Arguing that Baltimore prosecutors are too quick to drop cases, Gov. Larry Hogan said Wednesday that he was directing Attorney General Brian Frosh to step in and prosecute more crimes in the city.
In a letter to Frosh, Hogan said he was directing the attorney general’s office to prosecute more violent crimes, gun crimes and organized crime in Baltimore as a way to try to get longer sentences for offenders.
The governor blamed city prosecutors who drop cases and reach “excessively lenient plea deals.”
“Far too often in Baltimore city, violent offenders get a slap on the wrist and are released back out on the streets to commit another violent offense,” wrote Hogan, a Republican, to Frosh, a Democrat.
Hogan sent the letter to Frosh as he toured the UMAR Boxing Academy on North Avenue in West Baltimore. “This is not about mass incarceration," Hogan told reporters. "This about taking the worst most violent criminals who are repeatedly shooting people over and over again and getting them out of the neighborhoods.”
In response, Frosh said he has a unit of eight lawyers who are focused on prosecuting crime. Frosh said he could do much more if Hogan would fund more prosecutor positions in his office.
“We have been hard at work on the crime problem in Baltimore,” Frosh said. “We are willing to work with the governor and the state’s attorney to do more, but we’re going to need a lot more resources.”
Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby, a Democrat who oversees city prosecutors, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Hogan noted that Frosh’s office already prosecutes some crimes in the city, but the governor said it could do more. He specifically asked Frosh to prosecute criminal cases from upcoming “warrant initiatives" the Maryland State Police have planned to target violent offenders in Baltimore.
The governor said he has asked state police to “dramatically increase the execution of high priority warrants for violent offenders.”
Hogan’s letter did not come with more state resources to prosecute more cases.
Baltimore has suffered from four consecutive years of more than 300 homicides annually. The last time Baltimore had fewer than 200 homicides was 2011, when Hogan’s predecessor, Martin O’Malley, was governor and Stephanie Rawlings-Blake was mayor.