Many State’s Attorneys and District Attorneys fashion themselves as either an “Old School” or “Progressive” prosecutor. To me, seeking justice for all doesn’t fit squarely in a box. My staff and I continue to simply think of new ways to do old things. Our oath and obligation to do justice has not changed. It means to promote public safety and foster a sense of security in our community by holding people accountable for violating the law and pursuing justice in a fair, honest, efficient and ethical manner. But sometimes crime-fighting needs to innovate to be successful.
Here’s just some of the things we are doing…and doing well.
Combating Drug Violence and Addiction
As a long time Board member of the Frederick Rescue Mission, I recognize the need to address addiction in our community. I lost a sister to heroin addiction and recognize the devastating effect of drugs on our children, and especially on their parents and family. Heroin is a plague on our community.
Heroin dealers must be dealt with harshly, but many addicts need rehabilitation. Jail alone is not the answer. I have expanded our very successful Drug Court Treatment Program and will continue to be a community leader against this plague on our community.
Part of the answer is addressing the mental health needs of offenders. There is a need for a Mental Health diversion to supplement our Drug Court.
As a member of the Maryland State’s Attorney’s Association Legislative Committee and a board member of the National District Attorney’s Association, I have been able to advocate for the following:
- National Legislation: Electronic Communications & Encryption, Victims’ Rights, Data Sharing, Funding Goals, Drug Policy
- State Legislation: Successful advocacy of both the Strangulation Bill and Sexual Solicitation Bill
Advocating For Pro-public Safety State And National Legislation
Professional and Efficient Prosecution
I strive to make this Office as professional as possible, especially by hiring talented staff. Prosecutors must be in the courtroom demanding justice. Political hires and under-performance have never been acceptable to my Office or the citizens of Frederick.
I envision my Office to be the model for professional, efficient, and accountable prosecution through the use of technology. We have long ago implemented a digital Case Management System, and achieved a “paperless” office well before it was ever mandated by our Courts. We continue to strive toward transparency through the use of data. I believe in holding others accountable, and should be held to that same standard by the public. Further, I truly believe that data will change the narrative that we as prosecutors are all about our wins and losses, or “batting average”, in our cases. Transparent data will show that we care about justice while recognizing that some deserve a degree of mercy. Good people sometimes make bad decisions. Our focus is on bad people making harmful, bad decisions. We incarcerate those who need incarceration. We divert, rehabilitate or show mercy to those who don’t.
- Established a Mental Health Court to reduce recidivism among that population
- Formed partnerships/MOUs with community organizations such as the Phoenix Foundation, a recovery high school.
- Implemented a Juvenile police diversion program (JEDI) that began in January 2021—handling a solid 1/3 of the number of cases the Department of Juvenile Services handled in 2020 with a staff of 3 people.
- Maintained and improved our Youthful Offender Program, one of the few programs offered live, in-person services during the COVID pandemic.
- Created a Juvenile Sexting and Child Pornography Education Program
- Began the Truancy Reduction Council
Leveraging The Power Of Innovative Community Programs
Aggressively Prosecuting Domestic Violence, Human Trafficking, And Internet Crimes Against Children
We have successfully utilized task forces and community groups to address crimes against the most vulnerable victims:
- Expanded our Domestic Violence prosecution team, and were the driving force behind the establishment of a Domestic Violence Coordinating Council
- Hired a Human Trafficking prosecutor, who was instrumental in creating the HT Response Team
- Continued to one of the lead counties in ICAC prosecution, reestablishing the Frederick County Cyber Crimes Task Force