Baltimore Exile Partners Announce Significant Progress Against Violent Repeat Offenders
30 Violent Repeat Offenders from Persistent Violent Crime Areas Detained on State or Federal Charges in the Past 6 Months;
Total Federal Violent Crime Indictments Continue to Increase
Baltimore, Maryland - Leaders of the local, state and federal agency partners that are together implementing the Baltimore EXILE strategy held a meeting today to discuss the progress of the program and plans for the future.
“Thanks to the unprecedented coordination of local, state and federal law enforcement, criminals are getting the message that gun crime equals jail time,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. “This year, we are expanding our efforts to combat violent gangs and get violent repeat offenders off the streets of Baltimore. Criminals who are behind bars cannot carry guns in our neighborhoods.”
"Over the past year our team has worked hard to improve the strategies used to prosecute violent repeat offenders," said State's Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy. This unprecedented coordination from arrest and bail review to monitoring probation violators has yielded significant results. We will continue to work very hard using every tool in our toolbox to make our communities safe."
“We hope to send a message to violent offenders that the unlawful use and possession of firearms to promote or facilitate illegal activities will not be tolerated,” says Acting Special Agent in Charge David L. McCain of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Baltimore Field Division. “Through law enforcement partnerships and programs like Baltimore EXILE, we are holding those violent criminal offenders accountable for their actions, and we are seeking justice for the victims of crime and their families.”
“Maryland's unprecedented collaboration on public safety issues throughout all levels of government and our criminal justice system is today paying off. We are making headway in improving the lives of all Marylanders and I am grateful that the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services is able to be a partner in that process. The entire Exile team should be commended for their dangerous and difficult work,” said Gary D. Maynard, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.
Baltimore EXILE is a unified and comprehensive strategy to combat gun crime initiated in 2006 by the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office, the Baltimore Police Department, the Maryland Division of Parole and Probation, the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Marshals Service, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The program combines law enforcement efforts, community action and revitalization, and public awareness. Details are available on the internet at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/md/Exile/index.html.
During the first eight months of 2008, 147 Baltimore EXILE defendants were charged with federal crimes. Approximately 53% of the cases indicted under the EXILE program during that period were based on referrals from the State's Attorney's FIVE Unit. Many of the cases involved local gun arrests that resulted in lengthy federal prison sentences. This represents a 12% increase in the number of violent offenders charged federally with similar offenses in 2007.
In addition to the federal indictments, a total of 24 Federal Letters of Intent to Prosecute, known as “FLIP letters,” have been utilized to date in 2008. FLIP letters are written by federal prosecutors to notify certain defendants with pending state gun charges that the evidence in their cases has been reviewed by ATF agents and federal prosecutors and that federal charges will be filed if their cases are not resolved in state court. Defendants who reject the state pleas are indicted in federal court. Three of the FLIP letter cases are still pending; of the remaining 21 FLIP letters sent, 19 – or more than 90% – have resulted in guilty pleas in state court. This represents the highest percentage of FLIP letter pleas since the EXILE program began.
Combined with the 147 defendants charged federally in Baltimore EXILE cases, federal prosecutors handled a total of 166 violent crime defendants during the first eight months of 2008.
Violent Repeat Offenders
Under Baltimore EXILE’s Violent Repeat Offender (VRO) initiative, a team composed of representatives of the Division of Parole and Probation of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, the United States Probation Office, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the High Intensity Drug-Trafficking Area Task Force (HIDTA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), ATF, BPD, the SAO, and the USAO meet regularly to identify some of the most violent individuals in the city – individuals who belong to violent gangs or organizations operating in Baltimore and individuals who have been charged with, or have been suspects in, shootings and murders. Some of these individuals have pending state gun, drug, or violent crime cases. Many are in violation of their parole or probation. Others have no pending charges but have lengthy and disturbing criminal histories. The members of the Violent Repeat Offender team determine the most effective strategy for arresting and detaining each individual or gang – including violations of parole or probation, aggressive prosecution of pending state or federal charges, or proactive investigations – and monitor the status of the pending case or investigation of each such individual or group.
Approximately 57 VROs have been identified and pursued since the city-wide VRO program began in early 2006. Of those, 43 have been convicted in state court or detained or convicted in federal court in cases charging not only the 43 identified VROs but also nearly 120 other co-defendants. Other VROs are the subjects of ongoing investigations.
In February 2008, in addition to the city-wide VRO program, the EXILE VRO team developed particular VRO lists for three areas of the city marked by persistent violent crime – the Eastern District, Western District, and the Park Heights area of Northwest Baltimore. The Baltimore Police Department, with assistance from the ATF and DEA, formed squads in each of those three areas dedicated to pursuing the VROs from those areas. In just the past six months, 30 VROs from these three areas have been detained on state or federal charges.
The Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office Collateral Division prosecutes
defendants who have violated their probation, to get those repeat offenders off the streets. The Collateral Division has aggressively pursued violent repeat offenders, holding them accountable for their criminal activity by prosecuting violations of probation on previous state convictions, often obtaining sentences of five years or more. For example, Garfield Redd was convicted of assault in state court in 1998 and released from incarceration in 2005. While on probation, Redd was arrested for possession of drugs and a handgun. While the violation of parole was pending, Redd was indicted in federal court in 2007 for being a felon in possession of a firearm because he met the criteria of a violent repeat offender. Before the federal case was tried, the Collateral Division secured Redd’s conviction on the parole violation. As a result, he was sentenced to 10 years. The federal case went to trial in September 2008 and Redd was found guilty of being a felon in possession of a firearm. He is awaiting sentencing in federal court.
Outreach and Media
The United States Attorney's Office and the Baltimore City School System are continuing to expand upon their partnership to minimize the involvement of youth in gangs and violence. During the Spring of 2008, the USAO, Baltimore City State's Attorney's Office, Baltimore City Public Schools, WombWorks and other social service organizations partnered to deliver an innovative arts-based gang prevention and intervention program at Dunbar and Lemmel Middle Schools. The program, entitled "Increase The Peace Project", was designed to educate youth about the dangers of gangs, while providing social service support to youth who are actively seeking a way out of gang involvement. The success of these pilot programs have led the Baltimore City Schools to expand the program into seven additional schools for the 2008-2009 school year.
In addition to expanding prevention and intervention activity, the USAO is working with the Baltimore City Schools to initiate the "Safe Passages Program". The Safe Passages Program initiative is a concerted effort to ensure that young people will be able to safely traverse to and from school without being harrassed by gangs or targeted for recruitment activities.
The Baltimore EXILE program continued an extensive media campaign including bus billboards, radio public service announcements, and posters advertising lengthy federal sentences received by particular defendants.
During 2008, many defendants were sentenced to lengthy terms of imprisonment for firearms possession or related drug offenses in Baltimore City and have been sent to, or are awaiting designation to, federal prison facilities outside of Maryland to serve their sentences. The following are just a few examples of those defendants (press releases relating to each case can be found on the USAO website at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/md):
21 years and 10 months
15 years and 8 months
Theodore Parker, Jr.
Kevin Darnell Robinson
At today’s meeting, Baltimore EXILE Achievement Awards were presented to 45 federal agents and Baltimore City police officers and three local and federal prosecutors whose outstanding work resulted in significant firearms or violent crime cases. Awards were also presented to an employee of Maryland Department of Parole and Probation and the Baltimore County Police Department for their overall contributions to the EXILE program. A list of those receiving awards is attached.
Baltimore EXILE is a joint effort by the SAO, BPD, the Maryland Division of Parole and Probation, the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention, the United States Marshals Service, ATF, DEA, HIDTA, FBI, ICE, and the USAO.