Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby said Thursday that Gov. Larry Hogan’s idea to increase funding for more city-focused prosecutors in the office of the Maryland attorney general was “problematic” given the potential for overlap between the crime-fighting efforts of city and state lawyers, and should be removed from the governor’s proposed budget.
“That’s something that we’re going to have to work out, because I think that it’s problematic, to be quite candid with you, to have two local prosecutor’s offices essentially prosecuting the same types of crimes,” Mosby said.
“That’s something that … hopefully will be removed from the governor’s budget at some point," she said.
Hogan is a Republican. Mosby and state Attorney General Brian Frosh are Democrats.
Hogan announced Wednesday that he would put enough money in his next budget to pay for 25 employees — lawyers and support staff — in Frosh’s office so it can handle more criminal cases in the city amid staggering violence. Mosby’s office also would receive $1.9 million more for gun violence prosecutions under Hogan’s plan.
The city is in its fifth year of more than 300 homicides. Before 2015, it hadn’t seen 300 or more homicides in a single year since the 1990s.
Hogan issued an executive order in September directing Frosh to prosecute more crimes in Baltimore, as part of a strategy to attack the violence. Frosh responded that he would need more funding to do so. He currently has eight prosecutors who work on violent crime cases.
After Hogan’s remarks, Mosby issued a statement Wednesday that said, in part, “If we are going to see a safer city and make progress on reducing the level of crime in Baltimore, all vested partners must work together and dismantle the silos and protracted bureaucracy that stifles collaboration and creativity.”
On Thursday afternoon, Mosby said she talked with Hogan earlier in the day about “deconfliction of cases” — a legal phrase used to describe two different law enforcement or prosecutorial agencies sharing information around cases to prevent getting in each other’s way, accidentally disrupting each other’s cases or duplicating efforts. Such coordination is routine between offices of local prosecutors and others, such as that of the U.S. attorney.
Mosby discussed her views at a news conference downtown on new charges being filed against a Baltimore Police sergeant related to his alleged harassment and intimidation of bystanders.
Asked if she wanted the money in Hogan’s budget to instead be put toward more prosecutors in her office, Mosby ended the news conference without answering.
Kata Hall, a spokeswoman for Hogan, said in a statement that it was “bizarre and disappointing” that Mosby was criticizing additional money being committed to bring criminals to justice.
“The governor’s goal is to have city, state and federal prosecutors all working together to prosecute and convict more violent criminals, and he is moving forward with his plan,” Hall said.
In a statement later Thursday, Mosby said she appreciated the chance to talk with Hogan about her concerns.
“While we agree on a number of fronts, I was clear that I was disappointed to learn of his plans for addressing crime in Baltimore City through media reports...," she said in the statement. “I believe that we get more done when we work collaboratively and cooperatively... I am hopeful that we will continue to discuss his strategies and how we can work together during this legislative session and day-to-day in the city to make our communities safer."
Raquel Coombs, a spokeswoman for Frosh, said Thursday that “additional prosecutors is only one part of an overall crime reduction strategy, and we look forward to continue working with State’s Attorney Mosby, as we have in the past.”
The new money being proposed by Hogan, if approved by the General Assembly, would reach the attorney general starting next July, which is the beginning of the state’s next budget year.
There had been 323 homicides in Baltimore as of Thursday evening, compared to 294 at the same time last year. There had been 732 nonfatal shootings, compared to 635 at the same time last year.