a statewide index : 1) the substance of the in-custody informant’s testimony, whether or not it was presented in court proceedings, 2) the purpose for which the state’s attorney used the testimony, and 3) any benefit received by the in-custody witness for the testimony.
State’s attorneys are also required to disclose within 30 days of a defendant’s first appearance: 1) benefits provided or expected in exchange for an in-custody witness’s testimony, 2) substance, time, place of any statement made by suspect/defendant to the in-custody witness and made by the in-custody witness to law enforcement, and 3) other cases in which the in-custody witness testified and benefits provided in exchange for their testimony. Additionally, the law requires victims of the in-custody witness’s crimes to be notified if leniency is provided in exchange for their testimony. Effective: October 2020.