Thursday, December 3, 2015
Who's Minding the Prosecutor's Office? Not Marilyn Mosby.
Marilyn Mosby, according to a local news report, is "front and center" watching the trial against Officer William Porter in the Freddie Gray case. She herself is not capable of trying it -- way too inexperienced -- but she's there anyway as a spectator, just as she attended the pre-trial motions in the case. One would think that with her two top deputies handling the trial, Mosby would be running things in the office.
Nope. In the first year of her administration, with a million issues to confront, Mosby is being paid over $238,000 to watch a trial. It doesn't take a genius to figure out why: she has staked her reputation on this case, and she wants the judge and jurors to know it, to influence them by her presence. Never in my two decades as a Baltimore prosecutor did I see a State's Attorney watch a trial. They had too much work to do.
So the State's Attorney's office, which lost so many experienced attorneys when she took over, is running rudderless while the number of homicides in Baltimore return to the horrifying levels of decades past. Mosby and her deputies, instead of managing the office, are engulfed in a trial she could have assigned to the chief of her homicide division.
But perhaps it doesn't matter. Mosby and her team lack the judgment, priorities and experience needed to run an effective prosecutor's office anyway. Mosby was a run-of-the-mill prosecutor who became a run-of-the-mill insurance attorney before election to the largest prosecutor's office in the state. Michael Schatzow, the self-described champion of civil rights, and Janice Bledsoe, a career defense attorney, are engaged in prosecuting a case in which they, were they still watchdogs against the abuse of power, would be frothing at the mouth in righteous indignation. Their failure to recognize their own abuse of the prosecutor's power to charge and prosecute, and the irony of their role reversal, is astonishing.
I knew when I read Mosby's probable cause statement issued a mere two weeks after the death of Freddie Gray that she was acting not as a prosecutor - following the facts wherever they led - but as a politician. Still, I waited to see if she was holding something back, waited for some evidence that justified her charges (if not her haste) before reaching any final conclusions.
But the autopsy report made it clear that Freddie Gray's death was a tragic accident, and that no police officer beat him, broke his neck, or killed him. No police officer ignored an obviously injured man and left him to die.
So Mosby is essentially engaged in a political persecution to demonstrate that she will do something about police brutality and enhance her political career. She picked the wrong set of facts, and now is wasting tremendous resources to justify herself.
Including her own fat salary, while she sits around watching a trial instead of running her office.