Attorney General, January 1987 to January 2, 2007.
Member, Governor's Executive Council, 1987-2007; State's Attorneys' Coordination Council, 1987-92; Governor's Advisory Board for Justice Administration (formerly Governor's Advisory Board for Justice Assistance), 1987-95; Board of State Canvassers, 1987-2007; Commission on Correctional Standards, 1987-2007; Correctional Training Commission, 1987-2007; Criminal Justice Information Advisory Board, 1987-2007; Police Training Commission, 1987-2007; Maryland State Employees Surety Bond Committee, 1987-2007; State Prosecutor Selection and Disabilities Commission, 1987-2007. Chair, State Board of Victim Services, 1988-92 (member, 1995-2007). Member, Governor's Drug and Alcohol Abuse Commission, 1989-95.
Member, Appellate Courts Judicial Nominating Commission, 2007-. Assistant Vice-President for Policy and Compliance, Injured Workers' Insurance Fund, 2007-. Chair, Sexual Offender Advisory Board, 2010-17.
Member, House of Delegates, representing District 3, Baltimore City, January 7, 1959 to January 2, 1963. Member, Banking, Insurance and Social Security Committee; Education Committee.
Member, State Senate, January 2, 1963 to January 12, 1983 (representing District 3, Baltimore City, 1963-66, and District 43, Baltimore City, 1966-83). Chair, Public Utilities Committee, 1963-66. Member, Banking and Insurance Committee; City Senators Committee; Education Committee (vice-chair); Executive Nominations Committee; Judicial Proceedings Committee; Motor Vehicles Committee; Veterans and Civil Defense Committee; Committee on Taxation and Fiscal Matters, 1965; Legislative Liaison Committee for the Constitutional Convention, 1967-68; Rules Committee, 1967-74; Legislative Policy Committee (formerly Legislative Council), 1967-83. Chair, Judicial Proceedings Committee, 1967-83.
Vice-Chair, Maryland Higher Education Loan Corporation, 1963-92. Member, Maryland Cuban Refugee Resettlement Committee, 1963-65; Regional Planning Council, 1963-83; Maryland Highway Safety Coordinating Committee, 1972-83; Governor's Commission to Study Sovereign Immunity, 1975-76; Task Force to Study Circuit Court Unification, 1976-77; Task Force on Crime, 1976-77; Governor's Commission on Domestic Relations Laws, 1976-86; Task Force on Public Safety and Correctional Services, 1980; Commission to Study the Judicial Branch of Government, 1981-82. Chair, Task Force to Review the Defense of Insanity, 1982-85.
Lieutenant Governor of Maryland, January 19, 1983 to January 21, 1987. Member, Governor's Executive Council, 1983-87. Chair, Committee to Study Flexibility for Higher Education, 1983-84. Member, State Development Council, 1983-84. Chair, Task Force on the Drinking Driver, 1983-86. Vice-Chair, Maryland Council on the Economy, Environment, and Energy Production, 1983-87. Chair, Task Force on Victims' Services, 1984-85; Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, 1984-87; Liability Insurance Task Force, 1985. Member, Joint Executive-Legislative Task Force on Medical Malpractice Insurance, 1985; Task Force on Mentally Ill Offenders, 1985-86. Chair, State Trade Policy Council, 1985-87; Governor's Oversight Committee on Liability Insurance, 1986.
Born in West Palm Beach, Florida, July 7, 1931. Attended Baltimore parochial schools; Loyola High School, Towson, Maryland; University of Baltimore. Served in U.S. Air Force, 1951-55. University of Baltimore School of Law, LL.B., 1959. Admitted to Maryland Bar, 1959. Attorney. Member, Maryland State Bar Association. Delegate, Democratic Party National Convention, 1992, 1996, 2000. Board of Trustees, Baltimore City Historical Society, 2002-. Distinguished Scholar, Towson University, 2009-10. Certificate of Appreciation, Maryland Legal Services Corporation, 1988. Distinguished Service Award, Mental Health Association of Maryland, 1989. Special Achievement Award, Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, 1989. Pro Bono Award, Maryland's Volunteer Lawyers Service, 1990. Elected Official of the Year, Young Democrats of Maryland, 1990. Achievement Award, American Cancer Society, 1991, 1995. Award of Appreciation, State Board of Victim Services, 1992. Arthur W. Machen, Jr., Award, Maryland Legal Services Corportation, 1994. Certificate of Appreciation, House of Ruth, 1995, 1997. Lawmaker of the Year, American Heart Association, 1995-96. Advocate of the Year Award, Smoke Free Maryland, 1997. Jack Lodge Award (commitment to protecting Maryland's citizens from the tobacco industry), 1997. Outstanding Leadership Award, Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence, 1997. Breath of Life Award, American Lung Association of Maryland, 1999. Robert C. Heeney Award, Criminal Law Section, Maryland State Bar Association, 2003. Chesapeake Champion Award, Waterkeeper Alliance, 2005. Kelley-Wyman Memorial Award, National Association of Attorneys General, 2006. Lifetime Achievement Award, Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition, Inc., 2006. Access to Justice Award, Women's Law Center of Maryland, 2006. Hopeline Law Enforcement Partnership Award, Verizon Wireless, and Verizon Foundation, 2006. Fraud Fighter of the Year Award, Maryland Chapter, Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, 2007. Public Service Award, American Legacy Foundation, 2007. First Citizen Award, Maryland Senate, 2007. Robert M. Bell Medal for Access to Justice, Maryland Legal Services Corportation, 2007. J. Joseph Curran Public Service Award, Maryland Bar Foundation, 2007. Living History Honoree, Baltimore City Historical Society, 2010. Lifetime Achievement Award, Governor's Leadership in Aging Awards, 2012. Married; five children.
In 1986, Mr. Curran was elected Attorney General after serving four years as Lieutenant Governor with Governor Harry R. Hughes. In 1990, 1994, 1998, and 2002, he won re-election. Under Mr. Curran, the Attorney General's Office has been a national leader in consumer protection, criminal investigations, Medicaid fraud prosecution, securities regulation, and antitrust enforcement.
During his tenure, Mr. Curran has worked tirelessly on behalf of children and teens, parents, seniors, victims of domestic violence and sexual predators, and all Marylanders concerned about crime, gun violence, prescription drug abuse, and the potential impact of casino gambling.
Children & Teens. Mr. Curran has launched a variety of initiatives to help Maryland's children. To protect them against sexual predators, he championed a 2004 law making it a crime to solicit a minor by computer or other means to engage in unlawful sexual conduct. He also has proposed lifetime parole supervision for sex offenders and better notification to communities when sex offenders are released from prison. To reduce teen tobacco use, he led Maryland's participation in the landmark $206 billion national settlement with the tobacco industry, which garnered $4.4 billion for Maryland, and industry concessions on advertising and marketing cigarettes to teens. He has since filed suits to stop unlawful Internet cigarette sales and the use of hip-hop themes to target youth, and has reached agreements with national cigarette retailers to prevent sales to youth. He also led a multi-state initiative to encourage the motion picture industry to decrease smoking in youth-rated movies. To reduce juvenile crime, Mr. Curran issued a report on the link between children's exposure to media violence and youth aggression and delinquency, and distributed 600,000 media violence diaries to help parents monitor their children’s consumption of media violence. Mr. Curran has promoted juvenile crime prevention programs to help at-risk youth, including a mentoring program within his own office, and he conducted a statewide youth listening tour to make recommendations in his report, In Their Own Words, about how adults can improve their response to teens' problems.
Prescription Drugs. To help Marylanders without insurance Mr. Curran created a first-of-its-kind drug-pricing website, which allows consumers to compare retail prices charged by different pharmacies in Maryland for commonly used prescription drugs. He also has developed educational outreach materials to help seniors make good decisions about Medicare Part D, the complex new federal prescription drug benefit.
Crime, Gun Violence, & the Death Penalty. In a landmark 1990 case, Maryland v. Craig, Attorney General Curran successfully urged the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold Maryland's law permitting victims of child abuse to testify via one-way television. Also before the Supreme Court, the Attorney General successfully litigated Maryland v. Wilson (1997). The Attorney General argued that police officers, who routinely conduct traffic stops that sometimes turn deadly, may order the passenger out of the car to allow the officer to safely process the traffic stop. Mr. Curran has long been a champion of efforts to reduce the epidemic of gun violence. He has worked for better laws and resources to help law enforcement keep guns out of the hands of criminals, including calling for restrictions on the ownership of handguns and establishing a firearms trafficking unit dedicated to the prosecution of persons who unlawfully purchase or attempt to purchase firearms. Always, he has called for abolition of the death penalty because inevitaby its continued use will lead to an irrevocable, unacceptable mistake - the execution of an innocent person.
Slot-Machine & Casino Gambling. Mr. Curran has been a consistent opponent of efforts to bring slot-machine and casino gambling to the State since his comprehensive study, The House Never Loses and Maryland Cannot Win. His conclusion that the costs of slot machines would far outweigh the benefits has since been supported by academic scholarship.
Domestic Violence. From his creation and stewardship of the Family Violence Council over ten years ago, through his latest initiative, Cut It Out, which provides outreach to victims through beauty salons, Mr. Curran has promoted new laws, developed innovative programs, and collaborated on training and education to help victims of domestic violence and reduce its tragic impact in Maryland.
Prescription Drug Abuse. Mr. Curran has released a report on the growing problem of prescription drug abuse among Maryland teens and adults, and developed the blueprint for a prescription monitoring program to help law enforcement and health professionals reduce drug diversion and abuse and improve pharmaceutical therapy. He also is calling for increased criminal penalties for prescription drug diversion.
Advanced Directives/Living Wills. Mr. Curran has led the effort to empower people in taking control of difficult decisions they may face at the end of their lives. He began with a groundbreaking opinion early in his tenure that a competent, terminally-ill patient can refuse life-sustaining treatment, and continued with broad educational outreach and dissemination of advanced directives. In 2005, he expanded that outreach by making living wills available in Spanish. He has issued the nation's first comprehensive guide to the role and responsibilities of a health care proxy, as well as a report on policy issues related to Alzheimer's disease. He also has successfully promoted legislation that created a state advisory council on end-of-life care, as well as legislation providing additional protections for Marylanders who become subjects in medical research.
Under Mr. Curran, the Attorney General's Office is one of the country's best. The Medicaid Fraud Division has obtained numerous convictions of health care providers engaged in defrauding the Medicaid Program, as well as of persons guilty of abuse or neglect of vulnerable adults. The Division also recovered millions of dollars for the Medicaid Program. Under Mr. Curran's direction, the Criminal Investigations Division has convicted hundreds of white collar criminals, both in State government and private industry, obtaining prison sentences all over the State and orders of restitution totalling millions of dollars. The Divsion has targeted such areas as public corruption, health care fraud, illegal gun trafficking, insurance and securities fraud, tax evasion, embezzlement, and vulnerable adult exploitation. The Consumer Protection Division also has obtained millions of dollars in restitution and fines through enforcement actions and in relief for consumers through its mediation efforts. The Securities Division protects Maryland investors from investment fraud and misrepresentation by administering and enforcing the provisions of the Maryland Securities Act, the Maryland Franchise Registration and Disclosure Law, the Maryland Business Opportunity Sales Act, and the Maryland Multilevel Distribution Companies Law. The Antitrust Division enforces the State’s antitrust laws and has recovered millions of dollars for both consumers and the State of Maryland; most recently, the Division recovered nearly $2.5 million for consumers and $3.4 million for the State of Maryland in seven separate antitrust cases brought against drug companies that were alleged to have entered into illegal contracts. In addition, Mr. Curran established an in-house continuing education program; encouraged assistant attorneys general to handle pro bono cases; and has recovered millions of dollars for the State in various cases.
Attorney General Curran began his career in public service in 1958 when he was elected to the House of Delegates as a law student. In 1962, he was elected to the State Senate. During this time, despite angry demonstrators picketing his home, he advocated open housing laws for Maryland. In 1967, Mr. Curran became chair of the Judicial Proceedings Committee and held that position for sixteen years.
In the General Assembly, Mr. Curran sponsored or fought for significant bills, including those creating the Court of Special Appeals and the District Court system. He consistently supported bills to improve the courts and the corrections system, toughen drunk-driving laws, guarantee equal rights, and require handgun permits. He also worked to modernize Maryland's divorce and alimony laws, reform adoption and guardianship, and protect victims of domestic violence.
Mr. Curran is married to the former Barbara Marie Atkins. They are the parents of five children, Mary Carole, Alice, Catherine, J. Joseph III (Max), and William (deceased). The Currans reside in the Homeland section of Baltimore.
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