The Office of State Prosecutor was established by Constitutional amendment and legislation in 1976 (Chapter 612, Acts of 1976, ratified Nov. 1976). The State Prosecutor’s Office began operation January, 1977.
The State Prosecutor may investigate on his/her 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: 1) State election law violations; 2) State public ethics law violations; 3) State bribery law violations involving public officials or employees; 4) misconduct in office by public officials or employees; and 5) 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.
If a violation of the criminal law has occurred, and the State Prosecutor recommends prosecution, he/she makes a confidential report of his findings and recommendations 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 may immediately 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 his/her findings to the agency mentioned in paragraph one above that requested the investigation. The report is made available to the public if the subject of the investigation so requests.
In investigating and prosecuting cases in which he/she is authorized to act, the State Prosecutor has all the powers and duties of a State’s Attorney.
The State Prosecutor is nominated by the State Prosecutor Selection and Disabilities Commission and appointed by the Governor for a term of six years and until his successor is appointed and qualifies. He/She may be removed only for misconduct in office, persistent failure to perform the duties of the office, or conduct prejudicial to the proper administration of justice. (Criminal Procedure Article, Sections 14-101 thru 14-114, Annotated Code of Maryland).