Cases relate to COVID-19 policies and builds on June 2020 announcement eliminating 586 warrants
Baltimore City SAO sets out instructions for public to verify if warrant is quashed
Baltimore (Feb 25, 2020) - Today, Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced that her office has successfully eliminated 829 open warrants, and dismissed the underlying cases. The cases relate to offenses the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office (SAO) is not currently prosecuting, and include the following offenses:
• CDS (drug) possession
• Paraphernalia possession
• Minor traffic offenses
• Open container
• Rogue and vagabond
• Urinating/defecating in public
On March 18 2020 State’s Attorney Mosby announced that the office was not prosecuting the aforementioned offenses during the coronavirus. Unfortunately, we became aware that people were still being arrested due to open warrants for failing to appear in court on an offense the office no longer intended to prosecute. Unlike a standalone offense, the Baltimore City SAO has to go to court to request that the warrant be “quashed“ before being able to dismiss the case.
Baltimore City SAO prosecutors gathered and assessed open and pending warrants, requested hearings to eliminate the warrants and entered a “nolle prosequi” in each case, effectively dismissing the charge. The 829 warrants bring the total number of warrants dismissed to 1415, following the office’s announcement in June 2020 that 586 warrants were dismissed.
The SAO has worked diligently to reduce the incarcerated population during the COVID crisis, consulting with health experts from Johns Hopkins University and always ensuring public safety. The overall incarcerated population in Baltimore City is down 20% during COVID (around 3000 people), with a 40% reduction (around 7000 people) in people entering the criminal justice system/being prosecuted/charged.
“We encourage everyone who is concerned about an outstanding warrant for these minor offenses to go to this website and see if their case has been dealt with,” said Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby. “COVID-19 remains a major threat in prisons and jails, and we do not want people to be held for offenses we no longer prosecute. This is an issue of fairness”
"Addressing homelessness, unemployment, mental health, and substance use disorder with evidence-based policies will prevent most of these offenses from occuring in the first place. That's where we need to put our resources; not in arresting and punishing people for preventable issues. Eliminating these warrants is good common sense," said Major Neill Franklin (Ret.), 34-year police veteran of the Baltimore and Maryland State Police Departments, and lifelong Baltimore resident.
"As someone who represents the formerly and currently incarcerated communities of Baltimore, I am extremely pleased to see State's Attorney Mosby's office is once again taking a principled stand during this pandemic and putting compassion ahead of petty convictions," says Nicole Hanson-Mundell, executive director of Out for Justice. "My hope is that her office will continue taking a further look into the charging practices being levied against citizens who continue to be overcriminalized for offenses that oftentimes are dismissed."
The Baltimore City SAO understands that members of the public will want to know if their warrant has been eliminated and case has been dismissed. A letter will be sent by the courts to the last known address of each individual informing them of the dismissal.
If would like to know prior to the letter’s arrival, you can find out by doing the following:
1. Visit Maryland Judiciary Case Search: http://casesearch.courts.state.md.us/casesearch/
2. Check the box to agree to terms and conditions
3. Enter your name and select a court from the drop down menu (choose District Court or Baltimore City Circuit Court).
4. Select “get case”. The search may bring up one or more cases. Individuals must click on each case number.
5. Under “charge and disposition” information, each charge is listed. If under “disposition” the term “NOLLE PROSEQUI” appears, that means the case has been dismissed and the charges dropped.
6. At the bottom of the page, an entry should list “WARR” and a recent date (last week), when the hearing was held, and the warrant eliminated.
7. Alternatively, if you have your case number, you can enter that directly without your name and select “get case”, and follow steps 5 and 6.