BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A judge ruled in favor Monday of a joint motion brought by lawyers from the University of Maryland and the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office Sentencing Review Unit to release Eriana Pretty, who’s served 42 years.
Pretty pleaded guilty when she was 18 years old to first-degree murder, use of a handgun in a crime of violence and accessory after the after (in another case) on Sept. 19. 1978.
Pretty’s attorneys Lila Meadows and Leigh Goodmark of University of Maryland Law School approached the SAO’s office and after a review led by Deputy State’s Attorney Jan Bledsoe, State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby agreed to support Pretty’s release.
“The role of the prosecutor is not simply to seek future justice. The pursuit of justice is timeless, and that means we must also correct the injustices of the past,” said State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby. “Ms. Pretty has served 42 years in prison. She has not only redeemed herself but exemplifies the need for second chances in our criminal justice system and while we recognize the hurt and trauma that lives everyday with the survivors of this unfortunate incident, we remain committed to ensuring restorative support as they heal.”
While she was in prison, Pretty earned her associate and bachelor’s degrees. She has a bachelor’s in Sociology from Morgan State University. She also took courses in pre-employment job readiness, personal computing and introduction to databases.
While in prison, she also worked as a data entry clerk for more than 20 years and spent time with Baltimore Braille Association assembling books for the blind.
She also worked as a data entry clerk for over 20 years and spent time with Baltimore Braille Association assembling books for the blind as well as a number of other programs.
Warden Carroll Parrish described her as a positive example for fellow prisoners by providing them living lessons each day, a press release stated.
The office consulted with the family of the victims and informed them of the hearing. As a part of the agreement, she will be sent to a reentry facility and placed on probation for five years.
Mosby announced the creation of the SRU last week. Former Deputy Public Defender Becky Feldman was hired to head the unit. Pretty is the second person the unit supported for release.
The Sentencing Review Unit (SRU) prioritizes cases utilizing two factors for initial review but not wholly sufficient for a recommendation to support release:
- Individuals who have a documented serious medical condition according to CDC that places them at a higher risk of serious illness or death if they contract COVID-19;
- Individuals over the age of 60 who have spent more than 25 years in prison on a life sentence OR Individuals who have spent more than 25 years in prison on a life sentence for a crime committed as a juvenile (age 17 and under).
For more details on the Unit, and its first case, click here for a factsheet and here for information of how to apply to have a case reviewed.