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Hogan appoints former Freddie Gray case prosecutor as judge

Lisa Phelps, a 15-year veteran prosecutor who led the state's attorney's office's training division, quit on Friday. (Emma Patti Harris/Baltimore Sun video)

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan appointed to the bench Monday a former Baltimore city prosecutor who recently made headlines for quitting her job after raising objections to the continued prosecution of officers charged in the Freddie Gray case.

Hogan appointed former prosecutor Lisa Phelps as a Baltimore County District Court judge on Monday, filling one of two vacancies on the court.

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Phelps was one 18 potential judges recommended to the governor by the judicial nominating commission for Baltimore County. Hogan also appointed Keith Pion, a prosecutor in Baltimore County, to the Baltimore County District Court.

Hogan, a Republican, praised Phelps and Pion as "the most qualified candidates" for the jobs.

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"Their legal experience and expertise have prepared them well to be strong advocates for the law and the people of Baltimore County," Hogan said in a statement.

Until late July, Phelps had been an assistant state's attorney in Baltimore since 2001. She resigned days after State's Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby dropped the charges against three of the six officers charged in the arrest and death of Gray, whose death from injuries sustained in police custody sparked unrest and protests in Baltimore last year.

By then, three of the officers had been acquitted by a judge. The trial of a fourth had ended in a hung jury.

In May, Phelps had been assigned to prosecute two of the three outstanding cases. Sources close to Phelps told The Baltimore Sun she had raised concerns over whether one of the cases should move forward.

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Phelps' long career in Baltimore focused chiefly on prosecuting homicide cases. In 2012, she became chief of the special victims unit. In 2015, newly elected Mosby appointed Phelps as head of training.

In a memo announcing Phelps' departure this summer, Mosby praised her "storied" career. The state's attorney's office declined at the time to discuss Phelps' resignation, as did Phelps, who also did not respond to requests for comment Monday.

She earned her law degree from the University of Baltimore School of Law.

Pion has been chief of the Baltimore County state's attorney's juvenile crimes division since 2015. He graduated from the Catholic University of America.

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