Media sources are engaging in wholesale speculation—actually, in many cases, wishful thinking—about the possibilities inherent in the upcoming trials of the six officers charged in the Freddie Gray case. “If only the prosecution can turn Officer Porter [the first officer to be tried] against the others!” “Maybe the prosecution can offer Porter a plea deal, even immunity, for his testimony against the others!” While that sort of thing is possible, it’s more than equally unlikely.
Porter—and the others–would have nothing to testify about unless one or more of them actually committed an obvious crime. Considering what is known about the case at this point, any other possibility, particularly anything relating to a seat belt, is nothing more than an entirely legitimate judgment call of the kind officers must make every day. If an officer makes the wrong judgment, such things do not rise to the level of crimes, merely learning experiences and admonitions from supervisors to do things differently and/or better in the future.
This is, in large part, why the violent crime rate is out of control in Baltimore, and almost certainly will continue to be out of control as long as Marilyn Mosby is Baltimore’s prosecutor. No officer can trust that a minor error in judgment—or no error at all—won’t be turned into a social justice persecution, replete with a three-ring media circus. Police officers must have room to make mistakes without every mistake becoming a potentially career-ending criminal prosecution. In many respects, the outcome of the cases doesn’t matter. As long as the prosecutor’s office, the Mayor’s office, and local and federal politicians function under the principles of social justice rather than the rule of law, law-abiding Americans—particularly the urban poor—are in for a very rough ride.
Some of the more recent news/speculation from The Baltimore Sun:
Three of the officers in the Freddie Gray case are asking to have their reckless endangerment charges tossed, arguing that failing to seat belt a prisoner is not a crime.[skip]
In the 20-page motion, Rice’s attorney, Michael J. Belsky, argued that not seat belting a prisoner “is not gross or criminal, and does not manifest a wanton or reckless disregard for human life.’ [skip]
‘Reckless endangerment, based solely upon the alleged failure of a police officer to seat belt a prisoner during transport, is not a crime in the State of Maryland,’ the officers’ attorneys argued.
The idea that failing to seatbelt Gray amounts to a direct cause of his death appears to continue to be the foundation of the prosecution case. Even though such a contention lacks logic and support in the law, it’s all Mosby has.
Social justice is not a process or merely a philosophy, it is an eternal way of being, of maintaining never-ending agitation and dissatisfaction. To that end, the University of Maryland’s Carey School of law has invented an important contribution. US News.com reports:
We were actually right at the end of the semester and right in the middle of exams. And so our students sort of left here without a time to discuss or consider the issues that were raised by what was happening in our backyard,’ says Donald Tobin, dean of the law school.
The school, located in Baltimore, put together a class where law students and students from the University of Maryland—Baltimore’s School of Social Work could discuss the underlying problems that lead to this type of conflict and how law can be used to improve social justice, he says.
The eight-week course, ‘Freddie Gray’s Baltimore: Past, Present, and Moving Forward,’ debuted this fall. Students and professors will discuss topics such as community policing, housing and health care, and students will have opportunities to do local volunteer work.
Ah! So the purpose of law school is to produce far leftist social workers that use the law to impose their political views on everyone? Who knew?
Carey is one of many law schools that let students explore social justice issues – which often include discrimination around race, gender or sexual orientation – and teach them how to one day fight these issues as practicing J.D.s. Law school, experts say, can set the path for people who aspire to work in public interest or social justice fields.
‘Most students come to law school because they want to help people,’ Jeffrey Selbin, co-faculty director of the Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice at University of California—Berkeley’s School of Law, said in an email.
I’m sure that Berkley professors might believe that, but rather more people go to law school to earn the credentials that might enable them to make a great deal of money.
The center helps students, scholars, activists and others work on solutions to pressing social problems; hosts events and supports students interested in social justice. Some of its recent activities include sending students to a #Law4BlackLives conference and hosting a symposium on emerging anti-poverty efforts and strategies to reinvigorate the role of law schools and lawyers in a new anti-poverty agenda, he wrote.
Do you now, gentle readers, begin to see how people like Marilyn Mosby come to appear on the scene? Begin with young people steeped in a leftist, grievance culture, keep them perpetually angry and aggrieved, send them through law school, and unleash them to warp the system to accomplish political goals rather than to ensure equal justice for all. Learning about the law and American principles of justice seem to have little place in such curriculums.
Consider this from Update 6 of the Freddie Gray archive:
“Regarding the knife charge, this is also an interesting observation:
The confusion itself could be the charge’s undoing. Last year, the Supreme Court ruled that a police search could be legal, even if it was premised on a mistake. What counted, the court said, was whether the officer’s mistake was reasonable. ‘Maybe as an objective interpretation of Maryland and Baltimore law, the knife was perfectly legal,’ Professor Gray said. ‘But it may well have been reasonable to believe that possession of that knife was not legal.’ The charges of false imprisonment are especially surprising to some experts because they suggest that ordinary police officers can be charged with a crime merely for making a mistake during an arrest. ‘Their job is, if they have reasonable suspicion that someone is doing something wrong, then they can stop them,’ said John Francomano, a criminal defense lawyer who previously served in the Baltimore County state attorney’s office.
I’ve written about this before, but the issue remains significant, because after initially screaming that the arrest of Gray for an illegal knife was faulty under Maryland law, Mosby apparently learned it was entirely proper under Baltimore ordinance, and the prosecution soon backed away from that issue. Since then, however, the prosecution has resurrected it. For additional information on why the knife is, illegal or illegal, irrelevant, visit Andrew Branca’s take at Legal Insurrection.
More when something of significance surfaces.