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By Tricia Bishop, The Baltimore Sun | May 12, 2011
Under pressure to reduce spending, Baltimore State's Attorney Gregg L. Bernstein eliminated a community coordinator program in his office, firing at least nine people this week — a year after his predecessor threatened to sue the city to save the same jobs. "This is a budgetary issue that we inherited," said spokesman Mark Cheshire. "It would be fiscally irresponsible to retain these positions again, given [budget] constraints. " Last year, the city's budget department recommended that the jobs be slashed.
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NEWS
By Justin Fenton, The Baltimore Sun | May 4, 2011
After he campaigned on a slogan of "Fight Crime First," many expected that for his first case, Baltimore State's Attorney Gregg L. Bernstein would pursue a repeat offender who had slipped through the fingers of the previous regime. Perhaps a drug killing, or a case of witness intimidation. But to the surprise of critics who worried that he would be too cozy with the police who endorsed him, Bernstein chose to try three city officers charged with kidnapping and misconduct after picking up two West Baltimore teens and dropping them off far from home.
NEWS
By Justin Fenton and Yeganeh June Torbati, The Baltimore Sun | April 12, 2011
Baltimore State's Attorney Gregg Bernstein will try his first case as the city's top prosecutor this week when three city officers go on trial for misconduct allegations, his office confirmed. Officers Tyrone S. Francis, Milton G. Smith III and Gregory Hellen are accused of picking up a teenager in West Baltimore in May 2009 and dropping him off in Patapsco Valley State Park in Howard County, without shoes or a cellphone. The officers were indicted last March on charges of kidnapping, false imprisonment, second-degree assault and misconduct in office, among other counts.
NEWS
By Tricia Bishop, The Baltimore Sun | April 7, 2011
Private defense attorney Janice Bledsoe will leave her firm to join the Baltimore prosecutor's office as head of the new police integrity unit, State's Attorney Gregg L. Bernstein announced Thursday. The division replaces a police misconduct unit created a decade ago under his predecessor, Patricia C. Jessamy, and is the result of a "comprehensive review and reorganization," according to a statement. "It is vital to maintaining public trust in our criminal justice system that the state's attorney's office acts vigilantly to ensure that allegations of police misconduct are thoroughly investigated and, where appropriate, prosecuted," Bernstein said in the statement.
NEWS
By Peter Hermann, The Baltimore Sun | March 17, 2011
A man whose suspended sentence in an armed holdup in Guilford three years ago became emblematic of problems with the city's criminal justice system pleaded guilty Thursday to two more violent attacks in the North Baltimore neighborhood and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. "You are a menace to the community," Circuit Judge Lawrence P. Fletcher-Hill told 21-year-old John Couplin. "The only thing that I can do is isolate you from the community. … There's a possibility you will rehabilitate.
NEWS
By Justin Fenton, The Baltimore Sun | February 9, 2011
Baltimore State's Attorney Gregg Bernstein said Wednesday that he wants to assign assistant state's attorneys to geographic areas to track repeat offenders plaguing their communities. Prosecutors currently focus on specific types of offenses, such as drug cases, general felonies or homicides. The community prosecution model would divide the city into zones, with a group of prosecutors working more collaboratively with police to track and build cases against targeted individuals. "They would be focusing on all crimes in that particular area," Bernstein told members of the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council.
NEWS
By Peter Hermann, The Baltimore Sun | January 22, 2011
In November, John Couplin was found guilty of shoplifting from Macy's, and a judge in Baltimore County sentenced him to18 months in prison. That routine matter did not go unnoticed by Baltimore City's new state's attorney, Gregg L. Bernstein. Prosecutors marched into court this past Tuesday and, citing the county case, persuaded Baltimore Circuit Judge John Addison Howard to find Couplin guilty of violating the terms of his probation from a 2008 attack in Guilford. The judge reimposed the suspended sentence he had handed down three years ago and sent Couplin to prison for an additional eight years, 11 months and 10 days.
NEWS
By Tricia Bishop, The Baltimore Sun | January 4, 2011
Roughly 30 hours after his official swearing-in, Baltimore's new state's attorney had a ceremonial do-over Tuesday afternoon before a vast crowd of friends, family, politicians, law enforcement officials and colleagues. "I am deeply honored," Gregg L. Bernstein said, surveying the group, which included state legislators, the mayor and City Council president, Maryland's U.S. attorney and more than a dozen judges. The spectators spilled from the formal courtroom into the hall — a turnout that "speaks profoundly to the notion that this is an important day for Baltimore," Bernstein said.
NEWS
By Tricia Bishop, The Baltimore Sun | January 3, 2011
Gregg L. Bernstein announced a fresh leadership team for the Baltimore prosecutor's office Monday morning, shortly after being sworn in as city state's attorney, officially ending incumbent Patricia C. Jessamy's 15-year reign. As previously announced, former federal prosecutor George J. Hazel and Elizabeth Embry, a former assistant state's attorney and assistant city solicitor, will make up two-thirds of the three-person team. Hazel left the U.S. Attorney's Office to become Bernstein's chief assistant state's attorney, while Embry was named executive assistant state's attorney for policy and planning.
NEWS
By Peter Hermann, The Baltimore Sun | January 1, 2011
Baltimore Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III, sitting in the front passenger seat of a sport utility vehicle being driven out of Fells Point, held up his police radio and turned up the volume. "Do you hear this?" he said. There was silence. Not even static. "Isn't it nice?" Bealefeld said. Finally, a dispatcher's voice broke through. "Hold on," said Bealefeld, mocking urgency. "We got a parking complaint. " It was about 90 minutes into 2011 and Bealefeld was out on the streets with Gregg Bernstein, who is to be sworn in Monday as the city's new state's attorney.
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