Today’s digital edition of the Baltimore Sun announced the 31st murder in July alone. It was an appropriate backdrop for what was to follow.
Earlier today, the day set for motions in the trial of Officer Garrett Miller, Baltimore Prosecutor Marilyn Mosby announced she was dropping all charges against Miller, Sgt. Alicia White, and Officer William Porter, who was to be retried after a hung jury and mistrial in his first trial. The persecution of the officers in the criminal justice system is over, but the damage done to the relationship between prosecutors and the police, the community and the nation, was actually worsened by the unprofessional and juvenile comments of Mosby as she held a news conference in front of a mural painted on the side of a building in the Baltimore neighborhood where Freddie Gray lived and sold drugs. WBAL, which has consistently had the best and most balanced coverage, reports:
Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby gave a passionate statement in the Sandtown-Winchester community where Gray lived saying she agonized over her decision, but believed the trials could be tried 100 times and would likely get the same result. She spoke to 11 News in a one-on-one interview further explaining her decision.
Mosby said the decision to prosecute six officers was not an indictment against the entire Police Department, but added that police investigating police is ‘problematic.’
‘The decision to prosecute six police officers was not and has never been an indictment on the entire Baltimore Police Department,’ Mosby said. ‘For those who believe I’m anti-police, that is simply not the case. I’m anti-police brutality. I need not remind you that the only loss, and the greatest loss in all of this, was Freddie Gray’s life.
Mosby, of course, ignores the 60%+ plus rise in Baltimore’s murder rate in a single year, and the similar increase in all violent crimes. She ignores the destruction of the lives and careers of the six officers she persecuted. She ignores the utter destruction of the relationship between the prosecutors and police, and the police and community, and the damage she has done to policing throughout the nation.
The prosecution of on-duty police officers is unsurprisingly rare and blatantly fraught with inherent complications,’ Mosby said. ‘Unlike with other cases, where prosecutors work closely with police to investigate what actually occurred, what we realized early on in this case (was) that police investigating police, whether they are friend or merely their colleagues, was problematic.’
‘There was a reluctance and an obvious biased that was consistently exemplified not by the entire Baltimore Police Department, but by individuals within the Baltimore Police Department at every stage of the investigation, which became blatantly apparent in the subsequent trials,’ Mosby said. ‘While Commissioner Davis was and has been extremely accommodating, there were individual police officers that were witnesses to the case, yet were part of the investigative team.
‘(There were) interrogations that were conducted without asking the most poignant questions. (There were) lead detectives that were completely uncooperative and started a counter investigation to disprove the state’s case by not executing search warrants pertaining to text messages among the officers in the case, creating videos to disprove the state’s case without our knowledge, creating notes that were drafted after the case was launched to contradict the medical examiners findings and turning these notes over to the defense months prior to turning them over to the state, and doing it in the middle of trial.
Having the opportunity to begin to repair the damage she caused to relations between agencies, Mosby instead made them much, much worse. She is directly accusing the police of lying, obstructing justice, and in the case of Det. Dawnyel Taylor, falsifying evidence, and perjury. The problem, as explained under oath by Det. Taylor, is the prosecution didn’t want to see any evidence that contradicted their “novel legal theories” about the case. Taylor tried to give prosecutor Janice Bledsoe the “notes” about which Mosby speaks long before the trial where they were brought up by the defense, but Bledsoe refused to take them. Taylor remained quiet about the prosecution’s unethical behavior until savagely and incoherently attacked on the witness stand by Prosecutor Michael Schatzow.
Mosby is complaining about the police doing their job by finding and considering all possible evidence. If officers truly refused to execute search warrants, Mosby could have used Sheriff’s Deputies, or state law enforcement officers. I’m sure the lead detectives were uncooperative when asked to ignore evidence and lie to grand jurors. One can only hope they would be.
As you can see, whether investigating, interrogating, testifying, cooperating or even complying with the state, we’ve all bore witness to an inherent bias that is a direct result of what happens when police police themselves.
Not quite. We’ve born witness to what happens when prosecutors charge innocent people without any evidence.
Mosby said it would not be in the best interest of judicial economy to continue to try the remaining cases. She added that the 135 trial motions her team overcame, the appellate court victory that forced the officers to testify against one another and the combined 35 motions for acquittal and summary judgment were proof that the state had legitimate reasons to pursue criminal charges against the officer involved in Gray’s death.
What Mosby proved in making such statements is she has no idea of the American justice system. Rather, she is a die-hard advocate of social justice and abhors the rule of law. In fact, one of the primary reasons she likely dropped the cases is her ill-considered forcing of defendants still in legal jeopardy to testify against co-defendants left her with insurmountable legal problems. There was no possible way for her to prove her prosecutors wouldn’t be using information gained under forced testimony against the officers at trial. Also, it’s highly likely she and her minions were going to be forced to testify under oath. That wasn’t a chance she could take.
As long as I am the chief prosecutor for this great city, that is what my office will fight for — a fair and equitable justice system for all, so that whatever happened to Freddie Gray never happens to another person in this community again,’ Mosby said.
As long is she is chief prosecutor, the destruction will continue, and the citizens of Baltimore, particularly the poor, black citizens, will continue to die and be victimized in ever greater numbers. According to The Baltimore Sun, Mosby was even more destructive:
But, given Williams’ acquittal of Nero, Goodson and Rice and the likelihood that the remaining officers would also choose bench trials before him, Mosby said she had to acknowledge the ‘dismal likelihood’ that her office would be able to secure a conviction.
‘After much thought and prayer it has become clear that without being able to work with an independent investigatory agency from the very start, without having a say in the election of whether cases proceed in front of a judge or jury, without communal oversight of police in this community, without substantive reforms to the current criminal justice system, we could try this case 100 times and cases just like it and we would still end up with the same result,’ she said.
Mosby blames her utter failure on everyone but herself. The ultimate, real reason she could not secure a conviction is the officers committed no crimes, therefore there was no probable cause for arrest–as I noted in Update 5: Probable Causeless –and no evidence to prove the elements of the offenses. Mosby originally claimed to have conducted a complete, independent investigation with the help of the Sheriff’s Office, but that lie is now inoperative. The idea that the prosecution should be able to decide whether a trial is heard by a judge or jury is not only counter to the law, but inherently totalitarian. Hell, why not let the prosecutors appoint every juror? Better yet, let the prosecutors appoint nothing but black female prosecutor’s office employees, and let some of the prosecutors handling the case sit on the jury at the same time! Trying to deny defendants their rights while claiming to represent justice is ludicrous and obscene.
God only knows what “communal oversight of the police” means. Every police agency, Baltimore included, is overseen in a manner dictated by the people through their elected representatives. Particularly in Baltimore, a city under absolute Democrat control for decades, how is it the police have become such uncontrollable brutes?
Particularly bizarre is her call for “substantive reforms to the current criminal justice system.” What, pray tell, might those be? One would hope 100 iterations of a prosecution case without evidence would result in 100 acquittals. In such a circumstance, the system would seem to be working very well indeed. This is also a crude attack on Judge Barry Williams, but more on that later.
Oh yes: prosecutors shouldn’t be relying on thought and prayer, but on the law. If there is no evidence to prove the elements of criminal offenses, “novel legal theories” and all the prayers in the world don’t matter. Absent proof, no charges in the first place, and if charges are mistakenly filed, they must be dismissed at he earliest opportunity. Prayers for forgiveness for destroying the lives of innocent officers, and for the murders of citizens of Baltimore that would not have occurred absent Mosby’s incompetence, are, however, in order.
The Daily Caller added additional Mosby attacks on everyone by those responsible:
While to this day we stand by the decisions, the legal theories, the charges, and assertions set forth in the statements of probable cause and during these proceedings, as officers of the court we must respect the verdicts rendered by the judge,’ Mosby said in a fiery speech held at Gilmore Homes, near where Gray was arrested last April 12. [skip]
What she did not mention is that Williams faulted Mosby’s team for failing to turn over numerous pieces of evidence that supported the six defendants.
This is how Mosby demonstrated “respect” for Judge Williams’ verdicts:
But she noted that in light of Williams’ consistent decisions to acquit the officer and given the likelihood that the three other officers would elect a bench trial, more acquittals were ‘unfortunately’ in the offing. [skip]
‘As prosecutors we are ministers of justice, and it is our ethical obligation to always seek justice over conviction. As prosecutors we do not determine guilt or innocence of individuals,’ continued Mosby…
‘And although we came close to convicting one of the officers when his case was tried before 12 Baltimore city residents, the judge has made it clear that he does not agree with the state’s theory of the case and does not believe that any of the actions or inactions of these officers rise to the level of criminality,’ she said.
That damned judge! If Mosby truly seeks justice, why is she using words like “unfortunately” in explaining that the lack of evidence would result in additional acquittals? Isn’t an acquittal just as fortunate as a conviction? And why is she impugning the honor and legal judgment of Judge Williams? It wasn’t, by the way, a matter of what Judge Williams believed about their “theory,” but what the law said about the evidence, or in these cases, the complete lack of evidence. Mosby cannot attack William’s clear, unassailable legal reasoning and recitation of the law–she probably can’t understand it, or at the least, can’t admit she understands it–so she returns to that with which she is most comfortable, her true beliefs: the emotion of Social Justice. There, a higher truth prevails. There, a higher law holds sway. There, is justice for Freddie Gray only in the blood of innocents.
We do not believe that Freddie Gray killed himself,’ Mosby exclaimed during the presser. ‘We stand by the medical examiner’s determination that Freddie Gray’s death was a homicide.
Mosby, of course, means Dr. Carol Allan’s second determination. Her first, before she was “influenced” by the prosecutors, was that it was a freak accident. Other media sources noted that Mosby is determined that what happened to Freddie Gray never again happen to anyone else. A noble aspiration, but one cannot prevent freak accidents, particularly those caused by a drugged arrestee trying to enact a “crash for cash” scam. Even the all-important and all-embracing seatbelts could not prevent that. All Gray had to do if seatbelted was open the belt and the outcome would have been the same.
Let’s quickly review the pertinent facts: The death of Gray was highly politicized from virtually the day of his arrest and his death about a week later. Mosby, a new and inexperienced prosecutor, steeped in social justice and indifferent toward, even ignorant of, the rule of law, saw political advantage in the case and seized the opportunity.
There was no probable cause for arresting the officers, as the probable cause statements improperly, even illegally, sworn by Sheriff’s Department Major Sam Cogan made plain. All six were identical despite the different roles each officer played. None of the statements actually addressed the elements of the multiple, insupportable, stacked charges.
Rather than gladly and promptly providing all evidence to the Defense, as any competent, professional prosecutors would have done, the Prosecution repeatedly hid and slow-rolled evidence, violating the law and their ethical duties.
It was a backward trial, with Prosecutors relying on emotion, trickery, unethical and unprofessional behavior, and the Defense relying on the law and proper procedure.
As the trials continued, it became clear the “novel legal theories” concocted by the Prosecutors were nonsense. Not only did they not exist in criminal law, they made no sense, and were accordingly and properly rejected by Judge Williams.
As I continually wrote, I thought it possible the prosecution had more evidence unknown to the public, and it might be convincing evidence of the guilt of the officers. Such evidence never materialized. The Prosecution had nothing–nothing–from the beginning and knew it.
Not only are these officers not guilty, they are completely innocent. They did nothing wrong. They acted, in an entirely unremarkable arrest and transport, entirely within the boundaries of the reasonable exercise of professional discretion.
As I mentioned earlier, as July 27, 2016 arrived, the evidence in this case had not changed. The prosecution had no more, and no less, than they had before dawn on that day: no evidence whatever of the guilt of the officers. What had changed is the Kastigar hearing, and the law had them staring through the narrow end of a legal funnel.
Officer Miller actually physically stopped and ultimately arrested Gray. The prosecution had to abandon its whining about Miller moving Gray here or there, or physically restraining him, and their insistence he made a false arrest because the knife Gray carried was legal. In fact, the Prosecution simply stopped so much as muttering about the knife, because it was illegal under City ordinance. And they admitted in court that the pursuit, stop and arrest of Gray were legal.
That left them with the seatbelt theory, and the medical theory and the rough ride theory. The previous trials removed those theories. They could bring them up again and again, but as matters of unassailable law, Judge Williams obliterated them. Miller didn’t have the opportunity to use a seatbelt, he had nothing to do with the van transport, and none of the officers could have determined Gray needed medical help until the 6th and final stop, and Miller wasn’t in a position to help in any case.
Sgt. White did virtually nothing. She looked briefly at Gray for a short time at the fifth stop. She never touched him. And with a bench trial, a replay of the Porter trial would be even more brief that the first trial, its outcome a foregone conclusion.
I have no doubt that these prosecutors would have gone ahead regardless. They would have made the same arguments they knew would fail. They would have sputtered and scowled, maligned and insulted police officers. But then there was Kastigar.
In that, too, they would have obfuscated, made ludicrous assertions, and false promises that nothing they would use in the trial came, even indirectly, from Miller’s previously compelled testimony against his interests. But even they knew without his compelled testimony, they had less than nothing. They also knew Judge Williams was going to be watching them closely. The Defense likely wouldn’t have to raise an objection because Judge Williams would do it for them; he made that clear in previous rulings and conferences, and in so doing, he was upholding the law and the rule of law.
Even the State Appeals Court that ruled the officers could be compelled to testify warned about Kastigar. Mosby and her minions may think that decision a great tool to use against defendants, but it will almost certainly be struck down in the future by federal courts.
But most dangerous to the prosecutors was the likelihood that Williams would order at least some, if not all, of them to testify under oath. They knew they would have to lie to protect themselves and their unethical, even unlawful, deliberations, methods and actions. Not only could anything they say be used against them in criminal actions, but in the civil actions filed against them.
Of course, one would think that if they were worried about that, Mosby wouldn’t have run her mouth, blaming everyone but herself. Remember, however, Mosby, and likely many of her subordinates, are thinking with their emotions. They’re true social justice cracktivists. They really believe they are innocent victims in all of this, the pure persecuted for their virtue. Perhaps the fix is in for them in the civil cases, just as it was for Hillary Clinton, but I doubt faithfulness to the rule of law and a desire that justice be fair, equal and blind, motivated their dismissal of all charges.
Tomorrow: Additional information on the reactions of the social justice community, the legal community, and the law enforcement community. I look forward to seeing you here at this scruffy little blog.