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This week Center Maryland is taking a quick look back at some of Maryland’s top achievers from 2014 so that we know who to watch in 2015.

* Monday, 1/5: Best Lawyer

* Tuesday, 1/6: Best Non-Profit

* Wednesday, 1/7: Best Developer

* Thursday, 1/8: Marylander of the Year


Thiruvendran Vignarajah

2015 – Deputy Attorney General, State of Maryland

2014 - Division Chief, Major Investigations Unit, Baltimore City State's Attorney

Just last week, when Attorney General-Elect Brian Frosh wanted to put his imprint on his new office, he selected Thiruvendran “Thiru” Vignarajah. Thiru is a proven reformer. When Baltimore’s chief prosecutor, Gregg Bernstein, sought to bring repeat, violent offenders to justice, he made the outside-the-box selection of Vignarajah to head the “Major Investigations Unit” .

This 38-year-old lawyer of Sri Lankan descent studied philosophy at Yale, medical ethics in England, ran the Harvard Law Review, clerked for a Supreme Court justice, worked as a management consultant – but had just two years’ experience as a federal prosecutor.

Not the normal resume for confronting Baltimore’s most violent street gangs and drug dealers.

Yet Vignarajah proved a superb choice to take on the city’s most complex cases requiring keen investigative, communication and organizational skills.

Under his leadership, the group prosecuted senior members of the Black Guerrilla Family; the mastermind of a spree of armed robberies that terrorized victims and led to the murder of a Greek businessman, and two gang members who wantonly killed a 12-year-old boy.

Recently, Vignarajah indicted 20 men running a vast dog-fighting ring. Nearly all of them had violent criminal records and were part of what he called “an unforgiving underworld.”

In short, Thiru Vignarajah has proved the worth of the Major Investigations Unit, which pursues offenders committing a disproportionate share of the city’s violent crimes. It stands as one of Bernstein’s finest contributions as state’s attorney.

Getting dangerous thugs and career criminals off city streets is the objective. So far, Vignarajah’s team seems to be succeeding. No wonder, the acting dean of the University of Baltimore Law School once called him a “rising superstar” and the Attorney General-Elect named him as one of his top two legal advisors.
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