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Who is that grim, white-haired man behind Marilyn Mosby? credit: wsj.com

Who is that grim, white-haired man behind Marilyn Mosby?
credit: wsj.com

Now we discover that Marilyn Mosby and her merry band of evidence concealers is upset. Someone has been “leaking” information to the defense, information that the prosecution has been working so very hard to conceal. Were such information to become widely known, why the prosecution might look not only foolish, but utterly unethical, possibly even criminal! Can’t have that.

Consider too that it has been The Baltimore Sun that has taken the lead in exposing prosecutorial misconduct. This is significant in that The Sun is anything but a conservative rag. The evidence against the prosecution has been so consistent and so clear, The Sun has had no choice but to report it. Failing that, there would be virtually nothing relating to the case to report. From The Sun:

At least one former or current member of the Baltimore Police Department has been ‘actively working’ with defense attorneys for the six officers charged in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray, according to prosecutors — leaking them an ‘arsenal of material’ to use in a “campaign of public-relations warfare.

Deputy Baltimore Prosecutor Michael Schatzow credit: baltimoresun.com

Deputy Baltimore Prosecutor Michael Schatzow
credit: baltimoresun.com

Deputy State’s Attorney Michael Schatzow alleged in a recent motion that some of the information leaked to the defense has been true and some false. He warned defense attorneys that they are not entitled to ‘blindly believe and repeat every piece of information they may have been told by politically motivated sources.’

The source of the information was not identified, and Schatzow did not specify what information is believed to have been leaked.

Hmm. Could it be that Schatzow knows that the defense has not leaked all or most of this material to the press, or that Schatzow does not want to so much as mention at least some of the material, which would reveal additional, unethical/illegal prosecution behavior? Or could it be this:

The motion follows others in which defense attorneys have alleged that the prosecution has not provided all of the evidence they are entitled to receive and said that they have conducted their own lengthy investigation of the case as a result — in part by interviewing state witnesses, some of whom are police officers.

Defense attorneys virtually always interview and/or depose the witnesses listed by the state, particularly in major cases like this. While I suspect that honorable police officers would choose to help the defense in this case, the defense certainly would gain a great deal of information in the normal process of preparing their case through interviews with witnesses. It would also be useful to keep in mind that if police officers are helping the defense with information, that information could be nothing more disturbing than the truth about evidence and the improper actions of prosecutors, which would tend to be very disturbing indeed to unethical prosecutors.

In his latest motion, Schatzow asked the court to sanction defense attorneys for, among other things, using their subpoena power without the court knowing to obtain the text messages of a prosecutor working on the case and making ‘a knowingly false attack on an esteemed Circuit Court judge’s integrity.’

The defense has cited the text messages as evidence of ‘judge shopping’ on the part of the prosecutor, who they said went to Judge Timothy J. Doory to obtain a warrant for the officers’ cellphones after another judge had denied the request.

Obviously Schatzow is enraged that the defense discovered the prosecutor’s improper judge shopping. So unhinged has the prosecutor’s office become that Schatzow is engaging in misrepresentation in court documents. The defense has not attacked any judge’s integrity, merely exposed the lack of integrity of the prosecution in sanctioning judge shopping.

In his motion, Schatzow characterized the defense allegations as obvious attempts, based on information obtained from questionable sources, to sway the jury pool — using the media “like Defense marionettes” in the process.

‘This Court’s judicial powers and processes have become Defense instruments in a publicly performed symphony of slander, innuendo, and victim-bashing,’ Schatzow wrote.

Schatzow is obviously referring to a very serious problem for the Prosecution: the discovery by the defense that the prosecution told police investigators not to look into Freddie Gray’s history of making past false charges of physical harm against the police to defraud the public. Equally obviously, Schatzow is suggesting that in discovering and using exculpatory information on Gray’s character and actions, the Defense, rather than doing their jobs, is somehow engaging in “victim-bashing.”

Schatzow asked that the court, through sanctions, restrict the defense attorneys’ subpoena powers; require that they provide copies of all past subpoenas issued in the case and any information obtained through those subpoenas for a court review; clear the way for prosecutors to seek to quash or seek a protective order over any of that material; and warn the defense that ‘any future pleadings found to be made in bad faith may result in additional sanctions, including being held in contempt.’

He wrote that the defense attorneys should have brought their concerns about missing evidence directly to prosecutors instead of writing about them in motions.

Translation: how dare the Defense actually use the tools provided by Maryland law to do their jobs? How dare they refuse to prostrate themselves before the court of social justice and rely on Maryland law instead? How dare they actually provide an effective defense for their clients rather than forcing them to throw themselves on the mercy of social justice? The Defense are poopy-faces, your Honor; they’re being mean to us! Make them stop!

I suspect the Defense did bring “concerns about missing evidence” to the prosecutors. I also suspect that the Prosecution was not helpful, thus necessitating written motions. The article does mention that Schatzow, while doing his best to minimize the issue, admitted that the Prosecution did turn over some missing discovery to the Defense. In making that admission, he essentially admitted that the Defense did ask the Prosecution about that issue.

Placing Blame

All is not peaceful and well in the ranks of Baltimore lawyers. The Daily Caller reports:

Baltimore Attorney Roya Hanna credit: baltimorejustice.com

Baltimore Attorney Roya Hanna
credit: baltimorejustice.com

A veteran Baltimore prosecutor is blaming state’s attorney Marilyn Mosby for contributing to the dramatic spike in violent crime that has gripped the city in the aftermath of the Freddie Gray case.

In a scathing op-ed for The Baltimore Sun, Roya Hanna, who left the state’s attorney’s office in April, says that Mosby’s actions during her short time in office have contributed to the more than 200 murders that the city has seen so far this year. In the past several years, Baltimore hasn’t reached that level of murders until November.

‘Having been a prosecutor in this city for 12 years, four in the Homicide Division, I can no longer stand idly by and watch State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby avoid taking responsibility for her role in the increase in violence,’ Hanna writes in the op-ed.

She points out that of the 200-plus killings, charges have been filed against only 28 assailants in 30 cases. Five defendants were released earlier this year under Mosby’s watch, according to Hanna.

‘Had these cases been handled differently, had her office worked more effectively with police or made stronger arguments in court, perhaps the victims would still be alive,’ writes Hanna, who now works in private practice.

This sounds very much like what one would expect of a new and completely inexperienced head prosecutor if that prosecutor did not listen to more experienced employees, and was far more interested in social justice and political pandering than in the equal administration of the law.

Ms. Mosby’s press conference announcing her decision to indict the officers involved in the Freddie Gray arrest had a chilling effect on the Baltimore Police Department,’ Hanna claims, arguing that Baltimore cops were unsure after Mosby’s announcement of when they had probable cause to conduct an arrest.

During her May 1 speech, Mosby said that Gray’s arrest was illegal. She cited a knife found on Gray that day which she said was legal under Maryland law. However, it later came out that the spring-loaded weapon was illegal in Baltimore.

Hanna says that Mosby’s rationale for charging some of the officers with what she claimed was an illegal arrest leaves many cops unsure of their duties.

‘Following her press conference, city arrests dropped and violence increased because officers cannot trust that she won’t again decide to place their futures in jeopardy,’ Hanna argues.

I have made these very points. It’s good to see an attorney with experience in Baltimore coming to the same conclusions. However, the political establishment in Baltimore is so caught up in the social justice mindset, it’s likely that crime will continue to be out of control in Baltimore for many years to come, particularly if any of the officers are convicted.

Hanna also dings Mosby for firing six well-respected prosecutors shortly after taking office in January. One of those was in the middle of a robbery trial when they were let go, Hanna states. Since that time, 10 other prosecutors have left the office. That has put a strain on the workload of other prosecutors who are forced to offer plea deals in some cases in order to clear them.

Rather than focus on filling those positions, Mosby has hired public relations staff, according to Hanna.

‘Felony prosecutor positions have been left vacant for months while Ms. Mosby added staff to her media team and community outreach people,’ Hanna argues, claiming that Mosby has spent $1 million hiring people that do not prosecute cases.

Again, this is what one would expect of a social justice, community organizer personality. It is not uncommon for a few employees to leave a prosecutor’s office when a new chief prosecutor is elected, but Hanna’s assertions speak to seasoned professionals leaving because they can no longer function as professionals. Professional, ethical prosecutors care very much about the law and about use it honorably to prosecute criminals. When they are not allowed to do their jobs, when “public relations” and “community outreach” become the primary function of a prosecutor’s office, the best, most honorable prosecutors leave, or are fired.

Hanna also points to Mosby’s recent decision to curtail her office’s involvement with Baltimore’s Homicide Review Commission that is working in conjunction with Johns Hopkins University to study the causes of crime in the city.

The city has spent $200,000 on the commission, but Mosby decided that she did not want to provide Johns Hopkins with data on pending criminal cases. Her rationale was that sharing current information puts witnesses at risk for retaliation.

‘We know why homicides are taking place,’ Mosby said earlier this month. ‘We know it has to do with drugs. We know it has to do with gangs. We know it has to do with turf wars.

While there can be rational reasons not to participate in such studies, it appears that Mosby does not want to be associated with the final results of the study. If done properly, the study would not be satisfied with blaming drugs and gangs, but would also speak to the lack of prosecution, lack of proper, pro-active policing, and destructive social policies of the Baltimore political establishment that enable gangs and drug running. Baltimore, like a great many American cities, has been under Progressive rule for decades. If honestly assessed, there is no way to avoid recognizing the horrific social damage those policies have caused and continue to cause. Marilyn Mosby is only the most recent social justice activist to take up the baton and run down the path to ruin.

Mosby is obviously being disingenuous about the sharing of information. In any such study, the identities of witnesses and related information is never shared. It’s unnecessary. The kinds of data collected has to do with numbers of specific crimes, ages, race, and similar information, not personal information that would be accessible to street criminals, or that could put anyone at risk. In fact, all police reports and investigations, once a case has been adjudicated, are public information. Unless placed under seal by a judge, anyone can get access to it. Unless, of course, the information under seal might be useful to a Democrat politician, in which case, it us usually promptly leaked.

You Could See This Coming, Couldn’t You?

credit: cbs

credit: cbs

The University of Maryland School of Law is now offering a course on the Freddie Gray case. What could the curriculum be? A focus on the applicable criminal laws? The implications of the Fourth Amendment? Local vs. Federal jurisdictional issues? Methods and the philosophy of defense? Effective motion composition and writing? Not so much. WBAL TV reports: 

School officials said they want their students to dig deep into the some of the long-standing societal issues that the Gray case has exemplified.

When the Freddie Gray incident and the resulting protests and riots occurred across Baltimore, law professor Michael Greenberger and the experienced minds at the law school knew this was their shot to really get their students to think outside the classroom or the courtroom.

‘I think this course epitomizes the merger between the law and the real world,’ Greenberger said.

Uh-oh. In the real world, criminal conduct can get one arrested, fined and/or jailed. Somehow, however, I doubt this is the “merger between the law and the real world” about which Greenberger is speaking. What should one study in a law school above all else? The law? No, silly: social justice! You’ll love the course title.

Starting this fall, students can take an eight-week course entitled ‘Freddie Gray’s Baltimore: Past, Present and Moving Forward.’

Each week, a different professor, from the law school and the school of social work will lead discussions on different topics.

These include:

Housing: Public and private perpetuation of residential racial

segregation and concentrated poverty

Education and the school-to-prison pipeline

Cycles of violence {domestic violence and abuse of children}

Oh dear. There doesn’t seem to be much about the law or how to function as a competent, professional lawyer, does there? This is not encouraging, if an actual legal, rather than a sociological, education is the goal of law school students:

Greenberger will teach a section on police policy and the struggle between the ‘stop and frisk’ approach and the community engagement schools of thinking.

‘Those are two competing theories that are thought to be at war with each other and I think we need to look what’s happening with the police force in Baltimore and which side they fall on,’ Greenberger said.

There is, of course, no such “struggle” in police theory. “Stop and Frisk” is merely one tool used by police officers to investigate and stop crime. “Community engagement” is commonly a euphemism for non-policing, or for forcing the police to avoid arresting certain politically favored classes, in essence, giving them free rein to do as they please. In actual police parlance and practice, “community policing” is nothing more than officers being PR conscious, and taking time, when possible, to make personal connections with the people in their patrol districts. I used to explain it to new officers I was training by telling them to take the time, whenever possible, to treat citizens as they would want any cop to treat their mother or wife. It’s really nothing more than good policing. People don’t always allow the police to do that, unfortunately.

Stop and frisk is a very simple concept, and one that was settled by the Supreme Court decades ago (Terry v. Ohio, 1967). The doctrine allows police officers that see suspicious activity–“reasonable suspicion” is the legal term–and reasonably believe that a crime might have been committed or may be about to be committed, to briefly detain someone, identify them, and check for warrants. They may also, for their protection, “frisk” them, or pat them down for obvious weapons, but such frisk can’t be too intrusive and is limited only to one’s outer clothing. They can be detained for a reasonable time, which is usually considered to be no more than 15 minutes. If necessary, officers can even use handcuffs. In fact, most stop and frisk situations take much less time.

While the police see stop and frisk as merely one useful tool, and not at all at odds with community policing, people like Greenberger see forbidding stop and frisk as a means of forcing “community engagement,” which is essentially preventing the police from doing their jobs by identifying and arresting the worst criminals.

Why would anyone want to do that? It requires unthinking faith in social justice theory, which includes “disparate impact” analysis, a favorite of the Obama Department of Justice. In Baltimore, the DOJ would look at statistics that indicate that most of the people being arrested for drugs, violent assault and murder are young black males. Rather than concluding that most of the people committing those crimes in Baltimore are obviously young black males, and the police are doing their jobs identifying and arresting such people, even preventing serious crimes, social justice cracktivists inevitably conclude that the police are arresting too many young black males for those crimes, because they’re obviously “profiling” young black males and are obviously racist. That white guys, Hispanic guys and Asian guys tend not to commit those crimes in Baltimore doesn’t matter to social justice thinkers. The mere fact that many young black males are being arrested is bad in and of itself, so the numbers of such people being arrested have to go down to eliminate the disparate impact. The first means of dropping those numbers is to prevent the police from identifying the criminals, so stop and frisk has to go.

University of Maryland School of Law Dean Donald Tobin believes the course will spark deep, constructive discussions.

‘What’s great about this course (is that) students identify a problem and they are taking that problem and proposing a solution and recommending improvements for the future,’ Tobin said.

Wait a minute. I’m still not seeing any relation to the law or to functioning as a competent lawyer. This really sounds like a navel-gazing sociology or political science class. But maybe not:

And students could put those solutions to work. Throughout the class, students will learn about volunteer opportunities in the community that deal with issues addressed in the course.

Ah. It doesn’t take much to imagine what sort of “volunteer opportunities in the community” might be offered to these attorneys-in-the-making. Somehow I suspect any student suggesting that stop and frisk and pro-active policing are good things, or wondering when the professors are going to get around to actually talking about–you know–the law, might not fare well when grade time comes around.

Surprised, gentle readers?

The SMM Freddie Gray case archive is available here.