The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Md. exoneree to get treatment bed after release from hospital

Hubert James Williams was assaulted while sleeping on a park bench in Silver Spring on Saturday.
Hubert James Williams was assaulted while sleeping on a park bench in Silver Spring on Saturday. (Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post)

Hubert James Williams, one of five wrongfully convicted Maryland men seeking compensation from the state for his time in prison, will be transferred to a substance abuse treatment program Friday after he is released from Suburban Hospital, his lawyer said.

Williams, who is homeless, was assaulted Saturday in Silver Spring. His pro bono lawyers twice asked state officials to approve a $35,000 emergency payment to help him secure stable housing and substance abuse treatment.

But the state has so far failed to do so, or to act on petitions filed by Williams and four others seeking millions in compensation. Gov. Larry Hogan (R) has said the state needs better guidelines for how to determine the amount and timing of such payments.

Williams’ lawyers said Thursday that he will be transferred to Avery Road Treatment Center in Rockville, where he will stay for up to three months at state expense.

“We are grateful that the State, especially Lieutenant Gov. Rutherford, has taken this interim step to get James off the streets and out of harm’s way pending resolution of his petition,” attorney Andrew George said.

Williams spent 11 years in prison for a murder committed by someone else. He has long struggled with mental health issues and substance abuse and said in an interview Wednesday that he knew he had to get clean to avoid “drinking myself to death.”

With an exoneree hospitalized, majority of Md. panel wants plan for payments in place by Oct. 16

Here’s how wrongfully convicted Maryland prisoners were compensated in the past

Meet the five wrongly convicted men seeking millions of dollars from Maryland

Local newsletters: Local headlines (8 a.m.) | Afternoon Buzz (4 p.m.)

Like PostLocal on Facebook | Follow @postlocal on Twitter | Latest local news