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Baltimore Prosecutor Faced With Departures, Large Caseloads

An already-concerning exodus of prosecutors in the Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office has been compounding in recent months, with departures accelerating, caseloads expanding and inexperienced attorneys being placed in crucial roles that in previous years would be held by more seasoned litigators, reports the Baltimore Banner. On its website, the State's Attorney's Office says it has more than 200 prosecutors. In fact, the office will soon be down to fewer than 135. Before the agency's budget hearing, a spokeswoman said the office was working to count the number of prosecutors on staff. When City Councilman Eric Costello learned of the issue, he asked for the number of budgeted positions and vacancies. The prosecutor's portion of the city budget is expected to rise 13 percent from two years ago.

Officials in the State’s Attorney’s Office have acknowledged that they’ve struggled to compete with higher pay and lighter caseloads in surrounding counties and private practice. The workload for prosecutors has been exacerbated by the backlog of criminal cases that developed when the courts closed during the coronavirus pandemic. Current and former prosecutors said the issue is more complex than that, complaining that the caseload and trial schedule is not sustainable. As a result, prosecutors are unable to properly prepare for cases and keep victims apprised of the progress of cases. Some say more deals are being cut, "to make [a case] go away." "This is where it becomes a public safety issue," one former prosecutor said. Other former prosecutors said the level of experience in the office has sunk to an alarming level and the continued departures have been compounding the problems. In the budget hearing on June 6, state's attorney Marilyn Mosby said the office has 144 filled attorney positions and 48 vacancies.


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