Crime Rising, Baltimore’s Conviction Rate Is Falling

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Felony convictions in Baltimore dropped soon after Marilyn Mosby took over last year as the city’s top prosecutor, and the lower rate has persisted at a time of increased violent crime, reports the Wall Street Journal. Under Mosby, Baltimore has posted quarterly felony conviction rates that have been lower than those under her predecessor, Gregg Bernstein, who served from 2011 through 2014. About 53 percent of felony cases closed since Mosby took office have ended in conviction, compared with 67 percent the previous four years.

The city of 620,000 is on pace to log more than 300 murders for a second straight year, one of the highest homicide rates in large U.S. cities. Its violent-crime rate rose in 2015 to its highest in seven years. The city’s violent crime has risen in 2016 compared with this time last year. Some observers say Mosby’s management of the office is a contributing factor in the drop in convictions. Her office disputes that criticism, in part blaming the quality of cases brought by police. The Journal examined all closed felony cases from 2011 through August 2016. Mosby defended her conviction rate as “steady and high,” adding, “It’s shameful to take pride in overwhelming conviction rates. We are here to do justice and make Baltimore safer, not gloat.” When Mosby launched her bid for the office in 2013, she told a rally that Bernstein was “failing to obtain convictions.”

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