Playing into Mosby’s Hands

On Monday night at the Republican Convention, Milwaukee, Wisconsin Sherriff David Clarke effectively juxtaposed the recent murder of three police officers in Baton Rouge by a militant black ex-Marine, with Baltimore City’s own militant and lawless prosecution of its own officers in the Freddie Gray case. Clarke’s remarks were appropriate, poignant, and germane, but they may only encourage renegade Baltimore District Attorney Marilyn to press on with that city’s unjust prosecutions of its own police. Although Lieutenant Brian Rice was acquitted of all charges, Clarke defined the purely political nature of the Mosby’s actions, which have nothing to do with justice and everything to do with the Democrat racial pandering.

Rice was the fourth officer tried in the Gray cases, and the third fully acquitted. The acquitted officers are Edward Nero and Caesar Goodson. The trial of William Porter resulted in a hung jury. Porter is scheduled to be retried in September. Two other officers (Garrett Miller and Alicia White) are set to be tried in late July and October respectively. 

After the acquittals of Nero and Goodson, there was considerable speculation that Mosby would drop the prosecutions of the remaining officers, having batted zero thus far. At the time I noted that such speculation was probably unwarranted, not on the basis of reasonable legal calculations, but because Mosby was acting in a purely political manner. Dropping the prosecutions at that time would have only further damaged her career and her reputation with the remaining constituency that supports her -- some elements of Baltimore’s black community, Democrat politicians there and elsewhere, and the national Black Lives Matter movement with its progeny -- to include the killers of Dallas and Baton Rouge. The prosecution of Rice was inevitable. 

Pressing on with the prosecutions allows Mosby to claim she is vindicating the “rights” of Grey. David Jaros, a University of Maryland law professor quoted in the Washington Post justifies Mosby’s continuing the prosecutions as “…sending a valuable message to the community as to the value of a poor black man’s life…” That Gray’s family has already received a $6 million settlement from the city -- which represents not so much the value of Grey’s misspent life but a blackmail payment to stave off further rioting -- seems not to have entered the professor’s calculation. 

Nevertheless, in the wake of Rice’s acquittal, Mosby will again be under pressure to drop the remaining cases. Although Rice was the highest ranking officer involved in the arrest and transport of Gray, his trial was even more of a fiasco for the prosecution than the earlier acquittals. 

Rice, like Nero and Goodson, chose to be tried by Judge Barry Williams rather than before a jury. I’ve been critical of Williams for some rulings in the these cases that favored the prosecution, such as refusing to change venue, ordering officers still facing trial to testify, and ruling that that evidence about Gray’s knife not be presented.  But Williams has otherwise proved to be an honest and even brave jurist, who has bucked the political winds in Baltimore and been an unpleasant surprise for Mosby. Williams has not only acquitted all three officers who requested a bench trial, but in Rice’s case telegraphed as best he can just how baseless he believes these cases against the police to be. 

Perhaps fearing William’s wrath, the prosecution dropped a misconduct charge relating directly to Gray’s arrest in Rice’s case, which was based on a theory that the officer supervised an improper “Terry stop” and could be held criminally liable for that. Williams acquitted Nero on similar charges, but seemed to leave to door open to the prosecution to pursue such charges against Rice or Garrett Miller. Maybe the prosecutors missed that, or feel they have a better shot with Miller (who actually physically arrested Gray) or they actually came to their senses and realized prosecuting police for improper Terry stops will mean that police will simply not make them, and that Baltimore’s already rampant crime will get much worse. The prosecution is so inept it is hard to tell.

Williams appears to be tiring of the ineptitude. In Rice’s case, Williams dismissed some of the charges on a defense motion at the close of the prosecution’s case, and mentioned that he almost did the same for some others. This is quite rare, as at that stage of a trial the judge is to view all facts in the light most favorable to the prosecution. Williams also barred the prosecution from entering documentary evidence because they violated discovery orders. Williams has, short of pounding his gavel and just saying so, effectively told Mosby that her theories of the case are wanting, she lacks evidence for the charges she’s brought, and not to bring another case before him.   

Williams is a living, breathing example of putting the law and justice ahead of politics, but unfortunately that is not an idea that has much value to modern Democrats. From President Obama’s almost countless inappropriate public pronouncements on any number of legal matters since he took office, to the Justice Department’s refusal to prosecute Hillary Clinton or Lois Lerner (not to mention a dozen other matters) Democrat politicians see laws that don’t suit them as hindrances to get around, not as expressions of republican government that must be honored. 

Thus Sherriff Clarke’s comments on the Baltimore cases at the Republican convention, however honest and necessary, also play right into Mosby’s hands. In the zero sum game that national politics has become in the last few decades -- but especially under Obama -- that Republicans oppose the further prosecution of the Baltimore police, must mean that those prosecutions are justified as far as Democrats are concerned. 

Indeed, it is hard to believe that Mosby was not thrilled to hear Clarke’s condemnation of her actions. Not only because the publicity-hungry prosecutor probably likes hearing her name in any national context, but because it confirms the political nature of the prosecution, which while wrong, Mosby will now wear with greater partisan pride. 

I doubt that there has ever been much chance of Mosby dropping these prosecutions, no matter how many times she loses. William’s rulings are clearly designed to push her in that direction, but Clarke reminds us that Mosby is unlikely to care. 

Williams and Clarke are good men who ought to be listened to, particularly in this troubled time. Most likely Marilyn Mosby will not.  

On Monday night at the Republican Convention, Milwaukee, Wisconsin Sherriff David Clarke effectively juxtaposed the recent murder of three police officers in Baton Rouge by a militant black ex-Marine, with Baltimore City’s own militant and lawless prosecution of its own officers in the Freddie Gray case. Clarke’s remarks were appropriate, poignant, and germane, but they may only encourage renegade Baltimore District Attorney Marilyn to press on with that city’s unjust prosecutions of its own police. Although Lieutenant Brian Rice was acquitted of all charges, Clarke defined the purely political nature of the Mosby’s actions, which have nothing to do with justice and everything to do with the Democrat racial pandering.

Rice was the fourth officer tried in the Gray cases, and the third fully acquitted. The acquitted officers are Edward Nero and Caesar Goodson. The trial of William Porter resulted in a hung jury. Porter is scheduled to be retried in September. Two other officers (Garrett Miller and Alicia White) are set to be tried in late July and October respectively. 

After the acquittals of Nero and Goodson, there was considerable speculation that Mosby would drop the prosecutions of the remaining officers, having batted zero thus far. At the time I noted that such speculation was probably unwarranted, not on the basis of reasonable legal calculations, but because Mosby was acting in a purely political manner. Dropping the prosecutions at that time would have only further damaged her career and her reputation with the remaining constituency that supports her -- some elements of Baltimore’s black community, Democrat politicians there and elsewhere, and the national Black Lives Matter movement with its progeny -- to include the killers of Dallas and Baton Rouge. The prosecution of Rice was inevitable. 

Pressing on with the prosecutions allows Mosby to claim she is vindicating the “rights” of Grey. David Jaros, a University of Maryland law professor quoted in the Washington Post justifies Mosby’s continuing the prosecutions as “…sending a valuable message to the community as to the value of a poor black man’s life…” That Gray’s family has already received a $6 million settlement from the city -- which represents not so much the value of Grey’s misspent life but a blackmail payment to stave off further rioting -- seems not to have entered the professor’s calculation. 

Nevertheless, in the wake of Rice’s acquittal, Mosby will again be under pressure to drop the remaining cases. Although Rice was the highest ranking officer involved in the arrest and transport of Gray, his trial was even more of a fiasco for the prosecution than the earlier acquittals. 

Rice, like Nero and Goodson, chose to be tried by Judge Barry Williams rather than before a jury. I’ve been critical of Williams for some rulings in the these cases that favored the prosecution, such as refusing to change venue, ordering officers still facing trial to testify, and ruling that that evidence about Gray’s knife not be presented.  But Williams has otherwise proved to be an honest and even brave jurist, who has bucked the political winds in Baltimore and been an unpleasant surprise for Mosby. Williams has not only acquitted all three officers who requested a bench trial, but in Rice’s case telegraphed as best he can just how baseless he believes these cases against the police to be. 

Perhaps fearing William’s wrath, the prosecution dropped a misconduct charge relating directly to Gray’s arrest in Rice’s case, which was based on a theory that the officer supervised an improper “Terry stop” and could be held criminally liable for that. Williams acquitted Nero on similar charges, but seemed to leave to door open to the prosecution to pursue such charges against Rice or Garrett Miller. Maybe the prosecutors missed that, or feel they have a better shot with Miller (who actually physically arrested Gray) or they actually came to their senses and realized prosecuting police for improper Terry stops will mean that police will simply not make them, and that Baltimore’s already rampant crime will get much worse. The prosecution is so inept it is hard to tell.

Williams appears to be tiring of the ineptitude. In Rice’s case, Williams dismissed some of the charges on a defense motion at the close of the prosecution’s case, and mentioned that he almost did the same for some others. This is quite rare, as at that stage of a trial the judge is to view all facts in the light most favorable to the prosecution. Williams also barred the prosecution from entering documentary evidence because they violated discovery orders. Williams has, short of pounding his gavel and just saying so, effectively told Mosby that her theories of the case are wanting, she lacks evidence for the charges she’s brought, and not to bring another case before him.   

Williams is a living, breathing example of putting the law and justice ahead of politics, but unfortunately that is not an idea that has much value to modern Democrats. From President Obama’s almost countless inappropriate public pronouncements on any number of legal matters since he took office, to the Justice Department’s refusal to prosecute Hillary Clinton or Lois Lerner (not to mention a dozen other matters) Democrat politicians see laws that don’t suit them as hindrances to get around, not as expressions of republican government that must be honored. 

Thus Sherriff Clarke’s comments on the Baltimore cases at the Republican convention, however honest and necessary, also play right into Mosby’s hands. In the zero sum game that national politics has become in the last few decades -- but especially under Obama -- that Republicans oppose the further prosecution of the Baltimore police, must mean that those prosecutions are justified as far as Democrats are concerned. 

Indeed, it is hard to believe that Mosby was not thrilled to hear Clarke’s condemnation of her actions. Not only because the publicity-hungry prosecutor probably likes hearing her name in any national context, but because it confirms the political nature of the prosecution, which while wrong, Mosby will now wear with greater partisan pride. 

I doubt that there has ever been much chance of Mosby dropping these prosecutions, no matter how many times she loses. William’s rulings are clearly designed to push her in that direction, but Clarke reminds us that Mosby is unlikely to care. 

Williams and Clarke are good men who ought to be listened to, particularly in this troubled time. Most likely Marilyn Mosby will not.