Gov. Larry Hogan has appointed Carroll County State's Attorney Brian DeLeonardo to the Maryland Commission on Criminal Sentencing Policy.
The appointment is the first time a state's attorney in Carroll County has received a gubernatorial appointment, according to a news release from DeLeonardo's office. He is the only member on the commission from Carroll County, according to its online member list.
The Commission on Criminal Sentencing Policy helps sets guidelines for the state in terms of sentences a person may receive for crimes committed in the state. The guidelines are set in order to help make sentencing similar in each county, although it is ultimately left to a judge's discretion, DeLeonardo said.
DeLeonardo is also the only state's attorney who sits on the commission. Other members include state legislators, judges, defense attorneys, and members of law enforcement and the public.
While the state's attorneys will have differing opinions on topics, they generally agree on what is best for public safety and law enforcement, he said.
"I really do get to speak for all of the state's attorneys on the commission," DeLeonardo said.
For DeLeonardo, the position allows him to bring attention to how sentencing reflects the injury to the victim, especially when it comes to the mental health impact of a crime.
Sentencing recommendations from prosecutors are done by scoring a victim's injuries. It is easier to score a physical injury, such as a scar or bruise from an assault, than it is to score a mental injury, like post-traumatic stress disorder from sexual assault, DeLeonardo said.
"I think it's something we need to improve on," he said. "It's something we need to spend a little more time on."
His familiarity with abuse and sex crimes, as well as the creation of the Special Victims Unit in the Carroll County State's Attorney's Office under his leadership gives him experience and knowledge needed to help create better sentencing guidelines, he said.