Grant to aid crime vic­tims

$2.4 mil­lion in fed­eral fund­ing will ex­pand ser­vices, Mosby says

Baltimore Sun - - NEWS - By Justin Fen­ton jfen­ton@balt­ THANKS­GIV­ING CLOS­INGS

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

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