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Office of the State’s Attorney for Baltimore City

Patricia C. Jessamy, State’s Attorney


2010 Legislative Session

Fiscal Priorities
Gun Violence Prosecution
In FY’2010 Governor Martin O’Malley and the General Assembly appropriated $1.959 million in the State budget
to fund gun and homicide prosecutors in the Office of the State’s Attorney for Baltimore City.
These funds are critically important to public safety and provide essential funding for prosecutors to aggressively
prosecute violent gun crime relating to homicides, non-fatal shootings and illegal possession of firearms.

The Office of the State’s Attorney for Baltimore City (OSA) seeks level funding for fiscal year 2011.
War Room Initiative
The War Room Initiative is collaboration between the SAO, the Public Defender’s Office, and Parole and
Probation. Its main goal is to quickly identify newly arrested offenders who enter the Baltimore Central Booking
Intake Facility (CBIF), have a history of violence, and are currently on parole or probation. Once identified, these
cases are then recommended for accelerated violation of probation proceedings, higher bails, and enhanced
prosecution efforts.

In FY’ 2010 the General Assembly appropriated a total of $ 725,833 to fund the War Room initiative at (CBIF),
and the SAO received $584,682. However, due to cost of living pay increases, salary adjustments, and other
necessary expenditures an additional $ 207,652 in federal funds was needed to fully fund the SAO’s portion of the
initiative.

The SAO will seek level funding for FY’ 2011.

Legislative Priorities
Gangs
It has been over two years since the Maryland Gang Prosecution Act of 2007 was enacted. Unfortunately, the bill
that passed, which was not the original version drafted by the Maryland State’s Attorney’s Association and
supported by law enforcement, has proven difficult to use, and does not allow law enforcement to efficiently
identify, investigate, and prosecute criminal gang activity. Without revisions to the 2007 statute, gangs will
continue to proliferate throughout Maryland.

In an effort to amend Maryland’s current gang statute, a multi-disciplinary group consisting of prosecutors, law
enforcement and other agencies has developed a legislative proposal to:
 Reduce ambiguous language,

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110 North Calvert Street, Room 210, Clarence Mitchell Courthouse
Baltimore, Maryland 21202 Phone: (410) 396-4001
Office of the State’s Attorney for Baltimore City
2010 Legislative Session
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 Establish a statewide validation criteria for active gang members that uses neutral rating criteria , therefore
eliminating the possibility of validating gang members solely on race, ethnicity, residency, or style of dress,
and
 Add additional underlying crimes to the range of offenses that an active criminal gang member must
commit in order to be charged under the gang statute.

The OSA also will support additional legislation that will strengthen the current law, provide an avenue to share
gang-related information Statewide, and coordinate statewide gang prevention, intervention, and suppression efforts
and strategies.
Actual Innocence
During the Maryland legislative session of 2009 the General Assembly unanimously passed the Petition for Writ of
Actual Innocence - Newly Discovered Evidence bill. Although this bill was originally intended to provide innocent
persons that are wrongfully convicted the opportunity to file a petition where newly discovered evidence has
emerged, it unfortunately created several loopholes that allow all offenders to access this newly enacted post
conviction proceeding. As a result of the bill’s passing, and despite reservations noted by all 24 prosecutors in
Maryland, a myriad of post conviction relief issues has surfaced and the new legislation did more harm than good.

The legislation, which took effect on October 1, 2009, has several flaws including:
* Allowing any petitioner to file a petition without asserting under oath and subject to the penalties of perjury that
he did not commit the crime; requiring no limits on the types of cases or limits of time for which a petition can
filed; and allowing a petitioner to be re-sentenced, which is contradictory to the goal of the bill known as “Actual
Innocence”.

The OSA is working in conjunction with the Maryland State’s Attorney’s Association, at the direction of Howard
County’s State’s Attorney, Dario Broccolino, to submit legislation during the 2010 session which will ensure the
Petition for Writ of Actual Innocence - Newly Discovered Evidence statute continues to protect the innocent while
limiting eliminating areas of potential abuse.
Guns
Since 1995, State’s Attorney Jessamy has been working with legislators, city officials, and citizens to reduce gun
violence. Mrs. Jessamy was a leader and supporter or the Gun Safety Act of 2000 that strengthened laws and
sentencing for convicted felons who possessed regulated firearms, and expanded the law to include persons
convicted of a felony narcotics charge.

The OSA will support proposed legislative changes to the Gun Safety Responsibility Act of 2000 that will include
changing the minimum/maximum, mandatory penalties for a prohibited person charged under Public Safety 5-133
or felon in possession of a firearm, strengthen the penalty section for prohibited possession of ammunition and
expand the definition of regulated firearms to include rifles and long guns.
DUI / DWI
Each year many fatal accidents occur in Maryland at the hands of a drunk or drugged driver, and hundreds are
convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Although the Maryland General Assembly has passed
legislation aimed at punishing those found guilty of drunk and drugged driving, several loopholes still exist.

The OSA plans to support legislative changes that will increase penalties for repeat offenders, and make it more
difficult for those convicted and under probation to operate a vehicle while intoxicated.
____________________________________________________________________
110 North Calvert Street, Room 210, Clarence Mitchell Courthouse
Baltimore, Maryland 21202 Phone: (410) 396-4001