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Biden nominates Prince George’s lawmaker for U.S. attorney for Maryland

On Monday, President Joe Biden nominated Del. Erek Barron, D-Prince George’s to be the next U.S. attorney for Maryland. If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, he would become Maryland’s first Black U.S. attorney. (File Photo)

President Joe Biden on Monday nominated Maryland state Del. Erek L. Barron to be the next U.S. attorney for Maryland.

If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Barron would become Maryland’s top federal prosecutor, a post Jonathan F. Lenzner has held on an interim basis since Robert K. Hur stepped down in February.

Barron, who would also become Maryland’s first Black U.S. attorney, declined to comment Monday on his nomination.

The 47-year-old Democrat, who served as an aide to Biden when he was in the U.S. Senate, has represented Prince George’s County in the House of Delegates since 2015.

Barron, who chairs the county’s House delegation, has been a strong voice for criminal justice reform, including the landmark 2016 Justice Reinvestment Act that changed the way the state’s criminal justice system treats non-violent offenders from a tool of punishment to a gateway to treatment. He has endorsed curtailing cash bail and expunging arrest records for alleged crimes that did not result in conviction.

Barron has also pressed for additional inspectors general in state agencies to reduce waste, fraud and abuse.

Barron is a partner at the law firm Whiteford Taylor & Preston LLP in Rockville and Washington, where he focuses on business litigation and crisis management, according to the firm’s website.

The 1999 George Washington University Law School graduate spent much of his early legal career as a prosecutor, first as an assistant state’s attorney in Prince George’s County from 2001 to 2004 and in Baltimore from 2004 to 2006, where he prosecuted gun offenses.

He then served a year as a U.S. Justice Department trial attorney before becoming Biden’s policy adviser and counsel on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs from 2007 to 2009, according to a biography in the Maryland Manual On-Line and information provided by the White House.

Barron left to go into private practice with his own firm, Barron and Associates LLC, before joining Whiteford Taylor in 2012. He became a partner in 2018.

Maryland’s two U.S. senators, both Democrats, recommended to Biden that he pick Barron to be the state’s top federal prosecutor.

“Maryland needs a U.S. attorney with integrity and independence, as well as the strength and experience to tackle the unacceptably high level of violent crime in Baltimore City,” Sen. Ben Cardin said in a statement.

“Erek has demonstrated a passion for public service throughout his entire career and he will bring to this position a unique set of professional experiences and skills that will serve Marylanders well,” Cardin added. “His track record of enacting reforms to the criminal justice system and serving as a federal and state prosecutor – including prosecuting cases in Baltimore City and Prince George’s County – make him well-positioned to take on this lead federal law enforcement role for our state.”

Sen. Chris Van Hollen said Maryland “must have a U.S. attorney who is fiercely committed to delivering equal justice under the law to every Marylander.”

“Erek Barron’s tireless efforts to build a better, fairer justice system in Maryland, his years of experience serving our constituents, and his deep understanding of the challenges we face qualify him as an outstanding nomination for this position,” Van Hollen added in his statement. “Together with Senator Cardin, I was proud to recommend Erek to serve in this role, and I know he will work with us to improve public safety, address gun violence, uphold the city of Baltimore’s consent decree (with the U.S. Justice Department ), and strengthen our justice system. We’ll be working to confirm his historic nomination at once.”

No date has been set for Barron’s confirmation hearing before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.

Barron’s nomination was one of eight announced by the White House on Monday. If confirmed by the Senate, the nominees would run offices in the District of Columbia, Indiana, Massachusetts, New York and Washington state, in addition to Maryland.