Unger v. Maryland Four Years Later

John and Frances Angelos Law Center
12th Floor

Unger v. Maryland Four Years Later: Implications for Criminal Justice Reform

In the 2012 Unger v. State decision, the Maryland Court of Appeals recognized that an instruction long provided by Maryland judges to juries was structurally flawed and fundamentally unfair.

As a result, more than 130 prisoners serving life sentences for violent crimes were freed on probation. Thanks to the collaboration of social workers, lawyers and others, these “Ungers” received social services and other re-entry support.

A screening of a CBS News story, “The Ungers: Righting a Miscarriage of Justice,” will kick off an afternoon program that also will feature a panel discussion about criminal justice reform and, in particular, a bill before the 2018 Maryland General Assembly that would remove the governor from the parole process.


Jeff Ross
Appellate Division, Office of the Public Defender.

Tony Gioia
Chief Counsel, Baltimore City State’s Attorney Office

Elizabeth Smith
Forensic Social Work Fellow, Law & Social Work Service Program
University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law

Etta Myers
Maryland Justice Project and one of the “Ungers”

Walter Lomax
Executive Director
Maryland Restorative Justice Initiative

Scott D. Shellenberger
State's Attorney, Baltimore County

Jane Murphy
Professor of Law and Director of the Juvenile Justice Project
University of Baltimore School of Law

Contact Name:
Shavaun O'Brien
Contact Email:

Appropriate accommodations for individuals with disabilities will be provided upon request 10 days prior to a campus event and 30 days prior to an event requiring travel.

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