ANNAPOLIS, Maryland (WJZ) – Citing a wave of violent crime in the city of Baltimore, Gov. Larry Hogan on Tuesday announced a review of public funds provided to the Baltimore city attorney’s office, emergency legislation to toughen criminal penalties and funding for community safety.
Hogan’s announcement comes after Baltimore surpassed 300 homicides for the seventh year in a row. A spate of homicides have rocked the city over the past 10 days, including the murder of a barber, a church worker, a 5-year-old girl and a 13-year-old girl.
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“The people of Baltimore are suffering,” Hogan said. “They are afraid and they are looking for answers. They want to know why this bloodshed keeps happening and what it will take for something to finally change. This horrific violence is tearing Baltimore City apart, and that’s enough. “
The governor pointed out that the state attorney’s office, Marilyn Mosby, was part of the problem for not prosecuting certain crimes. He asked the Bureau of Crime Prevention, Youth and Victim Services to do a top-down review of funding for his office.
All state funding will remain on hold and under review until Mosby’s office provides complete data on how many cases they have chosen not to prosecute and why, the number of cases. pleaded for lesser charges; and the number of violent offenders who are given plea deals.
“As I have said many times, we also need a prosecutor who will actually prosecute violent criminals,” Hogan said. “Maryland taxpayers deserve to know that the millions of dollars in funding the state provides each year are used to prosecute criminals and keep them off the streets.”
On Tuesday afternoon, State Attorney Marilyn Mosby hit back at the governor. The state attorney said the governor already had access to the information he needed.
At an afternoon press conference, State Attorney Mosby said that “if the governor had put aside his philosophical differences and chosen to meet, or even talk to me, I would have been happy to show him the data which he now subordinates to the funding of my office. . In fact, much of the information the governor is looking for is already posted on my website. “
The state prosecutor said her prosecutors are working hard to reduce crime and that she personally knows families who have been affected by crimes.
“My prosecutors take violent crime seriously, and so do I. I met the devastated girl whose mother was killed in a church last week, and today I’m going to meet the parents of the 13-year-old girl, who was a part of my “high expectations” program, who was murdered. For the governor to put on a show today and exploit the very real pain of the people of our city, as part of his political coup, is shameful and unacceptable. “
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As part of a larger announcement, Governor Hogan said he would introduce two emergency laws in a special session to introduce tougher sentences for gun violence and transparency for judges handing down sentences for violent crime.
The Firearms Violent Offenders Act will toughen penalties for violent offenders who commit crimes with firearms. The Judicial Transparency Act will require the State of Maryland Commission on Criminal Sentencing to follow and publish information on sentences handed down by judges for all violent crimes.
The governor pushed for similar measures two years ago.
Hogan also accelerated $ 10 million in neighborhood safety grants to support lighting, cameras, hardware upgrades and increased security services for community organizations, business districts, main streets. and neighborhoods. He announced an extension of eligibility for grants to places of worship and vulnerable communities.
Mayor Brandon Scott and Maryland Senate Speaker Bill Ferguson said Thursday they wanted to see cooperation rather than what Ferguson called “performative politics” from the governor.
Mayor Scott offered to restart the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, of which Hogan and Mosby were a part. Hogan withdrew state funding from the council in 2017 because he said the group was ineffective and not focused on reducing the problem of violent crime in the city.
The mayor first proposed to restart the council in March.
“It will happen in a constructive way where we talk about how we can rebuild systems and fix systems,” Scott said. “Because the reality is, as I said before, and when I told the governor and state attorney asking them to come back to the table for CJCC, it’s that every part of our justice and public safety system has responsibility for things that need to be fixed.
Senator Ferguson said Hogan did not need to wait for a special session to help Baltimore.
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“The governor can act long before the Maryland General Assembly resumes and he must do it,” Ferguson said. “The people of Maryland need immediate solutions, such as increased coordination between state and local agencies, a strengthened division of parole and probation that anticipates the direct correlation between being a victim of violence and a perpetrator. violence, and strategies that recognize poverty shape outcomes. “