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News Opinion

Thirteen freed because of faulty jury instructions demonstrates need for reform

It is good news that the Maryland Court of Appeals used common sense regarding the unfair trials that occurred as a result of the faulty instructions given jurors prior to 1980 ("13 Killers go free after court decision," July 11, 2013).

In most European countries the corrections system recognizes that a person incarcerated for a crime is not the same person 20 years later. In the cases described in the newspaper, all the defendants had served 32 to 45 years in prison. Is further retribution really necessary?

Is it good use of our tax dollars to spend about $44,000 a year to keep them in prison for life? These people are not strong candidates for the 65 percent recidivism rate in Maryland's failed prison system.

Maryland needs more expert input and less input from politicians who know very little about improving a corrections system that does little to correct. I'm sure that politicians created the mess prior to 1980, and they'll do so again soon unless they yield to experts who know something about criminal justice.

Maryland has the worst prison system in North America, and the Court of Appeals decision is proof of the need to improve it. One would think that at some point forgiveness and justice ought to factor into such cases. More hate and retribution solve nothing.

David Osmundson, Sykesville

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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