Hogan and Pugh unclear on the role of the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council

As a taxpayer who has attended more of the monthly meetings of the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council as a citizen than the mayor and governor have combined as members of this council, I can say first-hand that this body is crucial to addressing problems that continue to plague our criminal justice system. (“Baltimore criminal justice leaders ponder way forward after coordinating council's funding slashed,” Oct. 11).

Though it’s not sexy, and they hardly make headline news — until recently of course — these judges, heads of state and local agencies, along with the mayor, police commissioner and state’s attorney have consistently over the past nearly two decades continued to work tirelessly ensuring that the nuts and bolts of our justice system were held together by a coordinating body of advocates for justice equality.

These folks don’t get an extra paycheck from this, or any accolades for doing the work they do outside of their normal functions; however, they take very seriously issues such as ensuring that defendants are not held longer than necessary, that warrants are served timely and correctly on violent criminals, that transportation to and from the surrounding detention centers and jails is on time and that prisoners are available for their motion hearings and trials.

But most importantly, they work together to ensure that issues such as domestic violence are tackled by an effective and collective body of public servants ensuring that these victims are protected and receive the necessary resources to continue with their everyday lives without having to live in constant fear.

Their job is not, and has never been, to reduce violent crime. That has always been the job of the mayor and police commissioner, and to some degree the state’s attorney. Both when crime was up and people were being arrested at an alarming rate under the O’Malley administration and when crime was down under the Dixon administration, this body existed not as a political pawn but as a body of individuals ensuring that the wheels of the criminal justice system continued to churn.

Hassan Giordano, Baltimore

The writer is the Chairman of the NAACP Criminal Justice Committee and Democratic candidate for Clerk of the Circuit Court for Baltimore City.

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