AG seeks $1.2 million for staff to prosecute police killings, invest

The Daily Record [Baltimore MD]

July 28, 2023

By Jack Hogan

Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown has requested about $1.2 million to hire lawyers and investigators who will help the office prosecute police killings and respond to allegations of abuse in the Catholic Church.

The Board of Public Works, which comprises the governor, comptroller and treasurer and approves state spending, is expected to vote Wednesday on the attorney general’s request.

It’s not yet clear how the three board members will vote, but funding is available for the eight positions, according to the Department of Budget and Management.

A spokesperson for Treasurer Dereck Davis wrote in an email that Davis “doesn’t typically share his voting intentions prior to the meeting.”

Gov. Wes Moore and Comptroller Brooke Lierman also declined through spokespeople to say how they intend to vote.

Brown has requested about $606,000 for two attorneys, an investigator and a paralegal/evidence analyst to bulk up a division that, beginning Oct. 1, can prosecute police officers who are found criminally responsible for killing someone or causing an injury likely to result in death.

The division currently has 15 full-time positions, including six attorneys, said Attorney General’s Office spokesperson Jennifer Donelan.

The new positions will help the office with the “expansive preparation and litigation” that the expanded authority will require, Board of Public Works meeting documents state.

The attorneys will be expected to write indictments and supporting memoranda, prepare discovery, and ready themselves and their witnesses for trial.

The Attorney General’s Office has investigated police-involved deaths since lawmakers granted the authority in 2021, but the office submits its findings to local state’s attorneys, who have the power to prosecute.

Lawmakers last session granted the attorney general the authority to prosecute police-involved deaths.

Proponents of the new law, including the Attorney General’s Office, have said it will increase transparency and community trust in investigations and prosecution of these cases.

Brown also requested nearly $560,000 to pay for two lawyers, an investigator and an analyst for investigating allegations of abuse in the Archdiocese of Washington and the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington in Delaware, both of which include parts of Maryland.

The new staff members will also help intake, process and investigate new allegations of abuse in the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

A report the Attorney General’s Office released in April revealed that more than 150 priests sexually abused over 600 children in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, which spent decades ignoring or minimizing the reports.

Since April, Brown’s office has seen a “substantial uptick” in calls and emails to a hotline established when the Archdiocese of Baltimore investigation began four years earlier, according to Board of Public Works meeting documents.

Daily Record legal affairs reporter Madeleine O’Neill contributed to this story.