Grant to aid crime victims
$2.4 million in federal funding will expand services, Mosby says
Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby gathered with mothers of homicide victims in West Baltimore on Tuesday to announce $2.4 million in grant funding to help crime victims and witnesses.
Mosby said the federal money would be used mostly to hire staff members to work more closely with crime victims and guide them through the criminal justice process. Authorities said it’s a crucial part of winning cases in court — and closing cases where an arrest has yet to be made.
“Our prosecutors are only as strong in court as the cooperation we receive from victims and witnesses of crime,” Mosby said. “We understand that cooperation is often a direct result of my office’s effort to accommodate them during the most inconvenient times of their lives.”
Other funds will go to what officials said were simple but important gestures, like validating parking for those who go downtown to meet with authorities, sprucing up a courthouse waiting room and establishing a bilingual support hotline. The money won’t be spent on witness relocation.
The grant to the Baltimore prosecutor’s office was one of the largest of 99 grants to Maryland organizations totaling $46 million announced Monday by Gov. Larry Hogan. The Governor’s Office of Crime Control & Prevention secured the money from a federal victims’ assistance fund.
Mosby has called Baltimore the “home of witness intimidation” and vowed as a candidate to fund a premier victim and witness unit by breaking the lease on the state’s attorney’s office’s downtown office space and moving staff back into the downtown courthouses.
That idea was scuttled after she took office, but Mosby said she has been pursuing grant funds more aggressively, pointing to a 27 percent increase during her tenure. This year, $6.4 million in state and federal grants will pay for 74 staff positions.
State officials promoted their efforts to secure grants. Glenn Fueston, executive director of Hogan’s crime office, said “every single eligible application was funded” this year, including $35.9 million to continue and expand projects and $10.2 million for new projects or services.
In Baltimore, families of homicide victims have long complained of little communication from homicide detectives and prosecutors. Two advocates now work in the Police Department to keep in touch with those families. Funding announced Tuesday will add two.
Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said the positions are the first of their kind in the agency’s history. “We’ll have more people that can stand in the gaps that exist all too often in the criminal justice system that define a person’s experience and really shape whether someone wants to come forward and cooperate,” he said.
Mosby said at the news conference that her office maintains a 92 percent conviction rate on felony cases.
Shortly after the event concluded, The Wall Street Journal published an article showing that the felony conviction rate for her office was 53 percent, compared with 67 percent the previous four years. The number of dropped cases also increased, from 29 percent to 43 percent.
Mosby, state’s attorney since 2015, told the Journal that her 92 percent figure referred only to cases that went to trial and did not include dropped cases. From 2008 to 2014, prosecutors won between 95 percent to 97 percent of felony cases that went to trial, the paper reported. This schedule will be in effect Thursday and Friday: Government offices Closed Thursday in all jurisdictions. On Friday, open in Baltimore City and Baltimore County, and closed in Anne Arundel, Carroll, Harford and Howard counties. Courts Closed Thursday and Friday in all jurisdictions. Public schools Closed Thursday and Friday in all jurisdictions. Libraries Closed Thursday in all jurisdictions. Harford County libraries also closed Friday. Trash Pickup scheduled for Thursday will occur Friday in Howard County, In Anne Arundel County and Annapolis, pickup scheduled for Thursday will occur Friday, and pickup scheduled for Friday will occur Saturday. No pickup in Baltimore County. Check with contractor in Carroll, Frederick and Harford counties. Parking meters Free Thursday in Baltimore City, Baltimore County and Howard County Transit MTA buses: Holiday schedule Thursday Charm City Circulator: Closed Thursday Subway (Metro): Holiday schedule Thursday Light Rail: Holiday schedule Thursday MTA commuter buses: Modified evening schedule on Wednesday. No service Thursday or Friday, except Route 201, which will operate on a weekend/holiday schedule. MARC: No service Thursday, “R” schedule Friday Mobility: Holiday schedule, all standing rides canceled MTA information services: Closed Thursday MTA Certification office: Closed Thursday and Friday MTA Transit Store: Closed Thursday Mondawmin Customer Service Center Booth: Closed Friday and Saturday Regional Transportation Agency: No service Thursday Services Banks, S&Ls: Closed Thursday, open Friday Federal offices: Closed Thursday and Friday Federal courts: Closed Thursday, open Friday Post office: No regular delivery Thursday State offices: Closed Thursday Social Security offices: Closed Thursday MVA offices: Closed Thursday. Open Friday. VEIP stations: Closed Thursday. Open Friday. Attractions American Visionary Art Museum: Closed Thursday, open Friday B&O Railroad Museum: Closed Thursday, open Friday Baltimore Museum of Art: Closed Thursday, open Friday Baltimore Museum of Industry: Closed Thursday, open Friday Fort McHenry National Monument: Closed Thursday, open Friday Historic ships in Baltimore: Closed Thursday, open Friday Maryland Historical Society: Closed Thursday, open Friday Maryland Science Center: Closed Thursday, open Friday Maryland Zoo in Baltimore: Closed Thursday, open Friday National Aquarium: Closed Thursday, open Friday Port Discovery: Closed Thursday. open Friday Reginald F. Lewis Museum: Closed Thursday, open Friday Walters Art Museum: Closed Thursday, open Friday