We’ve all been through it before…trying to locate either the defendant or the “friend of a friend” who was with our client at the time of the accident. When this person appears to be absolutely nowhere, it is worth checking out whether this defendant or witness is a guest of the state of Maryland.
Thankfully, people in jail are relatively easy to find. All but 8 state departments of corrections – including Maryland – makes available to the general public, information and photographs of inmates who are incarcerated. While originally created in the interest of public safety, it has become a tool in which witnesses have been located. There is no charge for these inmate locators, and new states are being added as they become available. You can chose the state you want to search and it will take you directly to their inmate locator. Some states will show pictures, release date, crimes, etc. while others will only list their age with no photo.
You have located your incarcerated witness, now what? If your defendant is in jail, you have an easy means of obtaining service of your Complaint. If you are trying to find a witness to the accident you can arrange a meeting and can videotape the inmate’s trial testimony by videotape. This can usually be set up by contacting their caseworker, though every detention center is different. In most cases, you will need the warden’s permission, as this process will bring in a lot of outsiders (all counsel, court reporter, videographer, etc.).
Clearly, there are some hoops to jump through to dealing with a defendant or witness that is jail in Maryland. While it may cause an accident lawyer a few headaches, finding and gathering testimony from inmates has and can be done.