Defense attorney Bates forms campaign committee for Baltimore State's Attorney

Defense attorney Ivan J. Bates said in an email to supporters Wednesday that he is considering a run for Baltimore State's Attorney and has formed a candidate committee.

Bates, 48, is a former city prosecutor who tried homicides and has been a defense attorney for the past 15 years, including representing one of the officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray. Campaign finance records show Bates filed paperwork necessary to raise money earlier this week.

"I definitely think I've heard from a lot of people that we need to have change," Bates said in an interview Thursday. "Right now I'm just exploring that opportunity, to sit down and talk to the voters, to make sure that I'm the individual that the community wants to be that change agent."

Bates' announcement comes as incumbent State's Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby is set to hold a fundraiser Thursday night at the Ritz Carlton Estates in Federal Hill. The event is billed as a reception honoring Mosby with special guest U.S. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings.

Among the supporters for the event listed at the top of a flier are attorney William H. "Billy" Murphy Jr., the attorney who represented Gray's family after his death, former State's Attorney Stuart O. Simms, and former Rep. Kweisi Mfume.

"She's been a passionate advocate for victims, and equally as enthusiastic in terms of her crime-fighting," Simms said. "I supported her in the general election last time, and will continue to do so."

Mosby raised about $23,000 in the year preceding the most recent campaign finance reporting period that ended in January. She had about $28,080 cash on hand.

If Bates enters the race, he will join attorney Chad Curlett in facing off against Mosby in the Democratic primary election in June 2018. Curlett confirmed earlier this year his intention to run.

Bates said he moved back to Baltimore earlier this year, and records show he resides in Locust Point. In his email to supporters, he cited the city's record-high murder rate and a "severe erosion of trust when it comes to relations between our communities and the criminal justice system."

"As a defense attorney and a former prosecutor, with decades of experience in the courtroom, I see the impacts of this crime every day in our city. It is standing in the way of progress," Bates said. "I, for one, have had enough."

Bates represented Baltimore Police Sgt. Alicia White, who was charged with manslaughter in Gray's death. White's case was dropped by Mosby's office before going to trial following a mistrial and three acquittals in other officers' cases.

Bates' campaign treasurer is listed as veteran defense attorney Catherine Flynn, who represented another officer charged in Gray's death, Garrett Miller.

jfenton@baltsun.com

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