These are strange, dangerous times. A Supreme Court Justice–Ruth Bader Ginsberg–breached every canon of judicial ethics by saying aloud what all of her leftist colleagues on the court fervently believe. Her vehicle was an attack on Donald Trump, and a fatuous celebrity-like threat to flee the United States upon his election. However revealing her comments, which she soon sort of tried to walk back a little in a traditional Leftist hand-caught-in-the cookie-jar non-apology apology, they were revealing of the enormous ideological chasm, not only on the Supreme Court, but in every facet of American life: Conservatives believe in and work to observe the rule of law–the Constitution; Leftists see the Constitution as an impediment to their one, true law–Social Justice–and work to ignore or circumvent it.
Of the six Baltimore PD officers charged by Marilyn Mosby, three have been acquitted and one awaits a re-trail after his mistrial due to a hung jury. Two, Garrett Miller and Sgt. Alicia White, remain in legal limbo as their trial dates approach. However, with the third acquittal, powerful, ethical legal voices are calling for Mosby to dismiss all remaining charges. Before we continue, however, let’s review where it all started: the press conference/pep rally where Mosby announced the charges, via Time:
Good morning. First and foremost I need to publicly express my sympathies for the family and loved ones of Freddie Gray. I had the opportunity to meet with Mr Gray’s family to discuss some of the details of the case and the procedural steps going forward. I assured his family that no one is above the law and that I would pursue justice on their behalf.
To the thousands of city residents, community organizers, faith leaders and political leaders that chose to march peacefully throughout Baltimore, I commend your courage to stand for justice. I also commend the brave men and women, both in uniform and out, who have stepped up Monday night to protect our communities from those who wish to destroy it.
Mosby followed with the probable cause statement copied and submitted by Baltimore Sheriff’s Department Major Sam Cogan, a statement he later admitting he had no part in writing, just as he and his agency had no part in the investigation. Mosby then read the charges (those interested in reading the entire press conference should take the link above).
To the people of Baltimore and the demonstrators across America: I heard your call for ‘No justice, no peace.’ Your peace is sincerely needed as I work to deliver justice on behalf of this young man.
It was, without question, here that Mosby revealed her ignorance of the duties of a prosecutor and her absolute acceptance of the social justice mindset. A prosecutor’s obligation is to see that justice is done, period, without consideration of the mutterings of mobs. She believes in social justice so much, she said it twice:
To those that are angry, hurt or have their own experiences of injustice at the hands of police officers I urge you to channel that energy peacefully as we prosecute this case I have heard your calls for ‘No justice, no peace,’ however your peace is sincerely needed as I work to deliver justice on behalf of Freddie Gray.
To the rank and file officers of the Baltimore Police Department, please know that these accusations of these six officers are not an indictment on the entire force.
That sounded sincere, didn’t it gentle readers? I’m sure BPD officers immediately forgot Mosby accused every one of them of unjustly mistreating people a mere paragraph earlier. Mosby then thanked her deputies, Michael Schatzow and Janice Bledsoe, and lied in claiming the Sheriff’s Department assisted in the investigation.
Last but certainly not least, to the youth of the city. I will seek justice on your behalf. This is a moment. This is your moment. Let’s insure we have peaceful and productive rallies that will develop structural and systemic changes for generations to come. You’re at the forefront of this cause and as young people, our time is now.
It’s Mosby’s job to seek justice on everyone’s behalf, and the time for that is always, but Mosby choose instead to call rioters to riot.
Legal Community Pressure:
Consider this sampling of legal opinion from The Washington Times:
It’s quite clear that the prosecution should not continue on,’ said Barry Slotnick, a prominent defense lawyer who has followed the trials in the Gray case. ‘The prosecution in the next three cases should strongly make a suggestion in court — on the record — that these cases have not been proven and will not be proven and therefore they should be dismissed.’
Still, Mr. Slotnick said it’s unlikely that Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby will drop the remaining trials. He attributed her filing of charges against the six officers to an intent to appease the community.
‘It’s rather sad,’ he said. ‘The fact of the matter is that I think this prosecution was commenced by people who were concerned about community reaction. People should not be accused of a crime to have a community satisfied. It’s absolutely inappropriate.
In fact, it is a complete repudiation of equal justice under the law. Knowingly charging the innocent with crimes grossly undermines the rule of law as much as refusing to charge the plainly guilty, perhaps even more.
Mr. [John] Banzhaf [law professor] late last month filed a complaint against Ms. Mosby, accusing her of misconduct in bringing charges without sufficient evidence. He told The Washington Times that he would file disbarment complaints Tuesday against Baltimore Chief Deputy State’s Attorney Michael Schatzow and Deputy State’s Attorney Janice Bledsoe, the lead prosecutors for the police trials.
Though they may have been ordered by Mosby to do what they did, that is no defense. Every prosecutor has an individual obligation,’ the law professor said. ‘They aren’t some minions way down below on the chain that really have no choice. These are the two major people in charge of making the decisions. I think they are as guilty of ethical violations as she.
As I’ve previously noted, there is no evidence whatever that Bledsoe and Schatzow are unwilling minions forced to undertake an unlawful and distasteful task. Such people don’t repeatedly violate discovery obligations and mislead the court.
Mr. Banzhaf said the prosecution’s ordeal would be over if Ms. Mosby would bow out and come clean.
She could get up today and say, ‘I really tried. We have put in every effort we possibly could. It has precipitated a formal (Justice Department) investigation and changes in policy. We’ve accomplished a lot and gone as far as we can,’ he said. Most of her followers would accept that.
It is significant that the Baltimore Sun’s tone has changed significantly over the last year. Once essentially a cheerleader for Marilyn Mosby, The Sun is now leaning the opposite way:
Banzhaf alleges that Mosby knew the charges against the officers were not supported by probable cause when she filed them, and should have reassessed her prosecution of the officers after each of Williams’ rulings in the case. He also points out multiple discovery violations in the officers’ trials, in which prosecutors failed to turn over evidence in a timely manner.
In his complaint against Schatzow, obtained by The Baltimore Sun, Banzhaf argues Mosby’s involvement in overseeing the cases ‘cannot and does not excuse [Schatzow’s] conduct since each and every attorney is bound by the same rules of conduct.’
He said an argument from Schatzow that he was ‘just following orders’ from Mosby would provide ‘no defense in a disbarment proceeding.’
In his complaint against Bledsoe, also obtained by the Sun, Banzhaf argues that as “a very high ranking official, and as one of the two prosecutors primarily responsible for presenting these several cases in court, [Bledsoe] has not only the ethical duty, but also the power, to object and at the very least refuse to participate.
Banzhaf is quite correct. In yet another signal that should significantly raise the blood pressure of Mosby and her minions, it’s now time to consider what will become of Mosby, Schatzow and Bledsoe once they’ve lost The Baltimore Sun. In an op-ed, Dan Rodricks lays it out:
In the midst of what feels like nationwide madness — a nightmarish period of gun violence against citizens and police officers, racial tension and vulgar political extremism — Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry G. Williams on Monday morning affirmed the rule of law, the heart and soul of the republic. Hearing the certainty in Williams’ voice was almost soothing on a day when it seemed as if the country had gone mad.
Notice the Leftist code words” “gun violence.” Guns are inanimate objects. They do nothing, however to progressives, the existence of the non-existent is an article of faith. Consider then the enormous change of thinking necessary to write this:
If that sounds grandiose, good. That’s my intent. A judge’s constitutional duties are fundamentally grand and foundationally high-minded. In fact, before he delivered his verdicts in the trial of Baltimore police Lt. Brian Rice, the judge noted what was expected of him under Maryland law: that he find facts and render a verdict without emotion, without regard to personal prejudices or to public opinion, without sympathy to either the late Freddie Gray or to the police lieutenant accused of contributing to his death.
Had Williams gone either way — guilty or not guilty — it would have been possible to have confidence that his finding was based on careful and objective consideration of facts. No polemics. No politics. Just facts and law.
No. If the officers had been convicted, considering the facts and evidence, such verdict would have been inherently political. Notice the author calling out Mosby:
Monday? No Mosby.
Her office would not say where she was between 10 and 10:35 a.m., as Williams read his ruling in the Rice case. ‘For security reasons we do not share the whereabouts of the State’s Attorney,’ was the response I got.
Maybe, like just about everyone else in Baltimore, Mosby expected the Rice acquittal and wanted to be spared another humiliating walk out of the courtroom and into the media arena outside the courthouse.
Perhaps she’ll read the transcript of Williams’ remarks about the case against Rice and understand, if she does not already, that the judge’s ruling constituted a full rebuke of the state’s contentions.
Unlikely. Oh, she’ll read the verdict, but a brain marinated in social justice is incapable of processing the law. These are the single most on-target words Dan Rodricks wrote:
To those disappointed with these outcomes, who have been protesting police brutality and a culture of harassment, I say this: The Freddie Gray case is not the one on which to build a new standard for conduct by police officers.
I’ll say it again: Freddie Gray’s arrest was absolutely unremarkable. Officers deal with similar situations and people all the time. The officers intended him no harm, and handled him exactly as they have handled countless other arrestees, none of whom suffered the slightest injury. But Freddie Gray, under the influence of at least two classes of illegal drugs, accidently died by his own hand. Perhaps he thought he could work a “crash for cash”–he had a history of that, or he may simply have stood up when he would have been much smarter to remain on the floor, and losing his balance, nearly severed his spinal cord in a freak accident. Gray is absolutely not the right person upon which to base reform, necessary or not. If anything, he is a poster child for the ravages of crime, drugs and foolishness.
Mosby might have wanted to calm the crowds in the spring of 2015 by charging the Freddie Gray Six. Or maybe she wanted to put cops on notice that she’s willing to charge them criminally when, in her judgment, they go too far and break the law.
You can argue the relative value and ethics of those motivations — how public safety might have been served, whether the state’s attorney gets to bring a case because it might quell civil unrest. But you can’t argue that the Freddie Gray cases were worthy of prosecution.
Rodricks ignores, if he ever knew, that public safety is never served by prosecuting the innocent, regardless of how noble one thinks the reasons. There can be no argument about that, but he’s right. No rational, ethical person can argue that the officers should have been prosecuted. No one can argue that the charges must be dismissed.
There was a rush in May of last year that should have made citizens uncomfortable — a rush by Mosby to bring charges, and a rush by police defenders to say she had no business doing so, that it was all a show by an inexperienced prosecutor to score political points.
Now, more than a year later, with four trials ending in one hung jury and three acquittals, with a respected judge consistently giving the state failing grades, it is time for Mosby to declare her mission accomplished — angry crowds quelled, cops put on notice — and move on to trials that matter, with real, provable criminality and sound convictions that make Baltimore a safer city.
Amazing. It’s amazing Rodricks still cannot fathom the damage done by prosecuting innocent police officers, even as Baltimore disintegrates around him. He actually blames “police defenders” for pointing out in May of 2015 what he has only come to realize, however imperfectly, in July of 2016. Considering that Baltimore’s murder rate has increased more than 60% in that year, by all means, it would be a good idea to quit prosecuting the innocent and actually prosecute violent criminals. But where will Mosby find the officers to do that? They’re leaving the BPD in droves, and recruiting is proving difficult at best. but if she actually begins to focus on prosecuting black criminals rather than police officers, where’s the political capital in that?
Final Thoughts: The Baltimore State’s Attorney’s website page on Marilyn Mosby begins thus:
Marilyn Mosby is Baltimore City’s newly elected State’s Attorney. She is the youngest chief prosecutor of any major city in America.
I suspect this is true. More’s the pity. Chief prosecutors tend to be much older, because in that highly specialized field, only experience can teach one to avoid the mistakes Mosby has so narcissistically made. In some disciplines, youth is a relative virtue. Not so here.
Some have argued that the six officers and their families have suffered little or not at all. They are grossly uninformed or malicious. For any police officer, the hint of corruption of criminality is terribly destructive. Ultimately, all a police officer has is his integrity, his reputation for honesty. Once that is called into question, once it is lost, he is lost. Even if ultimately acquitted, many will chose to believe the worst. Promotions, social and professional relationships, all of that changes. In few other professions does the integrity of the father of mother so dramatically affect every other member of the family.
“They didn’t even have to pay legal fees; the union did that!” Thank God. For this benefit, each officer pays prodigious dues, insurance of a sort.
“They’re getting back pay!” Yes, but only as a result of their complete exoneration, and from where did their living expenses come in the more than a year they were waiting every day to be sent to prison, for any police officer, a certain death sentence?
The stresses of the daily job are incredible. The stresses these officers endured, and with which they continue to struggle, are unimaginable, as are the stresses on their families, and they’re far from over, as Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has been careful to assure the public after each acquittal, every innocent officer will face an “administrative review” where a political pound of flesh will be extracted.
Will they be suspended, reprimanded, fired? And even if they are not, what possible future do they have in Baltimore, where hundreds, even thousands of social justice cracktivist/criminals would love to enhance their street cred by killing one of more of them, and perhaps even members of their families? What other police agency would hire a man–or woman–with an enormous target already pasted to their back?
It’s easy to claim the officers suffered nothing, but I’ve yet to see anyone saying that volunteering for the same treatment. And the persecutions continue. Apparently in Maryland, and Baltimore, there are no adults in charge.