Shykill Brewer, who was arrested on a misdemeanor drug charge days before Christmas, is among dozens of Baltimore suspects who have been detained for days with no chance at release, after being charged directly by prosecutors instead of by police. Officials say the unusual strategy is key to taking down major criminal organizations, but they also acknowledge problems that have led to long delays.
In the 205 cases initiated last year by the office of State's Attorney Gregg L. Bernstein, 20 percent of defendants waited more than five days for an initial appearance in court, according to a Baltimore Sun review. One man waited nearly two months.
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