“Keeping Marylanders safe is my responsibility, and I’m going to keep providing the City with all the state and federal assistance and backup we possibly can in order to attack this violent crime crisis from all directions with everything we’ve got,” Governor Larry Hogan told reporters at a press conference Wednesday Dec. 11. “But I’m also going to keep holding City leaders accountable.”
Gov. Hogan introduced four initiatives to combat the homicide rate in Baltimore City. This follows the request from Frosh for more prosecutors and funding.
More Prosecutors for Attorney General
Hogan’s office will fund 25 new prosecutors and support staff for the Attorney General to prosecute violent crimes, Hogan announced at a press conference. In September, Governor Hogan had directed the Attorney General’s Office to prosecute violent crimes. Governor Hogan announced today that the forthcoming Fiscal Year 2021 budget will fund 25 new positions in the Attorney General’s Office for this to be done.
New Juvenile Crime Strategy
The Maryland Department of Juvenile Services and Baltimore City leaders have formed a strategic partnership to curb youth violence in Baltimore City. The Department of Juvenile Services will align case management resources with Baltimore City police districts to create a better service delivery model. The collaboration should also encourage youth accountability, to intervene and provide services and supervision.
$21 Million for Baltimore City
Hogan’s office commits to funding Baltimore City’s crime-fighting efforts, including $9.2 million for community policing efforts; $4.6 million for the Baltimore Police Department’s records management system, lab information management system, and license plate reader technology; $2.4 million for the new location of the Baltimore Police Academy; and $1.9 million for the State’s Attorney’s Office for gun violence prosecution.
Increase Sentences for Violent Gun Offenders
To strengthen consequences, at the 2020 legislative sessions, Hogan will introduce the Violent Firearm Offenders Act. Penalties would increase for: (1) those who repeatedly, illegally carry firearms, (2) those who illegally transfer guns to people they know intend to use them in a crime; and (3) those who steal firearms, possess stolen firearms, or engage in straw purchasing.
To increase accountability, Hogan will also re-introduce the Judicial Transparency Act which requires the Maryland State Commission on Criminal Sentencing Policy to publish sentencing records of judges in violent crime cases.
To prevent witness intimidation, Hogan will introduce the Witness Intimidation Prevention Act to penalize physical injury or death from witness intimidation. It aims to expand the courts’ ability to admit statements made by intimidated witnesses under certain circumstances. Hogan plans to “prioritize victims and make restitution payments mandatory.”