Every state in the United States is divided up into federal districts. Maryland only has one district, the District of Maryland, that covers the entire state. The District of Maryland houses a federal court in that jurisdiction. In Maryland, there are two places where cases get divided between – the court in Baltimore, and the court in Greenbelt. The southern division is located in Greenbelt, and the northern division is in Baltimore. If you are confused about which court your case will be heard it, it is important to contact a Maryland federal criminal lawyer today.
The case that is most likely to be brought in court is a fraud case, where large amounts of money are involved. Further, there are large scale narcotics cases, weapons cases, and other types of fraud cases like healthcare fraud and social security fraud that are likely to be brought to court. The United States Attorney’s Office for the district of Maryland prosecutes those cases. This office is made up of federal prosecutors, or assistant U.S. attorneys who prosecute the cases in federal court.
There are many white collar charges that do not require movement between states to be charged as federal crimes. For example, drug conspiracy cases do not require that there be any sort of interstate activity. Other cases that do not require any sort of interstate activity include weapons charges, healthcare, or government program fraud.
An individual can also be charged with a federal white collar offense for something that takes place outside of the U.S. For example, traveling abroad to engage in illegal sexual activity can be prosecuted as a federal crime, even though the purported sexual activity did not occur in the United States. The United States government has established jurisdiction over its citizens even for activity abroad, and U.S. law recognizes that extended jurisdiction.
If the federal district of Maryland has jurisdiction, then it doesn’t matter where an individual lives – they can be charged in Maryland.
Federal judges are appointed to their position, so they have a certain degree of freedom from the electorate. However, state judges in Maryland are elected, so they may be beholden to voters more than federal judges. Also, federal judges tend to handle larger scale cases, whether they would be criminal or civil, than state judges. State judges might handle some of these cases, but they tend to handle a docket that is more varied. State court judges, however, handle a wider variety of topics. They can handle divorce, neglect, and traffic cases. Whereas, federal judges tend to handle a narrower scope of topics.
There are a lot of differences between federal and state prosecutors. Sometimes, federal prosecutors will be better trained, and will normally have a much lower federal white collar case load than state prosecutors. In turn, these prosecutors often have more resources at their disposal to prosecute cases. Also, in Maryland, prosecutors are elected. Therefore, there is a political component involved when appointing a prosecutor. This differs from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, where the U.S. Attorney is appointed by the President, and then the assistant United States attorneys are hired underneath that person. In that situation, there is a little bit less of a political component.