Legal Memorandum: Revisory Power over a Prisoner's Sentence

Issue: Does the Circuit Court in Maryland have revisory power over a prisoner’s sentence twenty-five years after it was imposed?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Revisory power; Prisoner's sentence
Jurisdiction: Maryland
Cited Cases: 635 A.2d 97; 536 A.2d 1166; 347 Md. 423; 868 A.2d 895; 701 A.2d 419; 583 A.2d 731; 99 Md. App. 100; 74 Md. App. 151; 749 A.2d 237; 321 Md. 558
Cited Statutes: Criminal Procedure Article, § 11-104; Criminal Procedure Article, § 11-503
Date: 06/01/2008

In Maryland, a court’s authority to modify a defendant’s sentence is governed by Maryland Rule 4-345.  Rule 4-345 has undergone several revisions throughout the years and was significantly revised in 2004.  The current Rule provides:


(a)                 Illegal Sentence

The court may correct an illegal sentence at any time.

(b)                Fraud, Mistake, or Irregularity

The court has revisory power over a sentence in case of fraud, mistake, or irregularity.

(c)                 Correction of Mistake in Announcement

The court may correct an evident mistake in the announcement of a sentence if the correction is made on the record before the defendant leaves the courtroom following the sentencing proceeding.

(d)                Desertion and Non-support Cases

At any time before expiration of the sentence in a case involving desertion and non-support of spouse, children, or destitute parents, the court may modify, reduce, or vacate the sentence or place the defendant on probation under the terms and conditions the court imposes.

(e)                 Modification Upon Motion

(1)                Generally


Upon a motion filed within 90 days after imposition of a sentence (A) in the District Court, if an appeal has not been perfected or has been dismissed, and (B) in a circuit court, whether or […]


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