However, many were willing to give her the benefit of the doubt. I understand that. I have done that for leaders who I assume know more than I do, and I want to trust their competence and good faith.
Still, as it became more obvious even to laymen that Mosby's criminal cases weren't even close, many still refused to criticize her. The editorial board of the Baltimore Sun, one of her chief apologists, still doesn't understand that a prosecutor's duty is to justice, that one cannot use criminal trials to air out facts or make a political statement without proof of a crime. (Earth to Sun: Mosby could and should have used the Grand Jury to collect facts, properly apply the law to the facts, and then air the proceedings.)
I wonder whether the Sun would have written the same editorial had they first watched Mosby's news conference. Angry, petulant, and stunningly unprofessional, she ranted about her grievances. My highlights:
- It was the police department's fault, they were biased. This after she boasted last year about her own "parallel" investigation, ignoring the official police report in making her decision to charge. (Of course, the public now knows that she didn't investigate anything using the sheriff's office as she falsely claimed she did.)
- The police "unreasonably" chased Freddie Gray. Except her own trial team had to concede that under the law police were justified in such a chase. Where is the memo from Mosby to her prosecutors instructing them to ignore Supreme Court law in all the other cases her office prosecutes? Hope she gets that out to the police department.
- A defendant shouldn't have the right to choose to be tried by a judge. Oh-no-she-didn't. Mosby insinuated that the judge was biased and now wants prosecutors to choose the factfinder, a breathtakingly arrogant proposal in light of her own overzealousness, from which these defendants were saved by an impartial judge. Her "reform" - which would be opposed by minorities - will cost her any remaining credibility with the bar.
After this rant Mosby refused to take questions, and she made the rounds of television appearances on condition that she couldn't be interviewed live. In other words, she wanted only to tell her angry story without facing up to legitimate scrutiny. She's claiming credit for new police procedures and body cameras, reforms that didn't require phony criminal charges to make happen.
What did Mosby really tell us yesterday? That she's ethically blind and legally challenged, an immature, angry woman with a personal agenda who learned nothing about the law or her duties over the past year. Last year she won heaps of praise for her poise and forcefulness.
This time, shown at eye level on the street, she seemed smaller -- diminished, defensive and angry as she pointed fingers at others for the failure of her office to win convictions against any of the six officers charged. The Marilyn Mosby on my screen this morning seemed far less in control or powerfully righteous.The Sun's David Zurawik, a Mosby admirer last year, went on to suggest that this was due to the "toll" the case had taken on her. I don't think so. She was angry last year, an anger that showed in her manner and seeped into her delivery. As for toll, her staff did the hard work of the trials while she watched. She is still angry, but this time in the embarrassment of failure, a failure she brought upon herself.
We saw the real Mosby yesterday, a scary sight for the citizens of Baltimore. Many will think she "tried," they may credit her for "courage," but they are fooling themselves. We citizens will pay the price as Mosby's baseless prosecutions and poisonous press conferences make police officers back off from their duties, knowing that Mosby is looking to take them down even when they act in good faith. Actually, as crime statistics and personal experiences attest, we already are.