Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley is making attempts to battle the year’s increase in crime. O’Malley feels that the decline in levels of enforcement has lead to the increase in shootings and homicides in the Baltimore area. Those in opposition of this feel that “over-enforcement has [an] opposite effect” and that the Baltimore area would be better served if the current drug policies were repealed. In fact, according to The Sun, more than 47,000 people were arrested on drug charges in 2010. That number is five times higher than the number of people arrested for violent crimes in the same year. Even more surprising is the fact that the US has the highest rate of incarceration in the world with 2.2 million incarcerated, compared to less than 400,000 people incarcerated in in the US in 1970. For criminal defense lawyers in the area, many clients come to them for help with their criminal records.
In some communities, the drug trade is the only way money is brought in as opposed to earning income from employment. In fact, more than 95% of incarcerated juveniles are minorities in Baltimore City. An increase of enforcement in these areas will condemn entire communities to live outside more formal economic channels where their criminal records are not barriers to their unemployment.
Since Baltimore seems to be focusing their resources on drug crimes and the war on drugs, there are less resources available for the strenuous work required to fight violent crimes. The area’s “zero tolerance” policy has lead to an “emphasis on quantity of arrests over quality.” The city is also dealing with some racial profiling issues and over-charging in law enforcement. On any given day, prosecutors will have to drop entire cases because officers had made an arrest with no probable cause. Further, judges are often forced to dismiss cases because their dockets are so large already. Even jurors have lost some of their trust in the system and have been known to discredit evidence because they do not feel it was obtained as a result of good police work.
One retired police officer from Maryland wrote: “The only way to sensibly tackle crime in this city is to get real about our drug policies. No society has ever fully rid itself of drugs, nor will we. But, if we eliminate the prohibition on drugs we can abate much of the social and personal damage currently associated with its trade. By taking drug issues out of the criminal justice system, we can free our police to do the real work necessary to make our streets safer.”
Our Myrtle Beach criminal defense lawyer spends a significant amount of time in criminal courts throughout the country. There are criminal lawyers all over the United States, but few practice criminal defense in Charleston, Miami, Myrtle Beach, Columbia and several other areas of the country.
If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges, you will need to speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer in your area. One of the Myrtle Beach criminal lawyers at The Mace Firm is ready to speak with you about your case. Call one of our federal criminal lawyers to schedule your free consultation.