For almost one hour on Tuesday, Ivan Bates, who’s set to become the next state’s attorney in Baltimore, reflected on the primary campaign and answered questions about his future plans at an event at Goucher College in partnership with the Great Baltimore Committee.
Bates, 54, of Locust Point, defeated the two-term incumbent, Marilyn Mosby, in the Democratic primary on July 19. He’s running unopposed on Election Day.
Sharon Schreiber, chief operating officer of the Greater Baltimore Committee, and Mileah Kromer, director of the Sarah T. Hughes Center for Politics at Goucher College, moderated a Q&A session and took several additional questions from the audience.
Here are three takeaways about his plans:
1. Bringing in experienced attorneys to help with homicide cases
Bates said there are several former prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office as well as the Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office who have volunteered to help train assistant state’s attorneys.
In the meantime, Bates said, he wants to bring in experienced attorneys who have told him that they’d be willing to take on six, seven or eight homicide trials each year to help with the volume of cases. Assistant state’s attorneys, he said, are overwhelmed.
“I don’t have to worry whether or not they can try cases. They have experience,” Bates said. “They just don’t have the stamina and want to be in there every single day.”
If that happens, Bates said, he can take other talent from the office and focus on prosecuting people who illegally have guns. He’s discussed starting a dedicated gun court and proceeding on charges that carry mandatory minimum sentences.
“I don’t want to put you in jail. But I don’t want you to have an illegal gun,” he said. “I have to do my job. My job is to hold you accountable and keep the citizens safe.”
2. Proceeding first on violations of probation
Throughout the campaign, Bates has emphasized the need to work in a collaborative way. He said that extends to other jurisdictions.
Bates talked about seeing if assistant state’s attorneys from other counties could first seek charges of violation of probation, which he described as a quick and effective way to go after repeat, violent offenders.
He discussed a hypothetical example in which a person arrested in Baltimore for illegally having a gun is on probation in Baltimore County. Instead of having to try the new case in front of a jury, Bates said, prosecutors there could argue the violation before a judge, who can hand down prison time.
3. Building a cohesive, diverse executive team
When asked if he’s chosen a chief deputy state’s attorney, Bates said he’s spoken with several people but was not prepared to go into detail.
He said he thinks the most important step he can take from the beginning is to have a cohesive executive team that works well together and reflects the diversity of the community.
“I think it’s important to have a number of different voices in that room. I don’t know everything,” Bates said.
“I’m trying to make sure that I find the right people,” he added. “I do know some, and that’s all I’ll say right now.”
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