Special Priorities of the State's Attorney's Office

The Howard County State's Attorney's Office has given special priority to a variety of cases involving particularly vulnerable victims and to those crimes involving violence. The Office has dedicated prosecutors and investigative resources to assist in obtaining justice for victims of these crimes.

Child Abuse

Physical and sexual child abuse cases are perhaps the most sensitive, difficult and challenging cases that our Office handles. The dynamics of secrecy and delayed disclosure of abuse are unique to this type of crime. Child abuse, be it physical or sexual, rarely occurs in public where there are witnesses. The abuser is often a parent, other family or household member, or person who has responsibility for the care or custody of a child, such as a caretaker. Often times, the only witnesses to these types of crimes are the victim and the perpetrator.

In Howard County, the investigation and prosecution of these sensitive cases are handled by a multi-disciplinary team and with the goal of always putting the child first.  Our team includes dedicated professionals from Child Protective Services, the Howard County Police Department, a pediatrician, a victim advocate and, of course, prosecutors from our Office.  Everyone working with child victims has received specialized training in the investigation and prosecution of these unique cases.

Crimes Against Vulnerable Adults

The  Howard County State's Attorney's Office is part of the Crimes Against Vulnerable Adult Task Force. The Task Force is comprised of Adult Protective Services case workers, members of the Howard County Police Department’s Violent Crimes and Financial Crimes Units and two prosecutors from the State's Attorney's Office.  The goals of the task force are a multi-disciplinary approach to criminal cases of neglect and physical or financial abuse, as well as community outreach and education. The Office also participates in a state-wide task force in conjunction with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and other state and federal agencies.  Each case of neglect or abuse is reviewed by the prosecutors for potential indictment and prosecution. This unit has successfully prosecuted cases of assisted living abuse, financial exploitation by con-artists posing as landscapers and home improvement contractors, abuse against the mentally disabled, and financial fraud against the elderly. 

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is a significant problem in America, as well as in Howard County.  Our Office’s goal is to hold abusers accountable for their actions. Often, complex family and emotional issues surround each domestic violence case. The prosecutor has to consider the facts and circumstances of each case, including victim and community safety, in an effort to seek the appropriate outcome.

The Office of the State's Attorney’s Victim Witness Assistance Unit proactively works with domestic violence victims shortly after criminal cases are filed in order to ensure safety measures are in place for the victim and to provide support throughout the court process. We also collaborate with our domestic violence community partner, HopeWorks, which provides services and counseling to victims of domestic violence.  HopeWorks also provides an abuser intervention program which is often ordered as a condition of probation to assist in breaking the cycle of domestic violence.

Firearm Crimes Unit

The Firearm Crimes Unit is comprised of prosecutors who work closely with the Howard County Police Department’s firearms detective on firearm-related cases. Nearly all cases in Howard County involving the illegal possession of a firearm are indicted in the circuit court. This Office also works in conjunction with the United States Attorney’s Office in an effort to maximize the penalties for serious and repeat offenders of state and federal firearm laws.

Human Trafficking

First established in 2012, the State's Attorney's Office Human Trafficking Unit works in conjunction with the Vice Unit of the Howard County Police Department to combat Human Trafficking. Each case is assigned to the unit prosecutors for review. Our Office participates in the Howard County and Maryland Human Trafficking Task Forces. Our prosecutors have successfully handled Human Trafficking cases involving children as young as thirteen.  The Office’s Victim Witness Assistance Unit has worked toward getting all victims of Human Trafficking enrolled in treatment and rehabilitation services.  Along with the Howard County Police Department, our Office continues to work to change the cultural attitude towards prostitution victims so that these individuals are treated with dignity and are given a voice against their trafficker in court.