HISTORY OF THE DISTRICT OF MARYLAND - CONTINUED
In 1993, Lynne A. Battaglia became the first woman to serve as a presidentially appointed U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland. During her tenure, Assistant U.S. Attorneys were assigned to subject-matter sections and the District of Maryland was divided into two divisions. The Southern Division of the office was created and housed in a new federal courthouse that opened in 1994 in Greenbelt, Maryland.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office prosecuted an increasing number of drug, gang and gun crime cases in the 1990s. The office began to focus on community outreach, through Weed and Seed and related programs. This period also was marked by increases in death penalty litigation, child pornography prosecutions and environmental crime cases. Another development was the increased use of forfeiture to seize assets acquired through or used in criminal activity. The office also began to use affirmative civil enforcement to collect fraud penalties from government contractors and health care providers who filed false claims or otherwise defrauded the government.
U.S. Attorney Thomas M. DiBiagio emphasized the prosecution of public corruption cases. As a result of the war on terrorism brought about by the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, many law enforcement resources were deployed to anti-terrorism efforts. The U.S. Attorney’s Office took a leading role in establishing the Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council and the Maryland Coordination and Analysis Center.
THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY’S OFFICE TODAY
The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Maryland now consists of two divisions, the Northern Division in Baltimore and the Southern Division in Greenbelt, staffed by eighty two attorneys and seventy five non-attorney employees. In 2005, the Northern Division moved out of Baltimore’s federal courthouse, into an office building across the street. The Southern Division remains in the Greenbelt federal courthouse.
In welcoming new attorneys to the office, U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein notes that Maryland’s Assistant U.S. Attorneys have earned a reputation for excellence, integrity and achievement. He encourages them to work tirelessly and cooperatively to promote the rule of law, punish criminals, deter crime and safeguard the money and property of the United States. The U.S. Attorney’s Office must seek to inspire public trust and confidence by pursuing justice in each case, promoting the rule of law and adhering to the highest ethical and professional standards.
The U.S. Attorney’s criminal enforcement priorities are to make Maryland safe from terrorism so we can preserve our way of life; safe from gun crimes and violent gangs so we can walk the streets without fear; safe from illegal drugs and child exploitation so our children can reach their full potential; safe from white-collar fraud so people can do business with confidence; safe from corruption so citizens can reap the benefits of honest government; safe from civil rights violations so all citizens can share in the promise of equality under the law; and safe from environmental crime so that future generations can enjoy our natural resources.
Focusing on the ways in which law enforcement can deter crime so that people do not become victims in the future, the U.S. Attorney emphasizes cooperation with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies and assigns supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorneys to work with our partners to set and achieve law enforcement goals in all priority areas. The U.S. Attorney explains, “Our primary goal is to secure the safety and improve the quality of life of our fellow citizens. That requires us to focus on deterrence. Our mission is not only to vindicate the rights of actual victims, but also to save other people from being victimized in the future. There is a difference between fighting crime and just prosecuting criminals. Our job is to fight crime.”
The Office’s civil litigators defend the interests of the United States in civil matters, such as tort lawsuits and employment litigation. They also collect fines and restitution owed to the United States and represent the United States in affirmative civil enforcement cases, including important lawsuits against health care providers and government contractors who file false claims.