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Baltimore facing ‘crisis’ as it struggles to prosecute backlog of felonies amid attorney exoduses

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Laurel Duggan, DCNF

The Baltimore state’s attorney’s office is facing widespread resignations as it struggles to prosecute the city’s massive backlog of felony cases, multiple sources reported.

The city saw a 24% decline in its number of federal prosecutors over the last three years, according to the office, The Baltimore Sun reported Monday.

“We are reaching a crisis,” said David LaBahn, president of the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys. “For somebody to have 120 active felonies, that is a crushing caseload. If that individual were to try those 120 cases, how many years would that take? That person is working in triage,” he said, according to the Sun.

The trial of Everett Washington, a Baltimore man charged with first-degree assault and a weapon charge, was transferred between prosecutors at least twice, as two different assistant state’s attorneys on the case resigned within one week, the Sun reported.

Maryland Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera suspended jury trials from November 2020 to April 2021 due to COVID-19 concerns, and there were thousands of pending felony cases when the courts reopened in April, according to the Sun.

“They need experienced trial attorneys. They have people in the homicide unit that have handled only a handful of jury trials. That is a huge problem,” said Roya Hanna, a former assistant state’s attorney in Baltimore, according to Fox 5.

Marilyn Mosby, Baltimore’s state’s attorney, officially stopped prosecuting low-level offenses, including drug possession and prostitution, in March, according to WTTW.

Mosby drew attention in March when she spent just over $1 million on two homes in Florida while her husband was under federal criminal investigation, Fox 5 reported. A tax lien was placed on the couple’s personal home, according to Fox. Mosby asked the FCC to investigate a news network affiliated with Fox for allegedly “inflammatory” and “extremely dangerous” coverage.

Mosby’s office did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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