With her political challengers circling and a federal indictment looming over her, Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby held her second news conference in as many days, in an effort to tout a job well done while remaining coy on whether she will run for a third term.
Mosby, a progressive Democrat and Baltimore’s top prosecutor, released a report Wednesday examining the racial disparities for people the Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office prosecutes. She released the report a day after holding a news conference to announce a new, interactive data tool on her website and a separate report highlighting her performance as a prosecutor over the past seven years in office.
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Although both news conferences seemed focused on promoting her record ahead of this year’s Democratic primary, she dodged questions about whether she would run for reelection.
“I’m focused on running my office,” Mosby said Wednesday, flanked by supporters, including Baltimore City NAACP President Rev. Kobi Little. “The people of Baltimore City elected me to carry out my term and my term doesn’t end until 2022.”
She has until April 15 to file for reelection. Her federal trial is scheduled to begin May 2. She is charged with two counts of perjury and two counts of making false statements on loan applications in connection to her using retirement funds to purchase two Florida homes.
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The racial disparities report Mosby released Wednesday, authored by professors from the University of Maryland, examined every Circuit Court case in Baltimore City from 2017-18 and attempted to determine if race played a factor in the outcome.
“Overall, the general pattern of results does not suggest overarching or systemic patterns of racial disparity in the prosecution of Baltimore City Circuit Court cases,” the authors wrote.
That does not mean Black Baltimoreans are not disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system — Black people make up 63% of the city’s population but accounted for 88% of the Circuit Court cases the report examined.
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The report found Black defendants are more likely to have their charges reduced or dropped than white defendants and that Black defendants are less likely to accept a guilty plea. The report suggested that may be a result of over policing and over charging at the time of arrest.
Little said he broadly agreed with the report’s conclusions, and encouraged the Baltimore Police Department to take a harder look at its policing strategies.
”I don’t want a sound bite quote that says the police are arresting too many people,” Little said. “We have to address the crime and violence in our community and it needs to be in a targeted and strategic way. It’s my hope BPD will take in this report and reach the same conclusions that the state’s attorney’s office has.”
Mosby already had adopted most of the report’s suggested policy findings before publication — notably the decision to quit prosecuting people for marijuana possession and for other similar low-level offenses. The result, she said, has meant fewer people come away with criminal records for small-time crimes.
According to figures from the state’s attorney’s office, Baltimore police arrested five people for marijuana possession in 2021 and she dismissed each case.
A study by the American Civil Liberties Union estimated Black Americans are six times more likely than other people to be arrested for possession.
”What I’ve been very clear about in my approach to all of our policies is that as a state’s attorney, utilizing my discretion and my power, is that I will never be complicit in the discriminatory enforcement of laws against poor black and brown people,” Mosby said Wednesday.