12 Nov Lloyd Hall’s Story
In 1984, Lloyd Hall was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for a burglary that he did not commit. Lloyd received this sentence under Maryland’s “three strikes” law. This law permits the State to seek a mandatory life sentence against a defendant upon his conviction of a fourth violent crime. The law considered Lloyd to be a violent re-offender – even though none of his predicate convictions encompassed any acts of violence. Rather, Hall had struggled with substance use disorder and had committed a string of petty offenses to support his addiction. At the age of 29, Lloyd was condemned as a man incapable of rehabilitation and ordered to spend the rest of his life in prison. Not long after Lloyd’s conviction, the Maryland legislature changed the state’s “three strikes” law so that Lloyd’s predicates were no longer considered crimes of violence.
During his decades of incarceration Lloyd lost all hope, but his sister Carolyn refused to give up. Carolyn promised her brother that he would not die in prison. Carolyn found Lloyd a post-conviction lawyer, and that lawyer filed a petition alleging that his original trial counsel had been constitutionally ineffective. The Sixth Amendment guarantees all criminal defendants reasonably competent counsel; however, after trial, Lloyd’s attorney failed to file a motion seeking a modification of Lloyd’s sentence. If his attorney had taken this step, Lloyd would have been re-sentenced due to the change in the law.
Lloyd’s post-conviction attorney worked with the State’s Attorney for Montgomery County to negotiate Lloyd’s release. Lloyd was a model prisoner, he had the support of a large family network, and he had a detailed release plan. When presented with the facts of Lloyd’s case, the State’s Attorney agreed that Lloyd should be released from prison. On July 12, 2018 Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Ronald B. Rubin heard Lloyd’s motion. After an hour of testimony inside a packed courtroom, Judge Rubin ordered that Lloyd be immediately released from incarceration. Lloyd walked out of the courthouse into the beautiful sunshine of a summer’s day; he was finally a free man.
Lloyd is determined to share his experience and educate the public about unjust sentences. Unlike Lloyd, many inmates do not have access to the necessary resources needed to find assistance from a post-conviction attorney. Through his role as outreach coordinator for Project 6, Lloyd hopes to use his life story to reach these inmates and help them regain their freedom.