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For 125 years, MSBA has been the home of the entire legal profession. We continue to serve our members and the public by connecting with important leaders around the state and talking about the issues that matter to our members. Recently, we spoke with candidates for Attorney General, including James Shalleck, to learn more about his goals and positions.

The MSBA is apolitical and does not support any particular candidate but aims to increase awareness of each candidate’s plans for moving our state forward.

Shalleck describes his passions as public service and prosecution.  He is running for Attorney General to reduce crime, specifically to reduce the number of violent crimes and repeat offenders in Maryland, which he believes is the most important function of the position.

After growing up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, Shalleck graduated from law school. He worked as an Assistant District Attorney in the Bronx for 12 years; for 10 of those years, he worked in the Homicide Bureau, trying cases. He was promoted to Chief of the Homicide Bureau of the Bronx, where he supervised about 20 attorneys and 80 detectives in the investigation and prosecution of over 400 murders a year. He was then appointed as an Assistant Attorney General for New York, where he prosecuted white-collar crimes. He came to Maryland in 1989 to work in the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Justice Department. At the same time, he became involved in politics and ran for several positions, although none of his bids were successful.

Shalleck believes his background makes him uniquely qualified to serve as Attorney General. He knows how to prosecute cases, and he wants to use the office to fight street crime, which is what he believes people in Maryland care about most. While other issues like housing and education are important, reducing crime is his most critical concern. He envisions redefining the role as a statewide prosecutor, noting that the Maryland Constitution provides the Attorney General with criminal prosecution authority. He would offer to intervene when the State’s attorneys lack the means to process cases.

Shalleck advocates for more police funding and protecting the police. He wants to hold judges accountable, as, in his opinion, there is not enough transparency when it comes to the sentences they deliver. He agrees with outgoing Attorney General Brian Frosh’s position that ghost guns should be banned but supports the Second Amendment and the right to lawful possession of guns. He also agrees with Governor Larry Hogan’s efforts to reduce the number of violent offenders on the street, noting he understands the impact of violent crime on families.

Shalleck addressed redistricting as well. He prefers that independent commissions draw redistricting maps but believes that is not in the interest of politicians. When redistricting affects minorities, though, it needs to be addressed. While he does not support partisan gerrymandering unless it disenfranchises people by their race or ethnicity, he understands it.  He did not see any provable evidence of voting fraud but does not know if fraud occurred. He is concerned that Maryland does not check signatures or require identification.

The discussion then turned to environmental concerns, with Shalleck stating that major polluters should go to jail and pay substantial fines. He explained that he would put an assistant Attorney General at different offices around the state on a regular basis so that people in the community could report pollution.

Shalleck would recruit nationwide and promote Maryland as a great place to live to attract the best attorneys to the Attorney General’s office. He believes that public awareness could help efforts to increase the salaries for attorneys working in the Attorney General’s office.

Shalleck is not in favor of the legalization of recreational marijuana use but does not think that people should be heavily penalized for minor infractions. He does not support the government creating safe drug consumption sites in Maryland communities.

You can view the entire conversation with Shalleck and all the Attorney General candidates who spoke with the MSBA here.