Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby revealed a slate of new hires Wednesday as part of an office restructuring that she said will beef up intelligence gathering and improve relations with the community.
The changes were announced during a brief meeting with more than 300 employees Wednesday morning at police headquarters. Mosby said the new office structure was based in part on ideas from prosecutors' offices in New York, Los Angeles and Atlanta.
Among the new leadership is Deputy State's Attorney Janice Bledsoe, a longtime defense attorney who briefly worked as a police misconduct prosecutor under previous State's Attorney Gregg L. Bernstein. Bledsoe will oversee a new division of "criminal intelligence."
She'll oversee several units, including Criminal Strategies, led by former Baltimore police Detective Joshua Rosenblatt, who will collaborate with police to provide prosecutors with more information on defendants and help target problem individuals in different communities, Mosby said.
The unit is modeled after the Crime Strategies Unit of the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, which Mosby and other staff visited. Rosenblatt said a major goal of the unit is to piece together information that will better inform prosecutors and judges about the scope of a crime's or criminal's impact.
"Some of the criminal offenders have relied upon the fact that they are one of many criminal cases, and they are hoping they get lost in the system," Rosenblatt said in an interview. "My job is to make sure they do not fall through the cracks — that the prosecutor has the street intel, the story of who that person is, the issues that community is facing, and can put the individual and the crime in context."
Rosenblatt was an assistant state's attorney before joining the Police Department in 2009.
As a defense attorney, Bledsoe's firm was representing defendants in several high-profile cases, including the shooting of Baltimore police Sgt. Keith Mcneill, the killing of Kim Leto in Highlandtown, and the third trial in a 2003 murder case overturned by the Court of Appeals. Bledsoe said she will not be involved in those prosecutions.
Agency veteran Tony Gioia was promoted to deputy state's attorney and will head the major crimes units, which include homicide and special victims units.
The homicide unit will continue to be led by veteran Donald Giblin. Mosby recruited former Anne Arundel County State's Attorney Ann Leitess, who lost to her Republican challenger in November, to lead the special victims unit, which investigates sex crimes and family violence.
The former head of the special victims unit, Lisa Phelps, was reassigned to lead training efforts.
The "major investigations unit," a Bernstein creation that takes on complex cases including those that involve wiretaps, will be led by former Special U.S. Attorney Gerald Collins, who worked for the U.S. attorney general's office.
Mosby criticized Bernstein during the campaign for eliminating community liaison positions, and on Wednesday announced plans to revive that program. She said the unit will be staffed with three new positions, which will push for court watch programs that help keep residents abreast of developments in cases that are important to their neighborhood.
"It is our voice in the community," Mosby said.
A unit of policy and legislative affairs will be headed by Lisa Smith, who had previously served as director of legislation for the Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention, which distributes federal and state grants to law enforcement agencies across the state. The director of the GOCCP, Tammy Brown, was previously announced as Mosby's director of external affairs.
Smith said the policy and legislative affairs postion is new to the state's attorney's office and will have "statewide impact."
The announcement of the new organizational structure came on the heels of several dismissals of some frontline prosecutors and other staff.
On Tuesday night, Cristie Cole, a data analyst for the office who said she was fired last week, sent an agency-wide email criticizing Mosby's decisions and questioning whether they were politically motivated or agenda-driven.
Mosby declined to comment on the dismissals, calling them personnel matters, and said she wouldn't comment on what she said was an email sent by a "disgruntled former employee."
Among positions that remain unfilled under the new structure is the head of the public trust and accountability unit, which is one of six leadership positions that Mosby said she hopes to hire for internally.
Mosby said she expected to have a full staff in place by Jan. 26.