This afternoon, a Baltimore City Circuit Court judge vacated the conviction of Paul Madison, who has spent more than 30 years in prison for a murder he did not commit. Later today, Madison will leave prison as a free man, thanks to the work of the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project (MAIP), the University of Baltimore Innocence Project Clinic (UBIPC), and the Conviction Integrity Unit (CIU) at the Baltimore City State’s Attorney.
On January 7, 1991, William Richardson was shot and killed in Cherry Hill. Police discovered him laying next to his car in a parking area near several townhomes. Mr. Madison was convicted in September of 1991 along with his codefendant, Clarence H. Colton. The case against Mr. Madison was based entirely on the uncorroborated testimony of a witness who received an undisclosed deal on unrelated charges in exchange for her testimony, despite insisting at trial that she had received no benefit from the State. The State also failed to tell the defense about alternative suspects.
From day one, Mr. Madison has insisted that he was not involved in the crime, including in statements to the Parole Commission and in many pleadings he filed in Baltimore City Circuit Court. In 2019, Mr. Madison contacted the CIU, which thought the case was compelling and reached out to MAIP and UBIPC, a joint project of the University of Baltimore School of Law and the Maryland Office of the Public Defender.
“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.”
–Shawn Armbrust, Executive Director of the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project
The joint investigation uncovered the information that had been withheld from the defense, as well as a new witness who said that Colston admitted to the crime and said Mr. Madison was not involved. Based on that work, the CIU moved today to vacate Mr. Madison’s conviction in the interest of justice. The Baltimore City Circuit Court granted the motion, making Mr. Madison the 12th person exonerated through the CIU-MAIP-UBIPC partnership since 2015 and allowing him to be with family for the holidays for the first time in more than three decades.
Founded in 2000, the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project corrects and prevents the conviction of innocent people in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. We are one of the most successful of the 54 innocence organizations in the country. We have helped to secure the release and/or exoneration of 41 innocent men who spent a total of 810 years in prison for crimes they did not do. We have also helped pass 19 laws that help improve the criminal justice system.