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Legislative Affairs

Office of the State's Attorney for Prince George's County

2020 Legislative Priorities 

It has been an extraordinary year with the COVID-19 Pandemic and the local and national call for social and criminal justice reform, through it all, the Prince George’s County State’s Attorney's office is working to bring reform and continued justice to our constituents.  We look forward to working with you and all our community partners to help develop and implement policy changes that work to create a more just system and to provide a safe community to our citizens

Criminal Justice Reform

Juvenile Lifers

House Bill 409 is a narrowly crafted bill aimed at juveniles, convicted of serious crimes in adult court, who have served 20 years or more in prison and have shown significant maturation and capacity to change in ways that make them no longer a danger to the public, may have their sentence reconsidered by the court.  This bill will allow a court to take a new look at an old sentence in light of what we know today about past events, as well as the subsequent actions of the juvenile offender.  

 

A few key points: No one will be released from prison solely because of this bill; Victims are guaranteed a voice in proceedings. There must be demonstrated growth and change on the part of the juvenile offender sufficient to convince the court that the person is not a danger to the community and that reconsideration is in the interests of justice; Even if the court determines a change is warranted, the court does not have to release the juvenile offender. It can impose whatever new sentence it deems appropriate.

This bill reflects our growing understanding of juvenile brain development and the sad reality that the norms of behavior, judgment, and impulse control we would like to see in our youth are often late in developing. As a result, far too many of our young people get involved in criminal activity, sometimes with deadly and serious consequences.

In Prince George's County, we have identified more than 80 individuals convicted of serious adult crimes while juveniles. As many as 50 of these have served at least 20 years in prison. Many have also demonstrated that they are no longer the individuals who committed the crimes over the past year Prince George’s County has worked with the Courts, victims, parole commission, and inmates representatives for the release of ______ . We hope that with this legislation, Prince George’s County will become the model of the state.

Emerging Adult Program 

This legislation will fund the Emerging Adult Youth Program in Prince George’s County.  This program is focused on individuals aged 18-26 years old who are currently incarcerated.  Working with the Key Ever Forward organization this program establishes key re-entry programs for our young adults to include counseling, job training, and work programs.  The program begins while the young adult is incarcerated and continues through probation in order to reduce recidivism and promote successful re-entry into the community.  This program currently costs about $10,000 per person.

Working Group for Juvenile Girls 

A local bill for Prince George’s County is designed to create a starting point for addressing rehabilitation services for incarcerated juvenile girls. Our juvenile system is designed to prevent recidivism and to rehabilitate however, without wrap-around services, this system will fail and our female juveniles will end up with adult records. This work group will provide the legislature with suggestions for how to better serve this population

Police Reform 

Body Cameras 

House Bill 187 will require all police departments to deploy body-worn cameras by January 1, 2025.  Body-worn cameras will increase transparency and accountability between law enforcement and the citizens that they are sworn to protect. Body cameras will lead to a faster resolution of citizen complaints, serve as a training tool, and help restore confidence in our police departments. State Attorney’s offices will need resources to successfully utilize and store the demonstrative evidence. This increase footage will require a massive increase in storage fees. State’s Attorney Offices will require resources to store footage needed for trial.

Internal Affair Records 

The State’s Attorney’s Office has also proposed a process for the identification, review, and production of relevant information contained in Internal Affairs records maintained by the Department’s IA Division. The general proposal provides a transparent and fair process in which the State’s Attorney’s Office and the County Attorney’s Office ensure that relevant and material information is turned over to defense counsel while ensuring the integrity of personnel files.

Criminal Law 

Continuing Court of Abuse 

House Bill 277 is designed to protect our most vulnerable victims, our children. Too often our children are the victims of repeated child abuse, and although these children are often given a medical diagnosis of torture, each individual episode of abuse does not create life-threatening injuries or loss or impairment of an organ, and therefore the perpetrator cannot be charged with the aggravated felony of First Degree Child Abuse.  This bill states that anyone who commits three or more acts of child abuse may be charged with First Degree Child Abuse as a continuing course of abuse.

Position of Authority 

House Bill 223 is designed to close the loophole for individuals who exercise power and supervision of our children and use that position to engage in sexual acts with our children prior to them reaching adulthood. The current law allows for the State to charge a school employee of the victim’s school if that individual engages in sexual contact or acts with the victim but it does not allow for individuals not associated with a school but still in a position of authority such as a traveling sports coach, a music teacher or a youth group leader to be held responsible for exploiting their positions.

Ghost Guns

This legislation will close the loophole for the manufacturing and use of Ghost Guns in violent crimes in Maryland.  This legislation is aimed to make clear that ghost guns should be considered firearms for the purposes of the public safety article and for the purposes of the use of a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence.  

Civil Remedies for the non-consensual posting of videos on pornographic websites 

This legislation mirrors pending federal legislation and will ensure that victims of non-consensual pornography have civil remedies for platforms that do not properly vet out videos for publication. It aims to put an end to the publishing of child pornography as well as videos of sexual assault or posted for the purposes of embarrassing another party.

Other Bills We Support

  • Elder Abuse Registry

  • Essential Worker Bill

  • Indecent Exposure SB0270

  • Absconding from 8-507 placements

  • DUI prior to boating under influence as an enhanced penalty

  • Sexual Abuse of a Minor – Crime of Violence SB0268

  • Law Enforcement Officer –Prohibition on Sexual Activity SB0043/HB0411

  • Repeal of Marital Exception to the Rape Statute SB0250/HB0147

  • Court Dog Therapy Program SB0007/HB0186

  • Life-Threatening Injury Involving a Motor Vehicle or Vessel SB0017

  • Lifetime Sexual Offender Supervision SB0333

  • Richard W. Collins, III Leadership with Honor Scholarship SB0040