Press Releases

SAO and Innocence Project Investigation Revealed Huge Discovery Violations

First Conviction to be Overturned Using the Vacatur Law that the SAO Drafted and Fought to Pass

Baltimore, Md. (December 21, 2021) - Today, Paul Madison had his murder conviction overturned and will be released after 30 years in prison. Madison will be freed following an investigation by The Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Conviction Integrity Unit and the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project (MAIP). Mr. Madison was convicted along with his co-defendant Clarence Colston for the December 1990 murder of William Richardson in Cherry Hill, Baltimore City. The case against Madison rested almost exclusively on the uncorroborated testimony of a jailhouse informant who was promised a deal to testify in exchange for dropping felony narcotics and handgun charges. 

“This conviction rested on outdated and questionable practices that called into question the integrity of the conviction, which is why in the interests of fairness and justice, my Conviction Integrity Unit moved to vacate the conviction.  I want to apologize to Mr. Madison and his family on behalf of a flawed criminal justice system that failed him by wrongly taking 30 years of his life.  I wish him all the best going forward,” said State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby.

Madison’s conviction was vacated using the state’s vacatur statute that State's Attorney Mosby and her team drafted and pushed for in Maryland in 2019, following the revelations surrounding the Gun Trace Task Force. It is the first time the law has been used to overturn a murder conviction.  

Additionally, State's Attorney Mosby fought for passage of a Jailhouse Informant law in 2020, which placed severe limitations on prosecutorial use of jailhouse informants. State's Attorney Mosby also implemented a policy in her office that severely restricts the use of jailhouse informants.

“Paul Madison’s conviction was based on evidence so thin and unreliable that it never should have proceeded to trial, let alone ended in a conviction. Without prosecutors who care about righting past wrongs, however, even convictions this week are virtually impossible to undo. We’re so grateful to the SAO for this commitment, which ensures that Mr. Madison won’t spend a 31st Christmas behind bars,” said Shawn Armbrust, Executive Director of the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project. 

"This case against Mr. Madison rested almost entirely on the uncorroborated statements of a jailhouse informant.  This would not make it through our present day scrutiny.  Given the lack of any other evidence and the age of the case, the investigation proved difficult, but, in the end, Chief Linda Ramirez and I determined we lacked confidence in the conviction and had serious doubts as to Mr. Madison’s involvement," said Lauren Lipscomb, Deputy State's Attorney for Criminal Intelligence. "The vacatur statute enables us to bring this case in and fix the unjust outcome."  

Today’s decision marks the 12th release by the SAO’s Conviction Integrity Unit. The SAO launched a campaign in September called “Faces of Actual Innocence” to highlight the work of the Conviction Integrity Unit.