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January 4, 2017

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1/4: Court Hearing in Lawsuit about Right of Individuals _Sentenced as Youth to Parole

BALTIMORE, MD - At 10 a.m. on Wednesday, January 4, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Maryland will appear in federal court on behalf of the Maryland Restorative Justice Initiative, a prisoners' rights organization that includes juvenile lifers and their families among its members, as well as three individuals subjected to mandatory life sentences for offenses committed decades ago when they were teens. At the hearing, concerning the State of Maryland's motion to dismiss the case, MJRI v. Gov. Hogan, advocates and families of incarcerated individuals will show their support for the case and press for reform.

Although the ACLU's plaintiffs are serving "life with parole" sentences, the lawsuit argues that in practice Maryland never paroles lifers, instead operating a system of executive clemency in which commutation of life sentences is extraordinarily rare.  In this way, Maryland converts "life with parole" sentences into de facto "life without parole" sentences that constitute cruel and unusual punishment, which are especially inappropriate and unconstitutional for individuals sentenced as youth.  

WHAT:  Federal district court hearing on State of Maryland's motion to dismiss the important civil rights case, Maryland Restorative Justice Initiative v. Governor Larry Hogan.

WHO:  Plaintiffs, including individuals sentenced as youth to life with parole sentences and Walter Lomax, director of the Maryland Restorative Justice Initiative; family members of those serving life sentences; and individuals who have come home through the Unger decision.

WHEN: Wednesday, January 4 at 10:00 a.m.

WHERE: Courtroom 5B, 101 West Lombard Street, Baltimore MD 21201.