New city division to target violent repeat offenders

Federal prosecutor to head the Major Investigations Unit

June 02, 2011|By Tricia Bishop, The Baltimore Sun

Baltimore State's Attorney Gregg L. Bernstein announced Thursday the launch of a new "Major Investigations Unit" devoted to dealing with violent repeat offenders — a criminal class that was key to his campaign last year.

"Research and data reveal that a relatively small number of violent, repeat offenders commit a disproportionately large amount of the violent crime," Bernstein said in a statement. "By strategically and aggressively pursuing, prosecuting and imprisoning these individuals, we will have a dramatic impact on the level of violence in the city, and as a result make Baltimore a safer place to live and work."

Bernstein won the top prosecutor position last year after hammering on the failures of his predecessor to consistently convict such criminals.

He selected Thiruvendran "Thiru" Vignarajah, a Baltimore native who left his position as Maryland assistant U.S. attorney in the violent crimes division, to head the new unit.

Vignarajah graduated from Baltimore County's Woodlawn High School, earned a bachelor's degree from Yale College in 1998, a master's degree from Kings College in London in 1999 and a juris doctorate from Harvard Law School in 2005.

He also teaches at the University of Baltimore School of Law and the University of Maryland School of Law, where he was voted "outstanding adjunct professor of the year" by students for the past two years.

tricia.bishop@baltsun.com

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