Roya Hanna

Independent candidate Roya Hanna is dropping her bid for Baltimore state’s attorney, leaving Democratic primary winner Ivan Bates as the only candidate currently on the November ballot to become the city’s top prosecutor.

Bates won last week’s primary election with nearly 41% of the vote to defeat rival Thiru Vignarajah and two-term incumbent Marilyn Mosby. Hanna announced she was dropping out of the race during a news conference Friday morning alongside Bates.

“I started my campaign with the idea that what Baltimore really needed was a change at the state’s attorney’s office, new leadership so that we could put public safety above politics and make the criminal justice system work for everyone, including and especially victims of crime and victim’s families,” she said.

In an interview Thursday with The Banner, Hanna said her intention in running was to see the office take a new direction.

“We have a change in leadership, which was the whole purpose,” said Hanna, a criminal defense attorney in Baltimore. “I wanted to make sure that we have a professional prosecutor in office who can help reduce the homicide rate and save the lives of the citizens. And we have that.”

Bates publicly thanked Hanna during the news conference and said he would consider her ideas about how to improve the screening process for charges at the Central Booking and Intake Center so men and women aren’t jailed for months only to have their cases dismissed before trial.

Hanna’s decision clears the way for Bates to focus on taking office, not the general election.

“So day one we are prepared to hit the ground running,” he said.

He also briefly discussed his plans for his first day in office. Bates said he intended to visit senior homes to show Baltimore’s oldest and most vulnerable residents that they should feel safe and secure. Then he would visit a police roll call to show officers he will support them.

Bates has said he will immediately rescind Mosby’s policy to cease prosecuting people for nonviolent crimes such as drug possession and prostitution in favor of a strategy that considers such charges case by case.

No Republican candidate filed for state’s attorney by Maryland’s April deadline. Write-in candidates could emerge before Election Day, but winning would be difficult.

Mosby faced sharp criticism during the campaign for the amount of violence that continues to grip Baltimore. The city has suffered more than 300 homicides every year since she took office in 2015.

Mosby also sought reelection while under indictment on federal perjury charges. She’s accused of a sequence of dishonest financial maneuvers that allowed her to tap into her retirement savings early and buy two homes in Florida worth more than $1 million combined. Her trial is scheduled for September.

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