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MD Defendants Charge Illegal Jailing For Weeks or Months

Nine people who were detained at the Prince George County, Md., jail near Washington, D.C., allege in a lawsuit that they and potentially hundreds of others were illegally incarcerated for weeks or months before their trials even after judges ordered or authorized their release. The nine filed their lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Maryland, targeting county government employees and judges they say were responsible for their detainment. Their lawyers are seeking class-action certification and said the problems they outlined may have affected hundreds of people who were detained at the jail in the past three years, the Washington Post reports.

“These illegally jailed people number in the hundreds,” the lawsuit reads, “and comprise approximately one-third of the entire population of the Prince George’s County Jail.” The lawsuit alleges that district and circuit court judges permit those charged with crimes to be released from jail pending trial. In the process, the suit says, those judges unlawfully defer to the county’s pretrial services officials to determine what level of supervision people should receive — or whether they should be released at all. In the meantime, the suit alleges, those whose release was ordered by judges languish in jail, waiting for long periods for decisions that are often accompanied by no explanation. During those periods, plaintiffs say they lost homes, missed funerals, were separated from young children, were unable to care for sick loved ones or contracted the coronavirus up. Several plaintiffs either were later acquitted saw their charges dropped by prosecutors.


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