Anthony Muhammad - Maryland Second Look Act Press Conference Remarks

March 18, 2024

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The Maryland Second Look Act builds off of the Juvenile Restoration Act and allows individuals who have served at least 20 years, and have demonstrated their rehabilitation, the ability to have judges take a second look at their sentence.

The Maryland General Assembly must pass this crucial bill before the end of session. Lives and futures depend on it.


Video by Nehemiah Bester.


00:00 – 0:21
Anthony Muhammad
Good afternoon, everybody. My name is Anthony Muhammad. I, too, would like to begin by echoing the sentiments of all who came before me and thanking Senator Carter and Delegate Pasteur, for their brave sponsorship of this legislation. I'm honored to be here with this distinguished panel group, coalition.

00:21 – 01:04
Anthony Muhammad
31 years ago, at the age of 15. I was arrested in Baltimore City for two homicide charges. I was ultimately convicted and sentenced to life plus 20 years in prison. The judge who sentenced me mistakenly believed that I was unredeemable, unreformable, and that the actions that I committed were unreconcilable. She stated that I had shown little hope of rehabilitation, and she said that she did not believe that education, job training and things of that nature would ever make me a safe citizen again.

01:04 – 01:13
Anthony Muhammad
Thankfully, the judge who sentenced me was all wrong about me.

01:13 – 01:52
Anthony Muhammad
17 months ago, I was released under the Juvenile Restoration Act at the age of 45 after serving a total of 29 years, seven months and 29 days. But here's the interesting point. The judge who released me said the exact opposite about me, then the judge who sentenced me. The judge who released me said that in all of her years on the bench, I was the first violent offender that she had absolutely no reservations about releasing back into the community.

01:52 – 02:11
Anthony Muhammad
She said that what I had accomplished throughout my incarceration was so remarkable that in all of her years on the bench, she had never witnessed, seen or heard anything of that nature. I'm saying that to say that I am not unique.

02:12 – 03:00
Anthony Muhammad
And Chairman Smith and Chairman Clippinger whom I've met with personally, talked to face to face, who applaud me for all of the change and transition that I've made. Cannot in this hour be hypocritical because all of the men who raised me, all of the men who taught me the morals, the principles, the values that I live by to this very moment, and I see my elder Ron Ellis here, all of the men that raised me as a 15, 16, 17 year old in the Maryland State Penitentiary 30 years later are still there, many of whom were there decades before I arrived.

03:00 – 03:30
Anthony Muhammad
You can't say that because of a change in law that I deserve the opportunity. But now, when the opportunity comes for you to give those well deserving of the opportunity, the same opportunity that I have. And it is without dispute that this category of people are not only rehabilitated, but it is without dispute that they no longer pose a threat to public safety.

03:30 – 04:11
Anthony Muhammad
And the only point of opposition that I've heard from those who oppose this bill is victims, victims, victims. And I'll close with this point. I spent the last decade of my incarceration hosting all not some, all of the leading victim rights organizations in the state of Maryland, victim rights advocates. We brought them into the prisons to speak to the inmate population, to hear the pain, hear the sorrow, to experience the ripple effect of their actions and what they caused.

04:11 – 04:37
Anthony Muhammad
And it is that experience that produces real remorse. When you come face to face with the reality of what your actions have done, and since my release, I have had the opportunity to sit down with the families of my victims through victim offender mediation, who have given me their forgiveness for crimes that I committed at the age of 15.

04:37 – 05:11
Anthony Muhammad
What we are saying is that people, all of the data, all of the research, all of the studies, unanimously, show that people change. People age out of crime. So it's only common sense that after two, three, four, five decades later, somebody should have the opportunity to revisit sentences of people who committed crimes as teenagers. So that is all I will share.

05:13 – 05:17
Anthony Muhammad
I will join this distinguished coalition and I thank you.