Dressed in red, white and blue, Marilyn J. Mosby--a West Baltimore-based lawyer and wife of City Councilman Nick Mosby-- was joined by city politicians and supporters in front of the Clarence Mitchell Courthouse on June 24 to announce her candidacy for Baltimore city state’s attorney.
“I come to you one year--exactly one year from the primary election--to announce that I am running for state’s attorney of Baltimore city,” announced Mosby alongside her husband and daughters, Nyln, 4, and Aniyah, 2. “But this is about much more than an elected position. This is about our homes and our communities. And at its root, this is about our peace of mind.”
Her announcement comes on the heels of a violent opening weekend for the summer, during which 20 people were shot in Baltimore, eight of them fatally, local law enforcement officials said.
“We watch the news every evening and are angered and frustrated by what we see,” said Mosby, 33, a litigator for Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. “We wonder if our children are safe outside of our homes.”
Mosby, a Boston, Mass. native and an honors graduate of Tuskegee University, moved to Baltimore’s Reservoir Hill with her college sweetheart nearly 10 years ago. She received her law degree from Boston College in 2005.
The same year, Mosby joined the Baltimore state’s attorney’s office as an assistant state’s attorney. Mosby moved through the ranks and eventually became a general trial prosecutor, trying cases for violent crimes in the state.
In a recent interview with the AFRO, Mosby said if elected state’s attorney, she will work to mend the severed relationship between the people of Baltimore and the criminal justice system.
“The biggest problem in the city is the distrust of the criminal justice system,” Mosby told the AFRO. “My priority is to change the culture of distrust and bring all parts of the community together-- the judges, the police, the people, the state’s attorney.”
Mosby said she learned at an early age, that the criminal justice system is bigger than law enforcement agencies, but encompasses the entire community. She said when she was 14 years old, her cousin was killed and a witness stepped forward and testified against the assailant.
"It isn't just about the police, the judges and the state's attorney; it's about much more than that," Mosby said in her announcement. "I believe that we are the justice system. We, the members of the community, are the justice system because we are the victims of crime."
Mosby said the state’s attorney’s office has to get the convictions to keep repeat offenders off the streets and keep Baltimore safe, claiming an 80 percent conviction rate as an assistant state’s attorney.
“The police can’t do it alone,” said Mosby. “The state’s attorney’s office has to get the convictions.”
Mosby said the current Baltimore State’s Attorney Gregg L. Bernstein’s priorities are not aligned with the wishes of Baltimore residents. In 2012, Bernstein announced the state’s attorney’s office would be relocating its office and nearly 200 staff into the SunTrust Bank Building, costing the city $11 million over a 10-year lease, according to records from the board of estimates.
“That money could be used to help to change the culture of distrust in Baltimore, the home of witness intimidation,” said Mosby.
Mark Cheshire, spokesperson for the state’s attorney’s office, said Bernstein declined to comment on Mosby’s remarks.
“[Bernstein] is declining to interview at this point,” said Cheshire. “His concern right now is with making Baltimore safer.”
Following a surge in shootings and homicides in Baltimore with more than 35 shootings, including 12 murders during the first week of the summer, Mosby released a statement criticizing Bernstein for not speaking out on the upswing of violence in the city.
"Why hasn't Baltimore heard from the State's Attorney's office? They are the ones responsible for putting these killers away for good," said Mosby in a statement.
"Where is the justice for the 100-plus homicide victims and their families? At the very least, we should hear from the state's attorney's office and see prosecutors going door to door with the [Baltimore police department]. However, that may be difficult to do since all of the community liaisons were fired."
Since April, Mosby and her husband have been organizing weekly "Enough is Enough" rallies in West Baltimore alongside clergy and community leaders to create a high-profile anti-crime presence in the 7th district, which Mosby represents on the council.