The lamented 2016 was not a good year for Marilyn Mosby, one of the great black, female hopes of progressivism. Actually, her self-degradation began on 12 April 2015 when petty criminal and local drug user and dealer Freddie Gray was injured during a routine transport to jail in Baltimore.
15 Dec. 2015: Officer William Porter’s trial ends in a mistrial upon a hung jury. Mosby and her sycophantic minions believed he would be the officer easiest to convict and his conviction would be wind in the sails of the prosecutions of the remaining officers. They swore to retry him, and fortunately for the officers, learned nothing from the experience.
22 May 2016: Officer Edward Nero was acquitted of all charges by Judge Barry Williams. His ruling made it more than clear to any rational prosecutor they had not a scrap of evidence against Nero, and since that dearth of evidence was all they had, against every other officer. Mosby learned nothing and pushed onward.
23 June 2016: Officer Caesar Goodson, the driver of the transport van, was acquitted of all charges. As in the ruling he wrote in Nero’s case, Judge Williams professionally obliterated every theory put forward or implied by the prosecution. As with Porter and Nero, there was no there there. Again, Mosby learned nothing and took a run at Lt. Brian Rice, who had no hand in the actual arrest or transport of Gray.
18 July 2016: Lt. Brian Rice was acquitted of all charges. By this time, even previously prosecution friendly media outlets and organizations were beginning to abandon Mosby, and no rational, non-progressive, social justice, Kool Aid drinking attorney or analyst could possibly believe there was any chance for a conviction of anyone.
This verdict left the prosecution with upcoming trials of Officer Miller, and Sgt. Alicia White, and of course, a retrial of Officer Porter, all of whom would surely demand bench trials before Judge Williams. There was no new evidence, no new witnesses, and every bit of the non-evidence possessed by the prosecution failed completely in four separate trials. Judge Williams made it clear the prosecution’s ever-changing theories, even if they could be proved, could not rise to violations of the law.
27 July 2016: In a speech delivered in front of an outdoor mural of Freddie Gray, Marilyn Mosby announced she was dropping all remaining charges against the officers. She was characteristically graceless and delusional, blaming the police for her failures and lack of ethics, and mindlessly attacking Judge Williams. She actually made prosecution/police relations worse, and attacked the integrity of the criminal justice system.
In the aftermath of the complete collapse of the prosecutions, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake threw Mosby under the bus, as did former Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan. Two Baltimore assistant prosecutors–Lisa Phelps and Sarah David–assigned to prosecute the cases against the remaining officers, resigned. Rawlings-Blake redoubled her criticism of Mosby, and even The New York Times wrote an article less than worshipful about her. Most of the officers filed civil suits against Mosby, and prominent George Washington University law professor John Banzhaf filed disbarment complaints against Mosby and her two chief prosecutors, Michael Schatzow and Janice Bledsoe (copies of his complaints are available here). Resolutions of the civil suits and disbarment complaints have not been announced as this article is posted.
And as if that is not enough, there is more than ample evidence that Mosby still has learned nothing, and the train wreck she is continues to skid down the tracks, as this article from The Wall Street Journal documents:
Felony convictions in Baltimore dropped soon after the city’s top prosecutor took office in January 2015, and the lower rate has persisted at a time of increased violent crime, an exclusive data analysis by The Wall Street Journal found.
Under State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, Baltimore has posted quarterly felony conviction rates that have been lower than those under her predecessor, Gregg Bernstein, who served from 2011 through 2014, an analysis of court records shows.
About 53% of felony cases closed since Ms. Mosby took office have ended in conviction, compared with 67% the previous four years, the Journal found. The result is similar when comparing just cases involving violent crimes, such as assault or robbery.
But perhaps this is due to a lower crime rate? Not so much:
Meanwhile, Baltimore is reeling. The city of about 620,000 people is on pace to log more than 300 murders for a second straight year, one of the highest homicide rates among America’s largest cities. Its violent-crime rate rose in 2015 to its highest in seven years, according to FBI statistics. And Baltimore police data show the city’s violent crime has risen thus far in 2016 compared with this time last year.
The article contains considerable criticism of Mosby and her management, and unsurprisingly, Mosby continues to attack the police for her failings:
At the same time, she acknowledged an increase in cases dismissed or set aside by prosecutors, attributing the trend largely to police behavior. Among others, she cited constitutional violations of suspects’ rights, such as those detailed in a sharply critical Justice Department report released in August concerning Baltimore police practices stretching back years. Ms. Mosby said prosecutors have a duty to dismiss charges in such cases.
She also said officers and witnesses sometimes don’t appear in court. She faulted the police lab for tardy analysis in drug cases and said that to resolve cases faster, judges are less willing to grant procedural postponements than under her predecessor.
The police, acting professionally, did not counter Mosby’s comments, but some did:
Her critics say Ms. Mosby’s office’s tension with police has masked other problems. Some former staff members interviewed by the Journal linked the rising number of cases dropped by prosecutors to an exodus of veteran attorneys, fueled by what they say was low morale and weak support for prosecutors by Ms. Mosby.
Departures started within days of her arrival, when she fired several prosecutors, including one in mid-trial. About 70 assistant state’s attorneys have left her office, nearly all voluntarily, for a turnover rate of about a third of the staff.
‘Many junior attorneys would come to me and say they were not getting enough supervision, getting promoted too quickly…felt like they were doing a bad job,’ said Jesse Halvorsen, who resigned in July after 15 years as a prosecutor to join a firm that defended a sergeant charged in Mr. Gray’s death.
It is not unusual for a prosecutor’s office to experience some turnover after an election, but this level of turnover is unusual, to say the least.
Mosby’s persecution of the six officers caused Baltimore officers to dramatically scale back enforcement efforts. Her continuing, bizarre pronouncements against the police have made life in Baltimore for the poorest citizens, those most victimized by crime, even worse. There has been a mass exodus from the police force, and the City is struggling to find qualified replacement candidates. No Baltimore officer can be reasonably assured their own superiors will protect them from unjust discipline, nor can they believe they will not be prosecuted for doing their jobs within the law.
In perhaps the most conclusive demonstration that Mosby has learned nothing from her failures, Baltimore’s CBS affiliate, WJZ, reports Mosby is calling for a fundamental change in the rights of criminal defendants, a change what would help prosecutors emotionally manipulate juries to results they want. But that’s not all:
State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby pushes reforms for officer misconduct cases, including granting her office arrest powers [skip].
Mosby wants the power to limit officers from choosing bench trials–after the strategy proved successful for the officers she charged in Freddie Gray’s death. It’s one of several changes the state’s attorney is asking for in police misconduct cases.”
‘We learned a lot in the 14 months that we prosecuted that case,’ said Mosby.
Unfortunately for the cause of justice, what Mosby learned is that the rule of law must be suppressed if social justice is to prevail.
I do not equate justice with convictions. Equality before the law must be a felt reality that we strive toward each day no matter the turmoil,’ said Mosby.
This is classic social justice nonsense. She erects a straw man in claiming anyone thinks justice means convictions. No one capable in the law, or understanding the criminal justice system, believes that. Her problem is the officers in the Freddie Gray case were afforded equality before the law. She would have it otherwise. She wanted to convict them without proof beyond a reasonable doubt. She wanted to convict on the social justice narrative, not the law. Her inability to do that is apparently her definition of “turmoil.”
She says the police department should not be investigating its own officers and wants an independent investigative team that includes a member of the civilian review board and a member of her office. She also wants to give her own investigators police powers.
‘Such powers include the ability to issue warrants, make arrests, and carry firearms,’ said Mosby.
This too is extraordinary, and illustrates Mosby’s utter incomprehension of the law. Most professional agencies have reciprocal agreements with other professional agencies when investigations of officer misconduct, or shootings, are necessary. However, large metropolitan police agencies normally have internal affairs divisions, which are generally anything but a rubber stamp for police misconduct. That’s not the thrust of Mosby’s argument.
Giving prosecutors police powers creates inherent conflicts of interest. In fact, her personal “investigation” of the Gray case, made it a near certainty she would have lost immunity, and could have been required to testify in the prosecutions. It’s probable that was a significant part of her decision to drop all charges; she and her deputies absolutely did not want to be examined under oath. She certainly didn’t recognize a lack of evidence.
Practically speaking, the police and prosecutors have entirely different jobs, which is why they are, in practice and law, two entirely separate entities with separate responsibilities and powers. Prosecutors must serve as a filter for police actions. Giving them arrest powers removes an essential level of review and in the Gray case, would have made it possible for Mosby to railroad the officers, which is obviously exactly what she seeks in the future.
In addition, it is judges, not police officers, that issue warrants. Maryland does allow concealed carry, but it is not a “shall issue” state, and the State Police get to decide who is allowed to carry a concealed handgun. Mosby, of course, seeks not to improve the law to reflect the intent of the Second Amendment, but to give herself, and those like, her a right–and power–other Maryland citizens can’t have.
Mosby also wants to take away officers’ sole discretion to choose a bench trial, where a judge alone, instead of a jury decides their fate. After Judge Barry Williams cleared every officer brought before him in Freddie Gray’s death of wrongdoing.
Tony Garcia, who represents Sergeant Alicia White and Officer William Porter in a civil suit alleging Mosby was negligent and malicious in prosecuting his clients, says the state’s attorney wants to change the rules to fit her agenda.
‘It’s definitely a power grab. She had every opportunity to win. She did a horrible investigation and put on a horrible trial. Multiple times. This won’t make that go away,’ said Garcia.
Mr. Garcia is correct. Mosby should have recognized charges should never have been filed. The resignations of many experienced prosecutors, including two that had been assigned to prosecute all remaining officers, suggest at least some in her office made that argument. It is true that not every state gives defendants the right to choose a bench trial, but the Constitution is clear: each state may not afford its citizens fewer rights that the Constitution mandates, but may certainly give them more. The option of a bench trial is a good thing on many levels. Not only does it provide an important option for the accused, it can substantially reduce the cost of trials. Abandoning the option provides no advantages for the justice system.
Judge Williams is a former federal prosecutor famous for his pursuit of police misconduct cases. His rulings in each case were careful, professional, and entirely grounded in the law. There is no room to suggest that anything he said or did at trial or in his rulings might justify the destruction of the bench trial option.
Mosby’s only motivation can be the desire to stack juries with sympathetic jurors–almost certainly racially motivated jurors–and manipulate them to convict regardless of the evidence, or lack thereof. She does not seek the law to prevail, but raw, racial emotion and social justice narratives.
And even in voting for a presidential candidate, Mosby could not avoid conflict with professional ethics and the law, as Fox News reports:
Baltimore State Attorney Marilyn Mosby has deleted a tweet of a picture that appeared to show her daughter filling out her mother’s ballot as a vote for Hillary Clinton, possibly violating a Maryland law against the use of electronic devices in the voting booth.
The controversial attorney, who brought the unsuccessful prosecutions against five Baltimore police officers over the death of Freddie Gray, initially tweeted that she had voted and encouraged others to do the same — accompanied by the picture inside the voting booth.
However, after a number of users commented that taking a picture of a ballot in Maryland is illegal under state law, Mosby swiftly deleted the tweet.
One wouldn’t expect the average resident of Maryland to know this specific law, but Baltimore’s chief prosecutor, responsible for the prosecution of violations of such laws?
More to come, I’m sure, in 2017, gentle readers.