|State's attorney for Baltimore City|
January 8, 2015
|Preceded by||Gregg Bernstein|
January 22, 1980 
|Spouse(s)||Nick Mosby (m. 2005)|
|Alma mater||Boston College Law School '05
Tuskegee University '02
Marilyn James Mosby is an American lawyer, currently the State's Attorney for Baltimore, Maryland, United States. Five generations of her family were in law enforcement, and her grandfather was one of the first African-American police officers in Massachusetts.
Mosby, born Marilyn James, was raised in the Boston neighborhood of Dorchester, by her grandparents. Her mother Linda Thompson was 17 when Mosby was born. Her mother and father were both police officers; her family traces its association with the police back over five generations. She attended Dover-Sherborn High School, an hour away from her home. She served in the Student Government Association and was co-editor of the school newspaper. Her interest in practicing law was sparked by the murder of her 17-year-old cousin outside of her home, when he had mistakenly been identified as a drug dealer and murdered by another 17-year-old. Mosby received a scholarship at Tuskegee University, Alabama, and earned her Juris Doctor degree from Boston College Law School.
In 2013, she announced plans to run for State's Attorney for the city of Baltimore. She ran against incumbent Gregg L. Bernstein in the Democratic primary. In the Democratic primary, Mosby defeated Bernstein with 55 percent of the vote. She faced no opposition in the general election. Mosby won the general election, receiving 94 percent of the vote, defeating Independent Russell A. Neverdon Sr., who staged a write-in campaign. At the time of her election, Mosby was the youngest top prosecutor in a major US city.
Mosby was sworn in to office on January 8, 2015. Soon after her first term in office had begun, Mosby announced restructuring of her office that was inspired by ideas from prosecutors' offices in New York, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. Deputy State's Attorney Janice Bledsoe was named to oversee the new division of "criminal intelligence." Mosby reestablished community liaison positions, which her predecessor had eliminated, to inform residents of developments in cases relevant to their neighborhood. Mosby also created the Policy and Legislative Affairs Unit, headed by Lisa Smith, that would advocate for legislation to help keep residents safe and prosecute cases efficiently.
Mosby pushed unsuccessfully for bills that would allow prosecutors to introduce prior accusations against serial sex offenders during trial, an aspect that she raised during her campaign. In May 2015, she secured the conviction of a Nelson Clifford, a sex-offender that was acquitted in four previous sexual assault cases involving a "consent" defense. After the verdict she stated, "While we were able to secure a guilty verdict in this case, we must still encourage our legislators in Annapolis to bring our predatory sexual assault laws in line with the federal statute. Clifford was sentenced to more than 30 years in prison. "
Prosecuting Violent Criminals
Mosby campaigned on the promise to target and prosecute violent repeat offenders. Since her administration began in January 2015 she has successfully prosecuted several high profile defendants including Darryl Anderson, Capone Chase, Nelson Clifford, Mustafa Eraibi, and Cornell Harvey.
She also created the Criminal Strategies Unit, modeled off a similar unit in the Manhattan PD, to harness the power of the community to identify and target violent repeat offenders. The Unit utilizes technology, data-analysis, and intelligence-gathering in combination with close relationships with community organizations to identify trends in crime and works with law enforcement to target the perpetuators behind those trends.
In response to the 2015 spike in violent crime in Baltimore, Mosby and newly appointed interim Police Commissioner Kevin Davis announced that prosecutors and police officers would co-locate inside of a 24-hour “war room” where law enforcement would target violent repeat offenders around the clock.
Mosby has made several public comments about rebuilding the public’s trust in law enforcement. Her belief in carrying out an effective crime fighting strategy includes a holistic approach to improving the criminal justice system. As such, Mosby has started several initiatives to engage the Baltimore community including:
Aim to B’MORE - Established by Mosby in the spring of 2015, Aim to B’MORE provides an alternative to incarceration and a criminal record for first-time, non-violent felony drug offenders. Eligible defendants are granted probation before judgement and placed on three years of probation. During probation, defendants complete 150 hours of community service, job skills training, and GED testing and/or substance abuse treatment as needed. Under Mosby’s direction, the Office of the State’s Attorney partnered with several local employers to secure full-time jobs for program participants following completion of their job skills training. If successful, after three years, participants can apply to expunge their records.
Junior State’s Attorney – Launched in the summer of 2015, the Junior State’s Attorney Program exposes up to 30 promising middle school students each summer to careers in the criminal justice field. The Junior State’s Attorneys spend six weeks learning how the criminal justice system works and meeting a wide of criminal justice professionals such as police officers, crime scene technicians, prosecutors and public defenders, and more. The program concludes with the students participating in a mock trial in front of friends, family and law school student mentors.
Community Day in Court – The birthplace of the “Stop Snitchin” campaign, Baltimore has long struggled with community-law enforcement relations. In an effort to rebuild trust and faith in the criminal justice system, Mosby began holding quarterly Community Days in Court bringing the public and law enforcement together in the historic Mitchell Courthouse in Downtown Baltimore to discuss the issues plaguing the City. The quarterly events feature panel discussions from subject matter experts, videos and presentations from special guests. Each event highlights a different public safety issue such as recidivism or domestic violence.
Community Liaison Program – Mosby established an External Affairs division to improve relations between the community and law enforcement. As part of the division, Mosby re-instated the popular Community Liaison Program and hired 11 full-time liaisons to work with the community. The liaisons, assist prosecutors in case preparation and witness identification, share vital public safety information with community organizations, and field questions and concerns from community members.
Freddie Gray case
In 2015, Mosby charged six police officers, who had arrested Freddie Gray prior to his death, with a variety of crimes including second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter. David Jaros, an associate professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law, was reported as saying that Mosby quite possibly overcharged the officers, while noting this is absolutely typical in criminal cases involving defendants who are not police. Anonymous sources have been reported by CNN as saying the Baltimore police's investigation does not support some of the charges brought against the officers. However, these sources are within the police department, and according to CNN, "Mosby has good reason to separate her probe from the police. There is widespread community distrust of the police. And many critics say letting police departments investigate themselves is partly why alleged excessive use of force incidents by officers rarely draw serious punishment." Mosby defended the charges in a statement released through a spokesperson, and condemned the release of information as unethical.
On May 21, a grand jury indicted the officers on most of the original charges filed by Mosby with the exception of the charges of illegal imprisonment and false arrest, and added charges of reckless endangerment to all the officers involved. When asked to respond to the allegation from police that she does not have their backs, Mosby's response was to call the notion 'absurd' and cited her family's history working in law enforcement. Mosby has been criticized for ordering the increased police presence, in the same neighbhorhood that Gray was arrested, just weeks prior to the incident that occurred.
In 2000 when she was a 20-year-old Tuskegee University student, Mosby (then James) appeared on the Judge Judy television show as the plaintiff in regards to the destruction of personal property and unauthorized access (during summer hiatus) to an apartment she was renting by another tenant of the building. She prevailed in the arbitration and was awarded $1700.
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