It’s Time To Fire And Discipline Marilyn Mosby

Mosby in 2015, ruining lives, pandering to the mob, and undermining justice...

Mosby in 2015, ruining lives, pandering to the mob, and undermining justice…

The third (of six) indicted Baltimore police officer charged in the death of Freddie Gray was acquitted last week, and how the rest of the trials, if they even occur, will play out is now a foregone conclusion. To be fair, this was a forgone conclusion from that moment that Baltimore City Attorney Marilyn Mosby charged the officers a year ago without sufficient justification beyond her own political ambitions, those of her husband (who is now running for mayor), racial bias and a desire to mollify rioters. Most commentators believed the charges were premature, rushed to avoid civic unrest. To say that is really to say that she allowed a mob to dictate to law enforcement. This was unethical, dangerous and despicable then, and remains so today.

If officer Caesar R. Goodson Jr., who drove the police transport van in which Gray suffered the spinal cord injury that killed him, could not be found guilty of intentionally killing Freddie Gray, nobody can. Says the New York Times,

“His acquittal on seven counts leaves the state without any convictions after three trials, in one of the nation’s most closely watched police misconduct cases — and continues to leave open the question of what, exactly, happened to Mr. Gray inside the van….Judge Barry G. Williams, who presided over the Goodson trial, issued the verdicts to a hushed, packed courtroom. He drew no conclusions about exactly when during the van ride Mr. Gray got hurt, saying there were several “equally plausible scenarios.” And he rejected the state’s contention that the officer had given Mr. Gray an intentional “rough ride” and knowingly endangered him by failing to buckle him into the van or provide medical help.” 

The prosecutor isn’t supposed to ruin the lives and careers of presumptively innocent law enforcement officials to try to find out what happened to Freddie Gray. The prosecutor is supposed to investigate until sufficient evidence tells her that a crime was committed, and the she has enough of that evidence to get a legitimate conviction. The three trials have shown that such evidence either doesn’t exist, or was never found. No, we don’t know what killed Freddie Gray, and that’s called “reasonable doubt.” Continue reading

Remember These Names: The Freddie Gray Not Guilty Verdict Is Exposing Race-Baiters And Mob Justice Supporters

Angry-Mob

As almost every legal analyst without an ideological agenda has pointed out, officer Edward Nero was found not guilty in his trial for alleged crimes related to the death of Freddie Gray because there was no evidence to prove him guilty. The case shouldn’t have been brought at all; the prosecutor was unethical and conflicted.

Most critics of the responsible and just verdict  by the  Judge Barry G. Williams (who is black; did you know that?  Few news media reports pointed that fact out: it doesn’t fit the narrative of white justice failing black victims, I guess) didn’t read it, and don’t appear to care what it says. Judge Williams explained:

“Based on the evidence presented, this court finds that the state has not met its burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt all required elements of the crimes charged….It was [Officer] Miller who detained Mr. Gray, it was Miller who cuffed Mr. Gray, and it was Miller who walked Mr. Gray over to the area where the defendant met them. When the detention morphed into an arrest, [Officer Nero] was not present…This court does not find that a reasonable officer similarly situated to the defendant, at the point where there are people coming out on the street to observe and comment, would approach the lieutenant who just got out of the van to tell him to seat belt Mr. Gray or make an inquiry concerning the issue of whether or not Mr. Gray has been seat belted. There is no evidence that this was part of his training, and no evidence that a reasonable officer would do the same…The court is not satisfied that the state has shown that [Officer Nero] had a duty to seat belt Mr. Gray, and if there was a duty, that the defendant was aware of the duty.”

Did the officers, including Nero, endanger Gray through negligence? Baltimore has already paid a settlement of millions admitting that, true or not. Criminal convictions require intent. Mediaite legal writer Chris White correctly observes that a conviction based on the prosecution’s case against Nero that it was criminal for him not to intervene in another officer’s conduct  would essentially set a  precedent requiring all police officers to second-guess each other out of fear of being charged with crimes.

Never mind, though. The powerful progressive-black activist-biased news media alliance has determined that Nero should have been convicted, that a racist system is the reason he wasn’t, and that’s all there is to it:

  • Juliet Linderman’s Associated Press story  on Nero’s acquittal on all charges began:  “Prosecutors failed for the second time in their bid to hold Baltimore police accountable for the arrest and death of Freddie Gray.”

Foul. Nero wasn’t held legally accountable because there was no evidence that he was legally or factually accountable. The sentence drips with the assumption that Nero was accountable. As Tom Blumer noted. Linderman’s story also labelled Gray as black and the white officers accused in the case by their race, but omitted racial identification of the judge or the black officers charged. Hmmm...why would she do that? Why would her editors allow her to do that?

  • Whoopie Goldberg, on the IQ-lowering “let’s have ignorant female celebrities weigh in on serious topics” daytime show “The View,” sanctimoniously told an audience shocked at a verdict in a trial it knew nothing about, “This is the world we live in and this is going to happen. We’re going to have to deal with all of this.”

Deal with what, Whoopie? That the justice system still requires evidence before locking people up, even when a white police officer is accused in a black man’s death? Continue reading

Unethical Quote Of The Week: Baltimore Activist Rev. Wesley West, From The Freddie Gray Ethics Train Wreck

Train Wreck

“I’m angry because this is what we deal with, and when I say ‘we,’ we’re talking about the black community and I’m a part of and represent that community as well, it seems like we have no voice when it comes to these issues. When it comes to conversations like this, we’re not involved. This should have been a jury trial where the community had a voice in this case. Of course a system works in a system’s favor, that’s how I look at it. That judge represents the system, and the police officer represents a system, but they’re all one system working together. And again I don’t think case was actually tried fairly when it comes down the community being involved.”

-Baltimore activist Reverend Wesley West, quoted by CBS news, in the wake of Freddie Gray’s arresting officer, Edward Nero, being found not guilty today of all charges brought against him as a result of Grey’s death following his arrest in April of 2015

The Freddie Grey Ethics Train Wreck, a bi-product of the Ferguson Ethics Train Wreck which was a direct result of the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman Ethics Train Wreck, is still rolling, in case you wondered.

This is the second trial of the accused officers to support the conclusion by many independent analysts that charges were brought against six Baltimore officers in the tragedy without sufficient evidence or investigation, in order to quell social unrest and mollify African American activists like West. That made the charges, by City Attorney Marilyn Mosby—whose husband just happened to be preparing a run for mayor, a coincidence, of course— unethical, and a capitulation to government by mob.

West is impugning the justice system despite knowing nothing of the evidence presented or what happened in the events leading to Gray’s death. His contention that “the community” should have a say in a police officer’s guilt or innocence is a direct appeal to mob justice. His statement is also factually false, especially in this instance. The community had far too much influence in the prosecution of Nero and the other officers already, using violence and the threat of more violence to extort the city. Continue reading

Now THIS Is Hypocrisy (Among Other Things)…

Hypocrisy meter

I thought Eliot Spitzer set a high bar for hypocritical prosecutors, but Ingham County (Michigan)  Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings makes him look like a piker.

Dunnings, a well-respected prosecutor since 1997 and an outspoken advocate for ending human trafficking and prostitution, is facing fifteen  criminal charges in Ingham, Clinton and Ionia counties, including ten counts of prostitution, pandering and four counts of willful neglect of duty.

Investigators connected to a 2015 federal investigation into a Michigan-based human trafficking ring determined that between 2010 and 2015, Dunnings paid for sex hundreds of times with many women whom he contacted using escort websites. Dunnings also allegedly induced one woman to become a prostitute,leading to the pandering charge, which carried a maximum sentence of 20 years. The prosecutor’s  brother, Lansing attorney Steven Dunnings, was also charged with two counts of prostitution.

Ethics Alarms frequently finds itself annoyed by mistaken, incorrect or unfair accusations of hypocrisy, and is grateful to Dunning, who claimed to be dedicated to wiping out human trafficking and prostitution while he was really supporting both with his patronage, for giving us a clear and unequivocal demonstration of what real hypocrisy looks like.

The Case Of The Snoozing Prosecutor

cigar ash

There is a true story about Clarence Darrow putting a wire in his cigar and puffing it during an opponents closing argument to the jury. The idea was to create an absurdly long ash, so the jury would become distracted and watched to see when it would fall on his suit, when they were supposed to be paying attention to the summation. I’ve used that story in ethics seminars, asking attendees if this was unethical, and if so, was there a rule that could be used to punish a lawyer who did it.

Now comes word that the Maine Supreme Judicial Court ruled  on Tuesday that there was no prejudicial error in the trial of Buddy Robinson, who was convicted in the death of his downstairs neighbor, despite the fact that the prosecutor, then Assistant Attorney General Andrew Benson, pretended to fall asleep during his Robinson’s lawyer’s closing. Robinson had appealed the verdict because of this and other questionable conduct by the prosecutor. Benson admitted that he sometimes pretended to be asleep in trials to annoy defense attorneys. In its opinion denying the appeal, the court concluded that the trial judge did not err in denying Robinson’s motion for a new trial, given the strength of the prosecution case.

It also said that the fake sleep bit “was sophomoric, unprofessional and a poor reflection on the prosecutor’s office.”

It’s also an ethics violation, a couple of ways. Maine’s Rules… Continue reading

Professionalism Tales: The Hilarious Prosecutor

Clown lawyerDeputy District Attorney Robert Alan Murray is a funny guy. Having apparently decided that it was too obvious to tell an arrested kid that he would be summarily shot, which is always a gas—you should see their faces!—and a bit too risky to put a whoopie cushion on a judge’s chair behind the bench—those old fogies have no sense of humor—the young California prosecutor hit on the brilliant idea of altering the transcript of the police interrogation of a Spanish-speaking defendant who was charged with lewd or lascivious acts with a child younger than 14 years old.

Murray, the dickens, added this wacky exchange to the transcript:

Officer: “You’re so guilty, you child molester.”

Suspect: “I know. I’m just glad she’s not pregnant like her mother.”

He kills me, he just kills me! Inexplicably, though, the assistant public defender complained about the altered transcript, told a judge, and the judge dismissed all charges against the accused child molester.Who would have guessed the public defender would use the gag to defend his client? What a party pooper. Continue reading

Mistrial In The First Freddie Gray Trial: There’s No Way Out Of This Ethics Train Wreck

Judge Declares Mistrial In First Freddie Gray Trial

In Baltimore this week, a judge declared a mistrial in the case of Baltimore Police Officer William G. Porter after jurors said they were deadlocked regarding all of the charges against him in the death of Freddie Gray. Porter, 26 and an African American, is the first of six police officers to be tried in Gray’s death. He has been charged with with involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office. Street protests began almost immediately.

Let’s review this disaster so far, shall we? Continue reading

From The Halloween Files: Arachnophobia Ethics

creepy-spider-halloween-decoration

I love this story!

Early last month, several secretaries in the Logan County (West Virginia) Prosecutor’s Office put up Halloween decorations, including a lot of big hanging fake spiders.  When he saw them, Assistant Prosecutor Chris White freaked out, saying he had arachnophobia, that the decorations weren’t funny, and he couldn’t stand the eight legged things. Then he pulled out his gun, and threatened to shoot the spiders. The gun had no clip, but the staff wasn’t sure; after all, if you are crazy enough to try to shoot fake spiders with an empty gun, you are probably crazy enough to  shoot fake spiders with a loaded gun. The three secretaries who witnessed the meltdown were terrified.

White was suspended for the incident. He’s been with the office for more than five years, according to his boss, John Bennett,who  took it well, saying, “I never saw it coming, that’s for sure. Obviously, I wouldn’t have even hired him if I had seen it coming. And the fact that he’s been there five years and we haven’t had any incidents like this also, to me, is a pretty good indication it’s certainly out of the ordinary.”

Hmmm. How ordinary does drawing a firearm  in an office because of Halloween decorations have to be before you decide, “You know, maybe this guy should be someplace else”? Continue reading

This Prosecutor Was Fired For A Non-Apology Apology, But He Should Have Been Fired Long, Long Before That

Bias bone or no bias bone? Wait---WHAT THE HELL IS A BIAS BONE???

Does Karl Price have a bias bone or no bias bone? Wait—WHAT THE HELL IS A BIAS BONE???

Karl Price, up until recently an assistant Jefferson County (Kentucky) district attorney,  was suspended last month for making derogatory remarks in court about gays, immigrants and the disabled.  First he was reprimanded for disparaging a Korean American family, but The Courier-Journal published a story showing that Price had denigrated defendants  in court many times and had even been admonished for it by judges. This prompted a review by the county attorney’s office that turned up more such incidents. One example: At an arraignment of a black defendant who was caught after running away from police, Price, an African-American, said, “I thought you black guys could run, but you never get away from police!”

Query: What kind of supervisor only finds out about long-term misconduct by an employee in public proceedings after reading about it in the local newspaper?

County Attorney Mike O’Connell offered Price, who had worked as an assistant prosecutor in the office for 25 years (“without complaint,” we are told, which may only mean the newspapers didn’t report the complaints)  a chance to keep his job if he submitted a sufficient apology for his conduct. Price submitted a letter that qualifies as a Level 9 or 10 on the Ethics Alarms Apology Scale. It was  a “deceitful apology, in which the wording of the apology is crafted to appear apologetic when it is not (#9) as well as “an insincere and dishonest apology designed to allow the wrongdoer to escape accountability cheaply.” (#10).

Price guaranteed the #9 rating when he began his apology by including the magic phrase, “if I have offended anyone…” He cemented a #10 rating by loading his letter with rationalizations. He wrote that he had been treated unfairly, arguing that other prosecutors have been given “several second chances” [Rationalization 39. The Pioneer’s Lament, or “Why should I be the first?”] and that his predecessor in arraignment court said “far more outrageous” things than he did [Rationalization Number 1: Everybody Does It].

Then this: Continue reading

The Most Unethical Prosecutor Of All: Baltimore’s Marilyn Mosby

Mosby

In a legal ethics seminar I taught this week for government attorneys, the vast majority of them voted that Marilyn Mosby’s vainglorious announcement of charges against six officers in the death of Freddie Gray was prosecutorial abuse, and a blatant violation of professional ethics rule 3.8, which directs that (this is the Maryland version)…

The prosecutor in a criminal case shall:

(a) refrain from prosecuting a charge that the prosecutor knows is not supported by probable cause;


(e) except for statements that are necessary to inform the public of the nature and extent of the prosecutor’s action and that serve a legitimate law enforcement purpose, refrain from making extrajudicial comments that have a substantial likelihood of heightening public condemnation of the accused and exercise reasonable care to prevent an employee or other person under the control of the prosecutor in a criminal case from making an extrajudicial statement that the prosecutor would be prohibited from making under Rule 3.6 or this Rule.

Of course it was a breach of ethics, and an outrageous one. Her statement, which I discussed here, not only overstated her justification for bringing the charges, which were rushed and announced before a careful investigation was completed, it also stated that the officers were guilty, and worse, that the charges were being brought because the demonstrating and rioting protesters has demanded it. Mosby’s words suggested that she stood with the mob. Continue reading