Baltimore (December 21, 2018) - Yesterday, the Office of the State’s Attorney for Baltimore City (SAO), University of Pennsylvania Law School Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice, University of Baltimore Innocence Project Clinic, and other partners announced the release of a root cause analysis report, also known as the Baltimore Event Review Team (BERT) Report, for the case of Malcolm J. Bryant. Bryant was wrongfully convicted of murder in 1999 and exonerated in 2016 under the Mosby Administration after DNA evidence proved his innocence. He served 17 years in prison.
This report, which was a collaborative effort among the aforementioned agencies, provides recommendations on how the criminal justice system can decrease the occurrence of wrongful convictions. The report also specifically focuses on various components of the investigative, trial, and post-conviction phases of Bryant’s case. Recommendations included best practices for investigating and charging single witness identification cases, sharing discovery and evidence between the SAO and BPD, and developing an objective team within the SAO to review claims of innocence.
Associate Dean and Executive Director of the Quattrone Center, John Hollway, praises the partnering agencies for their work on the BERT report and the positive impact it will have on Baltimore.
“The participating agencies from the city of Baltimore have done a great service for the City, participating in an open and honest evaluation of the Bryant case to understand how each of the participants contributed to the unwanted conviction of an innocent man, and to identify and implement real-world changes to the system that will help prevent this from happening again,” said John Hollway. “It’s important for the citizens of Baltimore that their public servants continue to work hard to improve, and we were excited to help them with the process.”
In addition to the exoneration of Malcolm Bryant, there have been three additional exonerations under the Mosby Administration. Lamar Johnson was exonerated after 15 years’ incarceration for a murder he did not commit. Jerome Johnson was exonerated in 2018 for a murder he did not commit after serving 30 years in prison. Lastly, Clarence Shipley was exonerated just a few days ago, and released after serving nearly 27 years in prison for a murder he did not commit.
State’s Attorney Mosby reacts to the report by highlighting the importance of the effort to better the local criminal justice system.
“This report represents the culmination of over two years of arduous, collaborative work to understand how Malcolm Bryant’s wrongful conviction occurred and how to better ensure it does not happen again,” said State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby. “The recommendations of this team is a major step forward in refining the Baltimore criminal justice system so that we never have to share a story like Malcolm’s again.”