My policy platform brings an aggressive, pragmatic and transformative approach to reforming the criminal justice system in Baltimore. This platform addresses the justice system's most immediate areas of concern: violent repeat offenders, restoring public trust, and protecting vulnerable populations.
When I assume office as the next State's Attorney for Baltimore City, I will bring more Circuit Court trial experience than the current State's Attorney or any of his deputies. I am a career prosecutor with an 83% conviction rate. Previously I clerked in the U.S. Attorney's Office in Boston and Washington, D.C., and the Homicide Division of the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office. As a prosecutor, I have tried and convicted some of the most dangerous criminals in the state. As the daughter and grand-daughter of police officers, and a witness to the murder of a close family member in front of my home, I am dedicated to the goals of public safety and public service.
The traditional approach to crime fighting in Baltimore City has failed. The ACLU recently released a report showing that Maryland (particularly Baltimore City) is locking up individuals for drug possession at alarming rates, a convicted sex offender has escaped conviction in four consecutive rape cases, and murders have sharply increased to 235 murders, as Bernstein cherry picks his cases and charges less frequently than his predecessor. As a result, the public has lost confidence in the criminal justice system.
I am very disappointed and frustrated with the performance of our current State's Attorney. We can do so much better, and I know how to do it.
My platform addresses the criminal justice system's most immediate areas of need. Upon assuming office I will do the following:
Protect women and children who are the victims of sexual predators.The most galling example of Gregg Bernstein's failure to address this issue is the case of Nelson Clifford. Nelson Clifford is a registered sex offender, a serial rapist, who targeted women in Baltimore. He broke into five different homes, raped five women at knifepoint, and left his DNA at all five of the crime scenes. Bernstein's office has tried four of those cases, and lost all four! He excused this failure by telling the press that "these crimes are very, very difficult to prosecute".
While I believe that an effective State's Attorney's Office may well have succeeded where he failed, I decided to go the extra mile. I drafted and secured sponsorship for legislation which would bring Maryland law into compliance with Federal Rules of Evidence. A Federal Rule, which is used in all federal courts, Washington DC, and in a number of states, would have made it easier to introduce evidence against serial rapists and child molesters. I called upon the current State's Attorney to support this bill. He refused. Instead, after I issued my challenge, he quietly drafted a bill which purported to address the issue, but actually imposed additional, unnecessary burdens on victims of sexual assault who agree to testify in cases involving subsequent sex crimes. Neither bill passed. But the question remains: why should Maryland victims of sexual assault and molestation have a tougher time obtaining justice and protection than similar victims in Washington DC? As a mother of two young girls, I will continue to fight for justice for these victims.
Create a premiere Victim/Witness Services Division. In a city where the phrase "stop snitching" began, there has been a history of distrust between law enforcement and the community. This is the reason it can be difficult to get witnesses to testify and jurors to convict. We have to build sturdy bridges between law enforcement and the communities in Baltimore City. Our current State's Attorney claims to have a "community prosecution" model, but in fact he fired the nine community coordinators, who provided outreach, and assigned three prosecutors with court duties, the title of "community prosecutor". During a structural deficit, when we're closing schools and recreation centers, the current State's Attorney is using taxpayer funds to pay for fancy office space for himself and higher level staff in a luxury office building downtown. What is left of the old Victim/Witness Unit is still located in the Courthouse with the witnesses, judges and juries. Within 60 days of my election I will begin looking for ways to terminate the lease on the luxury office building, and convert that money to a model Victim/Witness Services Division, which will be the start of that sturdy bridge to the communities in Baltimore.
Four years ago, Gregg Bernstein promised to make Baltimore safer. He has failed miserably. Our courts and jails are jammed with drug users, while violent criminals are sent back to our neighborhoods every day – more violent and less likely to turn their lives around.
I can no longer accept the apathy, the statistics padding, and the lack of genuine community engagement. I am a wife, a mother of two young daughters, and a resident of West Baltimore. I see what crime is doing to our City everyday and we need a change.
For better or worse, I will hold myself accessible and accountable to the citizens of Baltimore.
Marilyn Mosby, Esq.