The office of State Prosecutor was established by Constitutional amendment (Chapter 612, Acts of 1976, ratified Nov. 2, 1976). An independent unit within the Office of the Attorney General, the State Prosecutor's office began operation January 1977.

The State Prosecutor may investigate on his own initiative, or at the request of the Governor, the Attorney General, the General Assembly, the State Ethics Commission, or a state's attorney, certain criminal offenses. These include violations of State laws on elections, public ethics, or bribery involving public officials or employees; misconduct in office by public officials or employees; and extortion, perjury, or obstruction of justice related to any of the above. At the request of the Governor, Attorney General, General Assembly, or a state's attorney, the State Prosecutor also may investigate alleged crimes conducted partly in Maryland and partly in another jurisdiction, or in more than one political subdivision of the State. In investigating and prosecuting cases in which he is authorized to act, the State Prosecutor has all the powers and duties of a State's Attorney.

If a violation of the criminal law has occurred, the State Prosecutor makes a confidential report of these findings, with recommendations for prosecution, to the Attorney General and the State's Attorney having jurisdiction to prosecute the matter. Such a report need not be made to the State's Attorney, however, if the State Prosecutor's findings and recommendations contain allegations of offenses committed by the State's Attorney. If the State's Attorney to whom the report is rendered fails to file charges within 45 days in accordance with the State Prosecutor's recommendations, the State Prosecutor may prosecute such offenses. The State Prosecutor immediately may prosecute offenses set forth in the report and recommendations if they are alleged to have been committed by a State's Attorney.

Where no violation of the criminal law has occurred or prosecution is not recommended, the State Prosecutor reports these findings to the person requesting the investigation. The report is made available to the public if the subject of the investigation so requests.

Nominated by the State Prosecutor Selection and Disabilities Commission, the State Prosecutor is appointed to a six-year term by the Governor with Senate advice and consent (Code State Government Article, secs. 9-1201 through 9-1213).

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July 18, 2000   
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