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The Dripby Fern Shen6:08 pmApr 5, 20170

Consent decree hearing will proceed; judge denies U.S. request for “pause”

Public may sign up to speak at 9 a.m tomorrow (Thursday) at U.S. District Court, 101 West Lombard Street

Above: U.S. District court Judge James Bredar at a 2013 ABA conference in St. Louis. (americanbar.org)

A public hearing about the Baltimore police consent decree will take place as scheduled tomorrow (Thursday April 6) now that the federal judge overseeing the decree has denied a motion by the U.S. Justice Department to pause it.

The DOJ’s request is “untimely” and “inappropriate,” said U.S. District Court Judge James K. Bredar in a motion filed today.

Noting that the DOJ request came just two days ago (“at the close of business on Monday April 3”), Bredar said the last-minute motion was unfair to the parties, to the courthouse personnel who have rearranged dockets and assigned extra security and, primarily, to the public.

“It is reasonable to expect that hundreds of individuals plan to attend and participate, and that they have rearranged their work, school and personal calendars accordingly,” Bredar wrote.

“The primary purpose of this hearing is to hear from the public; it would be especially inappropriate to grant this late request for a delay when it would be the public who were most adversely affected by a postponement,” he wrote.

The hearing was scheduled nearly two months ago, but it stems from a consent decree originating during the previous presidential administration.

Citing President Donald Trump’s February executive order that federal government would “prioritize crime reduction,” the DOJ has asked for a 90-day pause to review Baltimore’s consent decree.

That process is not hindered by the public hearing, Bredar observed. “The government proffers no real prejudice to them if the hearing proceeds as scheduled,” he wrote.

The hearing will be held at U.S. District Court in Baltimore, 101 West Lombard St., beginning at 9:30 a.m.

Those interested in speaking may sign up at 9 a.m. outside Courtroom 1-A. The hearing will end at 5 p.m.

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