Clear explanations of why we will or will not prosecute certain crimes will be publicly available, instead of the current black-box approach. We'll maintain a working relationship with the judiciary and defense bar, so that decisions not to prosecute crimes that do not impact public safety are understood. This may also include a public address of what sorts of cases will not typically be prosecuted, and the rationale behind declining to do so.
Public Dashboard of Prosecutorial Decisions
I want to make the exercise of prosecutorial discretion more accessible to the public. This will start with data about prosecutorial decisions after an arrest is made, the number and types of cases prosecuted, and their resolutions (e.g.: compulsory program enrollment; financial penalties; incarceration.)
Prosecutorial Discretion Not to Prosecute
Montgomery County has a range of diversionary and non-penal programs that are underutilized because the prosecutor's office currently lacks a systematic approach to their application. We recognize that punitive measures do not always advance justice or provide safety, and will endeavor to identify which other resources at our disposal are an appropriate course.
Standardize the process of evaluation for diversion vs prosecution. Currently, there is no consistent set of rules for who gets offered diversion, or which factors are considered when pressing charges. As a result, there is opportunity for arbitrariness in the use of discretion. I envision a process by which we decide if or how to charge each case using a needs-based assessment, clear parameters for declination, and a priority decision tree for prosecution.
Seek nonprosecution.-To ensure public safety, we must seek prosecution for certain crimes to threaten community safety, but realize when prosecution of other crimes is not the best ways to administer justice. A recent study shows nonprosecution of misdemeanor offenses reduced future criminal activity. Based on this study, the Mireku-North administration will focus on diverting people from the justice system, especially those with drug addiction, mental health issues, or financial difficulties. We will no longer prosecute, as written under Maryland law, the following cases:
· Controlled Dangerous Substance- paraphernalia
· Failure to Obey
· Disorderly Conduct
· Driving Uninsured
Mental health/addiction - we will not prosecute when it is apparent mental health issues if there is no risk to community safety or no indication of racial microaggression; instead, we will utilize existing programs as much as possible. If a need becomes obvious through our review of potential cases, but there is no program to suit it, we will share that insight with the appropriate agencies or propose a pilot. We will not seek incarceration solely for CDS possession convictions.
Poverty- our SAO will not penalize financial precarity, or unduly burden those with limited resources by depriving them of earnings opportunities or compounding their burdens. We will also eliminate requests for cash bail.