Project Exile and Its Enemies

Article excerpt

Byline: THE WASHINGTON TIMES

In an interview with The Washington Times on Friday, a spokesman for Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich denied that the administration has decided not to ask the General Assembly to approve a state version of a Project Exile - a program, modeled after a highly successful anti-crime initiative begun in Richmond,Va., which would impose stricter sentences on criminals using guns in the commission of a crime. Henry Fawell, a spokesman for Mr. Ehrlich, said the governor may propose a package of "exile-like" legislation when the legislature returns in January.

This is welcome news, because we believe that Project Exile has an important role to play in making Maryland's streets safer. Unfortunately, an obstructionist state legislature has prevented Mr. Ehrlich from getting the program implemented statewide. Currently, the mandatory sentences embodied in Project Exile are only being implemented by U.S. Attorney Thomas DiBiagio, working with the local state's attorneys' office, in Maryland's most dangerous jurisdictions: Prince George's County and Baltimore.

Following his inauguration as governor last January, Mr. Ehrlich sent legislation to implement Project Exile statewide to the General Assembly, where it encountered intense opposition. The measure was effectively killed in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee by Chairman Brian Frosh, Montgomery Democrat. Mr. Frosh refused to pass the bill unless Mr. Ehrlich agreed to a "compromise" forcing him to accept new legislation to take guns away from law-abiding folks. When Mr. Ehrlich refused to cave, Mr. Frosh saw to it that Project Exile was killed. …