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Maryland Attorney General – Law Enforcement

April 27, 2011

This is what the Maryland Attorney General – Law Enforcement website tells us about how they protect Maryland by supporting law enforcement and fighting cybercrime, by prosecuting individuals who do not have the right to possess regulated firearms, by committing sex offenders, by fighting while collar crime, and by advocating for consumers. See how they can help you today.

Maryland Attorney General: Law Enforcement and Protecting Maryland

Supporting Law Enforcement. One of the Attorney General’s principal goals is to utilize the full resources of the Office of the Attorney General to support the efforts of police and prosecutors throughout the state in the fight against crime. The Criminal Appeals Division, which handles all appeals of convictions, obtains a favorable result in 90 percent of the cases we handle. The Attorney General personally has focused on giving law enforcement the tools it needs to better serve the citizens of Maryland, obtaining a ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court in Maryland v. Wilson, that police officers be given the authority to order passengers out of a lawfully stopped vehicle when necessary to protect the officers and, in Maryland v. Craig, upholding Maryland’s law so children who are victims of child abuse can testify via one-way television.

Fighting Cybercrime. In 2004 the Attorney General proposed, drafted, and then successfully advocated for legislation to protect Maryland children from sexual predators. At the time state laws made it a crime for an adult to engage in sexual conduct with a child 15 or younger. The Attorney General’s proposal made it a crime to solicit a minor by computer, telephone, or any other means, to engage in unlawful sexual conduct. The law also permits prosecution if the person solicited was believed to be a minor, but in actuality was an undercover police officer.

Attorney General Gansler’s Firearms Trafficking Unit, in cooperation with the Firearms Licensing and Registration Division and the Firearms Enforcement Section of the Maryland State Police, participates in the seizure of hundreds of firearms every year, and performs hundreds of traces of recovered firearms. In its effort to eliminate illegal purchases, sales, transfers and possessions of firearms, the Firearms Trafficking Unit investigates a substantial number of applications to purchase regulated firearms–resulting in the Unit bringing charges against a number of individuals who do not have the right to possess regulated firearms.

With the cooperation of several gun dealers across the state, the Firearms Trafficking Unit has also initiated a program that maintains ammunition logs that include identification information of purchasers of ammunition. Review of these logs results in the investigation of individuals who are prohibited from possessing regulated firearms and who are believed to have purchased ammunition which could be used in such firearms. The Firearm Trafficking Unit’s continuing investigations have led to charges and arrests of individuals and the seizure of handguns from those that violate the law.

Civil Commitment of Sex Offenders. The Attorney General supported legislation on behalf of a bill that would enable Maryland to join 15 other states and Washington, D.C., where civil commitment and treatment of convicted sex offenders is legal. Such legislation would have prevented the tragic death of 9-year-old Christopher Ausherman, who was found dead in a Frederick baseball dugout in November 2000. Convicted sex offender Elmer Spencer, Jr., was convicted in the murder case. The Attorney General will continue to fight for civil commitment legislation in an effort to protect our children and others from mentally-ill criminals who are released untreated into society. (Author’s Note: I remember that case.)

Advocating for Consumers. The Consumer Protection Division, with offices in Baltimore, Hagerstown and Salisbury, has assisted thousands of consumers in fighting predatory lenders to “hucksters” making fraudulent claims of “miracle cures” for diseases such as cancer and AIDS. The Health Education and Advocacy Unit receives over 14,000 complaints annually from consumers who have disputes with merchants and health care providers, HMOs and insurers. The mediation efforts of those units obtained more than $5 million in refunds and savings to consumers who filed complaints in 2001. During the past decade, the Division’s Enforcement Unit obtained tens of millions of dollars in consumer restitution and penalties. Visit the Consumer Protection Division page.

Protecting the Environment. In the Office of the Attorney General, there is a dedicated unit to enforce Maryland’s environmental laws against those who release dangerous toxins into our air, land and waterways and against those who illegally dump tires in our forests and in our neighborhoods. His “Operation Tire Track” initiative, works cooperatively with state and federal agencies in the fight to preserve Maryland’s natural resources for future generations.

In 2002, the Attorney General and eight fellow Attorneys General, urged the Bush administration not to weaken the Clean Air Act of 1970, which provides for the reduction of power plant pollution that causes smog, acid rain and respiratory disease. He also represents the State in a national initiative to sue power plants across the country whose emissions travel to Maryland for failure to comply with the New Source Review, which requires old power plants to upgrade their pollution controls when they make any alterations to their plants.

White Collar Crimes. The Criminal Investigations Division prosecutes white collar and insurance fraud, while the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit takes action against those committing Medicaid Fraud in Maryland. Gansler’s Antitrust Division enforce’s the laws that provide a fair and competitive marketplace for Maryland consumers and businesses, while the Securities Division’s primary function is to protect Maryland investors from investment fraud and misrepresentation.

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