Remembering Matt Horner

We are heartbroken to share that MAIP client Matt Horner passed away in November of 2023. Matt had spent 15 years in prison for a crime he did not commit.


Matt Horner speaks at MAIP’s 13th Annual Awards Luncheon in 2022. Photo by Allison Shelley


In 2005, Matt was wrongfully convicted in Baltimore County, Maryland of attempted murder. The state’s case was plagued by problems that we see all too often in our cases, including reliance on testimony from a career jailhouse informant and failure to disclose exculpatory evidence. These issues were compounded by the ineffective legal representation that Matt received, and Matt was sentenced to life in prison.

Matt maintained his innocence and never stopped fighting to clear his name. Finally, in February 2020, a federal judge reversed Matt’s conviction. The state appealed the decision, but on April 15, 2020, Matt was released on home monitoring and began living with his good friends, Joe and JoAnn, in Pennsylvania.

A few months after his release, Matt was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer, which he quickly learned was terminal. Several months later, the state won its appeal and gave Matt a choice: continue fighting his conviction in the courts – and return to prison – or agree to drop his claims and accept a modified sentence that would allow him to stay out of prison. Given his health, he chose the latter.

We hoped that we could clear Matt’s name before he died, but we’re nonetheless grateful that he was able to spend his last years in the care of the wonderful JoAnn and Joe. Matt’s legal team, led by Mark Schamel of Venable, also went above and beyond in its efforts to both free Matt and ensure that he could live as comfortably as possible. In addition to Mark’s tireless efforts, thanks to Ana Jara of Venable, Pascal Naples of ArentFox Schiff, Christopher Pickens of Hogan Lovells, and former MAIP attorneys Parisa Tafti and Isabel Corngold.

We will miss Matt’s gratitude and optimism, and we are continuing the fight to clear his name.