2018 Maryland election results

Ivan Bates

Ivan Bates
  • Democrat
  • Age: 50
  • Residence: Rampart Mews, Baltimore

About Ivan Bates


My father was in the military, so as a kid I went to school in New Mexico, Virginia, and even Germany. After high school, I enlisted into United States Army. After my honorable discharge, I graduated cum laude from Howard University in 1992 and recieved my law degree from William & Mary in Virginia in 1995.


I began my legal career working for the NAACP Legal Defense protecting civil rights. I soon became a law clerk to Judge David Mitchell in 1995 and in 1996, I was hired by Patricia Jessmy to become an Assistant State’s Attorney. After working in the public sector, I moved to the private sector and worked for Schulman, Treem from 2004 to 2006. In 2006 is when I started my law firm, Bates and Garcia.


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Nolle prosse
What specifically will you do as state's attorney to minimize the number of cases that are nolle prossed?
Bates: Charging someone with a crime is the greatest power the State’s Attorney has and it must be exercised with great discretion. My office will be selective and strategic at the initial charging stage at central booking. I plan to reinstitute felony screeners and conduct more preliminary hearings to weed out bad cases within 30 days instead of six to eight months.
Police trust
Given your professional experience, do you trust the Baltimore Police Department?
Bates: As in any relationship, you must have trust and trust is earned. As a homicide prosecutor, my job wasn’t about trust, but the evidence and the law. I evaluated the evidence and studied the case brought to my office by the Department, and exercised my professional judgment about whether or not there was probable cause that a crime had occurred. Being an attorney for 23 years, it’s about building a case based on the evidence. There will be good and bad police officers, and as with any relationship, it must be based on trust.
Gray prosecutions
How do you evaluate the charging and prosecution of the officers involved in Freddie Gray's arrest?
Bates: The charging was rushed and the theory of the case was confusing. Many believe that Mr. Gray was injured on the street, but the State’s Attorney believed he was injured inside the police van. To prove this, the State’s Attorney granted outright immunity to too many different police officers involved in the incident – and as the case developed, realized that was probably a mistake. The two prosecutors assigned to handle the trial by State’s Attorney had never prosecuted a homicide in their career. The Freddie Gray trials were not the right time for them to get their start. The expert testimony was weak, and the State’s Attorney never put forth a proper expert on police use of force.
Prosecutor retention
What would you do to attract and retain experienced prosecutors?
Bates: There is a long list of experienced prosecutors who have left the State’s Attorney’s Office and a number of them have expressed an interest in coming back under my administration. In addition, a number of attorneys at the state and federal level have expressed an interest in working with me. The State’s Attorney’s Office under my leadership will be a office where prosecutors will have discretion in handling their cases and will have some of the top lawyers and judges to host training sessions. It will be an office where the culture will be one of support, creativity, and teamwork.
Officer do-not-call
Do you plan to maintain a "do not call" list of police officers who aren't reliable witnesses?
Bates: Yes
Repeat offenders
What will your approach be to dealing with violent repeat offenders, and how will that differ from previous efforts?
Bates: My first week, my team will evaluate every case involving a violent repeat offender. I will select the ten best trial lawyers and they will each be assigned ten cases with the understanding that they’re going to trial and cannot plea. Once we have won the cases in trials and have held the violent offenders accountable, we will then be able to send a message that the State’s Attorney’s Office will hold repeat violent offenders accountable. We then can focus on community prosecution – to collaboratively work with the police and community and focus on violent repeat offenders.
What will you do to ensure the public can accurately judge the effectiveness of city prosecutors in securing convictions?
Bates: As State’s Attorney, I will follow the lead the city of Chicago and release all raw data and statistics generated by my office related to its performance (which data remains unavailable under the current administration).
Witness cooperation
What can the state's attorney do to overcome the reluctance of many witnesses in Baltimore to cooperate with police and prosecutors and to testify in court?
Bates: My office will use all the legal tools we have to protect the identity of witnesses. For instance, we will ask for protective orders. The community liaison will be the contact person between the prosecutor and the witness after a statement is provided. In addition, we will go to Annapolis to ask for more funding for safe housing for victims and witnesses.
Special skills
What do you bring to the table that Baltimore needs that the other candidates don't have?
Bates: I am the only candidate in this race that has seen the criminal justice system through the eyes of both the defendant and victim. I have 23 years of experience and I am the only candidate that has worked in every unit in the State’s Attorney’s Office– district, juvenile, circuit, and homicide as prosecutor. As an assistant state’s attorney, I never lost a murder trial. As a defense attorney, I had the opportunity to work at a law firm and also, started my own firm. I have effectively operated a successful law office and I have trained new attorneys to become successful. I have worked with the police and I have also sued the police. Throughout my career, I have formed relationships that are the key to making the system work to protect us from violence. In a nutshell, I bring leadership, experience, and results.

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