BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Maryland’s top appeals court judge has issued an order encouraging lower courts to identify offenders who are at high risk for contracting coronavirus for possible release.
In an order Tuesday, Judge Mary Ellen Barbera said lower courts should identify the high-risk offenders in order to protect the inmate population as a whole.READ MORE: Man Shot & Killed In Northwest Baltimore, Police Say
Before releasing an offender, the courts should consider whether that person is a threat to the community, whether the facility they’re being held at can address coronavirus-related medical issues and whether the person shows any symptoms of the virus, the order reads.
In addition, the order also directs lower courts to set hearings for matters like child support contempt, minor probation violations and failure to appear in court within the next business day.
Tuesday’s order is similar to one Barbera filed Monday relating to juvenile offenders.READ MORE: Charging Documents Say Evelyn Player Died Defending Herself, Police Found Suspect Through DNA
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State leaders have sparred over whether to also allow some non-violent adult offenders to be released as the virus circulates through jails.
Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby advocated for offenders to be released, while Gov. Larry Hogan has said it’s not a priority of his.
On Tuesday, a group of more than 200 faculty from Johns Hopkins University reiterated their call for Hogan to release non-violent offenders at high risk of contracting the virus.
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— Mike Hellgren (@HellgrenWJZ) April 14, 2020