1 N. Charles St., Suite 1301
Baltimore, MD 21201
Phone: 410-244-5444
FAX: 410-934-3208

Our Story

Brown Law was formed with a fundamental goal: to provide high-end legal counsel with integrity. We are driven by the understanding that many of our clients face life-altering challenges. We thrive when the stakes are highest. Because of our past success, we are confident that we can deliver for you.

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“Mr. Brown saved my life. I owe him everything.”

B.P. (former client),

“We owe C. Justin Brown such a debt of gratitude and there is nothing I can write… that will do justice to how my family and I feel about him and the job he did in representing my brother in a recent criminal defense case.”

J.N. (former client),

“This firm is extremely good at what it does and offers an excellent professional relationship with clients by making them feel at ease even in the most dire situations. The firm rose high above my expectations…”

B.P. (former client),

“I highly recommend this firm . They put in the hard work it takes to win. They really see you as a person not just another client… They keep you well informed and explains everything clearly and listen.

P.W. (former client),

Recent blog posts

Lloyd Hall is Free after 34 years

July 14, 2018
(Photo by Alan Chin)   A Montgomery County Circuit Judge ordered Lloyd Hall to be released from prison on Thursday – immediately – vacating a life-without-parole sentence and ending an injustice that had persisted for 34 years. Hall walked out of the courthouse in a new black suit around 1:15 p.m., and was greeted by a cheering crowd of family and supporters. Hall had been convicted in 1984 for burglary and related offenses. Because he had three prior convictions for burglary and housebreaking, he was sentenced to mandatory life in prison under Maryland’s “three strikes” law. The law considered Hall to be a violent re-offender – even though none of his predicate convictions encompassed any acts of violence. Rather, Hall had struggled with drug abuse and had committed a string of petty offenses to support his habit. At the age of 29, Hall was condemned to live out the remaining days of his life in prison. In a cruel twist that made his fate even more difficult to accept, Maryland soon thereafter changed the law that classified Hall as a violent offender. After Hall’s sentence was imposed, the Legislature changed the “three strikes” rule so that Hall’s predicates were no longer considered crimes of violence. But, for Hall it was too late. He had no way to get back into court. Many years later, Hall came to us seeking help. He was supported by the tireless advocacy of his sister, Carolyn Williams, who had pledged to him many years ago that he would not die in prison. After research and investigation, we filed a post-conviction petition raising a single issue: that Hall’s trial counsel, back in 1987, had been constitutionally ineffective for failing to file a motion seeking a modification of Hall’s sentence. If trial counsel had filed that routine motion, we argued, Hall would have been able to get back into court and obtain a new sentence in light of the changed law. Rather than confront the State with our petition in open court, we decided to negotiate with the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office, and persuade them that relief was merited. Hall had been a model prisoner, he had a supportive family, and he had developed a detailed plan for what he would do upon release. After extensive negotiation and vetting, the Montgomery County State’s Attorney – to his credit – agreed with us that Hall should be granted the relief we were seeking: his immediate release from prison. The final step was to convince the court to honor our bargain. On July 12, 2018, we appeared before Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Ronald B. Rubin and presented our arguments. In an hour-long hearing in a packed courtroom, Judge Rubin heard from witnesses, including forensic social worker Rebecca Bowman-Rivas, considered the appropriate law, and issued his order. “I order you released, forthwith,” Judge Rubin said.

Adnan Syed Updates

December 14, 2017
March 8, 2019 Here is my statement about today’s Court of Appeals ruling in the Adnan Syed case: We are devastated by the Court of Appeals’ decision but we will not give up on Adnan Syed. Unfortunately we live in a binary criminal justice system in which you either win or you lose. Today we lost by a 4-3 vote. Our criminal justice system is desperately in need of reform. The obstacles to getting a new trial are simply too great. There was a credible alibi witness who was with Adnan at the precise time of the murder and now the Court of Appeals has said that witness would not have affected the outcome of the proceeding. We think just the opposite is true. From the perspective of the defendant, there is no stronger evidence than an alibi witness.   January 10, 2019 Syed today filed a brief providing the Maryland Court of Appeals with supplemental authority pertaining to the alibi issue now before the State’s highest court. The supplement alerts the court to a new case from Alabama’s highest court called Ex parte Gissendanner, No. 1160762, 2019 WL 101611 (Ala. Jan. 4, 2019). Why do we care about what an Alabama court is saying? The reason relates to the argument initially set forth by a dissenting judge from the Court of Special Appeals, and now adopted by the State in the current appeal. The dissenting judge, and now the State, have argued that another Alabama case, Broadnax v. State, 130 So. 3d 1232 (Ala. Crim. App. 2013), should guide the Court of Appeals as it deliberates on the alibi issue. Broadnax is a case that contains some reasoning not favorable to Syed. However, the new case, from the Alabama Supreme Court, cuts the legs out from under Broadnax. Gissendanner affirms the arguments and principles Syed has been making all along: that it was ineffective assistance of counsel when trial counsel, Cristina Gutierrez, failed to investigate a key alibi witness prior to trial. Before Gissendanner, Alabama was an outlier in this particular area of the law. Now, Gissendanner brings Alabama closely in line with the overwhelming majority of jurisdictions. The timing of Gissendanner is important because it comes while the Maryland Court of Appeals is deliberating. Oral arguments were held on November 29, 2018. We are now waiting to see what the Court of Appeals will decide. (There is no precise timetable for when the court will announce its ruling.) Our recent filing can be found HERE.   November 20, 2018 The briefs are all in for what is probably the final appeal of the Syed case — to the Maryland Court of Appeals, the highest court in the state. You can read our filling, which addresses the cell tower issue, HERE. Oral arguments are set for November 29 at 10 am. They will be streamed live from the Annapolis courtroom (go to the Maryland Court of Appeals website). More to come soon! September 20, 2018 The Maryland Criminal Defense Attorneys’ Association and the Maryland

Judge Reverses Life Sentence in AA County

October 7, 2018
Brown Law last week won a high-stakes post-conviction proceeding in Anne Arundel County when a Circuit Court Judge found that prosecutors had withheld critical evidence from the defendant. As a result, our client’s life sentence was vacated and a new trial ordered. This marks the sixth time the Firm has reversed a life sentence. The Judge granted the post-conviction petition on three separate grounds: one Brady violation and two claims of ineffective assistance of counsel. The Brady violation was based on the failure of the State to turn over exculpatory evidence. The State had argued to the jury that the defendant had destroyed a computer to hide evidence of a crime. But in fact, the Court found, the police had been in possession of the computer the whole time. The prosecutors never turned over to the defense a report showing that the police had the computer, and that there was no inculpatory evidence on it. The opinion in State v. Martin can be read HERE.

This is why we fight.

December 31, 2017
I get asked the question all the time. Why do you represent criminal defendants? Sometimes I ask myself. But this is why. I have sat in prison visiting booths with inmates serving life sentences whom I believed were innocent. I have stood side by side with guilty defendants who were better human beings than the people judging them. I have seen men plead guilty to crimes they did not commit – and face very long sentences – only to protect the people they loved. I do this because I understand that people make mistakes. I do this because I understand that more often than not our system is not fair, and probably never will be. I do this because even someone accused of the most atrocious crime needs an attorney who will fight like hell. I think if more people had the chance to see it from my side they would understand. Sometimes I wish prosecutors could spend an hour with each of my clients. They might see that some of them are innocent. They might see that some of them are guilty, but deserve to walk free nonetheless. They might start to understand that prison without rehabilitation is nothing but a waste of money and time. And what I do is not a one-way street. My clients have given back. I’ve had clients who were cheated by the system encourage me that the system can work. I’ve had people in the most desperate of situations show me the path to victory. I’ve had clients go away and come back a better person. So happy new year to all my clients, past and present. Keep up the fight, and we’ll see you next year!