Thursday, June 16, 2016

Three Blind Mice

The trial of Caesar Goodson, the police officer who drove the van in which Freddie Gray suffered his fatal injury, amplifies what the acquittal of Edward Nero already proved: State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby and her trial prosecutors, Michael Schatzow and Janice Bledsoe, are so completely blinded by their determination to pin Gray's death on a cop that they cannot see how patently ridiculous their cases look.  

We already know that they lack the ethics that prosecutors are supposed to have, announcing ahead of time (Mosby) that they will get justice for Gray and ignoring all evidence that contradicts their theory of the case.  They will even argue legal positions that other prosecutors in their office oppose to get what they want.  But to announce what they will prove in court and then prove the opposite reveals a level of obliviousness to the facts and indifference to the truth that would be comical if not so scary. 

Schatzow promised evidence of a rough ride by Goodson. What did he present?  Evidence that Goodson did not provide a rough ride.  He promised evidence that Nero assaulted Gray when he arrested him. What did he produce? Evidence that Nero didn't even arrest him.  And they don't seem to see this.  They argue their cases as though this was some law school moot court, not as prosecutors with the ethical duty to impartially assess the facts.

The original probable cause statement produced by these three prosecutors was on its face so lacking in grounds for criminal charges that professional observers believed that there had to be more.  What we have learned is that there is less.  And yet Mosby, Schatzow and Bledsoe continue on, enabled by a judge who refused to change the location of the trials (as he should have) and remains reluctant to dismiss charges for which the state fails to prove each element of the crimes alleged.

Goodson should be acquitted, hands down.  And as the officer with the most serious charges, his acquittal should finally send a message to Mosby and Co. that it's time to stop spinning around on their mouse wheel.   

But I wouldn't bet on it.  To put on the cases these three have manufactured, at such cost to the city (in public safety, morale, and money), they must suffer from permanent blindness.  

Splashy, but Irrelevant

The showdown that went down in court Thursday between lead prosecutor Michael Schatzow and lead police investigator Dawnyell Jones may have entertained journalists and spectators, but it's ultimately meaningless.

Carol Allan, the assistant medical examiner who examined Gray's body, ruled his death a homicide. Jones said that Allan first called it a "freakish accident."  My own personal view is that no M.E. would have called it a homicide unless led by the nose by prosecutors.  What Jones alleged that Allan said - "no human hands can cause this [injury]" -- was factually true.  No police officer beat up Gray.  Allan was prompted by Mosby's team to call it a homicide, but she applied a legal theory that wasn't for her to decide.  All the M.E. can do is tell us what physically caused a death.  The legal characterization of that cause is someone else's responsibility.

So the sideshow over what Allan really thought or really said doesn't matter, as Judge Williams well knows.  I am surprised he just didn't say so, since he is the one charged with rendering the verdict. On second thought, I shouldn't be surprised about anything anymore when it comes to the Freddie Gray case.  


  1. Thank you for your perspective on this case!

  2. So are you saying that a prosecutor could convince an M.E. to determine homicide?

    Was there a 2nd autopsy done?

    1. I am not award of a second autopsy. But yes, I believe these prosecutors did persuade Allan to rule homicide. She was walked through all the witness statements, and the video, and the van, and then decided upon the exact same theory of homicide that Mosby was already ready to pursue, a very legalistic theory that working on her own was unlikely to come up with.

  3. Miss Croyder,
    In a comment to your "Baltimore's Dangerous Prosecutors" blog last month, I wondered who did the SAO's investigation. I believe it's quite evident by now that there wasn't much of an investigation. It is understandable Det. Taylor would have a falling out with ASA Bledsoe--there was no criminal intent and the detective was probably incredulous the prosecutors refused to admit it.
    ASA Schatzow suggested police officials tried to persuade Assistant Medical Examiner Allan to rule Gray's death an accicent rather than a homicide. It's apparent now Mosby--following her political agenda, not her oath of office--influenced Allan to make it homicide, not the accident it was. You state the sideshow about Allan really doesn't matter. That may be true relative to what the judge considers, but in a very real sense, she is the enabler of Mosby's travesty which is a neverending nightmare for the six officers. Allan testifying that she never considered this an accident, in and of itself, tells you all you need to know about her as a medical examiner.
    Once again, thanks for your blog,
    Charles Gilbert

  4. I believe that no matter what Allan said, Mosby would have proceeded. Mosby received the autopsy report the morning she announced her charges, so was already ready to go. Had Allan called it an accident, Mosby simply would have said the accident was really murder - just as an M.E. might call a shooting death a suicide only to have it prosecuted as a murder. But yes, Allan gave Mosby considerable cover with her ruling.

  5. If there ever is a blatant example of a "Kangaroo Court" then this whole case deserves several stars. Thank you Page for giving your professional insight into this travesty.

  6. Not Guity!
    Can't wait to read your next blog!