For­mer Gray case pros­e­cu­tor is named to Bal­ti­more County bench

Phelps quit af­ter ob­ject­ing to pur­su­ing of­fi­cers’ tri­als

Baltimore Sun - - NEWS - By Erin Cox ecox@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/Eri­natTheSun

Mary­land Gov. Larry Hogan ap­pointed to the bench Mon­day a for­mer Bal­ti­more city pros­e­cu­tor who re­cently made head­lines for quit­ting her job af­ter rais­ing ob­jec­tions to the con­tin­ued pros­e­cu­tion of of­fi­cers charged in the Fred­die Gray case.

Hogan ap­pointed for­mer pros­e­cu­tor Lisa Phelps as a Bal­ti­more County Dis­trict Court judge on Mon­day, fill­ing one of two va­can­cies on the court.

Phelps was one of 18 po­ten­tial judges rec­om­mended to the gov­er­nor by the ju­di­cial nom­i­nat­ing com­mis­sion for Bal­ti­more County. Hogan also ap­pointed Keith Pion, a pros­e­cu­tor in Bal­ti­more County, to the Bal­ti­more County Dis­trict Court.

Hogan, a Repub­li­can, praised Phelps and Pion as “the most qual­i­fied can­di­dates” for the jobs.

“Their le­gal ex­pe­ri­ence and ex­per­tise have pre­pared them well to be strong ad­vo­cates for the law and the peo­ple of Bal­ti­more County,” Hogan said in a state­ment.

Un­til late July, Phelps had been an as­sis­tant state’s at­tor­ney in Bal­ti­more since 2001. She re­signed days af­ter State’s At­tor­ney Mar­i­lyn J. Mosby dropped the charges against three of the six of­fi­cers charged in the ar­rest and death of Gray, whose death from in­juries sus­tained in po­lice cus­tody sparked un­rest and protests in Bal­ti­more last year.

By then, three of the of­fi­cers had been ac­quit­ted by a judge. The trial of a fourth had ended in a hung jury.

In May, Phelps had been as­signed to pros­e­cute two of the three out­stand­ing cases. Sources close to Phelps told The Bal­ti­more Sun she had raised con­cerns over whether one of the cases should move for­ward.

Phelps’ long ca­reer in Bal­ti­more fo­cused chiefly on pros­e­cut­ing homi­cide cases. In 2012, she be­came chief of the spe­cial vic­tims unit. In 2015, newly elected Mosby ap­pointed Phelps as head of train­ing.

In a memo an­nounc­ing Phelps’ de­par­ture this sum­mer, Mosby praised her “sto­ried” ca­reer. The state’s at­tor­ney’s of­fice de­clined at the time to dis­cuss Phelps’ res­ig­na­tion, as did Phelps, who also did not re­spond to re­quests for com­ment Mon­day.

She earned her law de­gree from the Uni­ver­sity of Bal­ti­more School of Law.

Pion has been chief of the Bal­ti­more County state’s at­tor­ney’s ju­ve­nile crimes di­vi­sion since 2015.

He grad­u­ated from the Catholic Uni­ver­sity of Amer­ica.

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