Monday, May 15, 2006

Leveling the Playing Field in "Justice" System

In the Massey v. Galley decision issued late last week, the Maryland Court of Appeals ruled that prisoners have the same right as other Marylanders to documents under the Maryland Public Information Act.

The ruling by the state's highest court is an obvious victory for prisoner rights and a subtler victory for equality in the judicial system. The decision removes undue obstacles in the way of prisoners trying to get information under the law that forces government to release certain public documents upon request. Under the austere Prisoner Litigation Act, inmates had to jump through unfair hoops to get to information that could help them in their cases or assert their rights in the correctional facility.

But more importantly, the ruling puts all incarcerated individuals on a level playing field. The arrangement that was struck down allowed those prisoners with knowledgeable connections on the outside to have others make the requests for them. Those without these connections - usually the poorer amongst inmates - were thus at a disadvantage within the justice system. The ruling gives all inmates the same opportunities by allowing equal access to documents under MPIA.

from The League: Reassembled


Blogger Bruce Godfrey said...

I consider this excellent news. Everyone benefits when everyone has full due process access to records to assist in the assertion of procedural and substantive rights.

5/17/2006 12:19:00 AM  

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