With the complete acquittal of Caesar Goodson this week, the argument being made by Maryland State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby has essentially imploded. Goodson was allegedly the “most culpable” in the death of Freddie Gray and the one officer involved in the incident who might have been convicted on any sort of charges. There are still four more trials slated to take place, however, all of which would grind more salt into the wounds between City Hall and the police force. Should they even continue? Legal experts are weighing in on the subject and there’s a fair case to to be made that Mosby should simply quit while she’s behind. (AT&T News)
Is it ethical for Baltimore’s top prosecutor, who staked her reputation on charging six police officers in the death of Freddie Gray, to keep trying for a conviction? Legal experts said Friday that State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby is obligated to consider this question…
“I think she understands her ethical obligations,” said University of Baltimore President Kurt Schmoke, who had Mosby’s job in the 1980s before serving as the city’s mayor.
“If I were in her position, I’d take the next couple of days to reevaluate the cases under these new circumstances. If she felt that the rest of the evidence that she has is not as strong as she felt last May, then I would think she would probably conclude that she shouldn’t proceed,” Schmoke said.
Mosby certainly does have a lot to consider at this point if she’s taking her job seriously. (Something which has been debatable since this entire debacle began.) As much as we may not like to ponder the realities of the legal system, prosecutors have to consider each case not only in terms of whether or not they “feel” the suspect is guilty, but if the evidence and resources make it likely that they will prevail in court. The argument that any of the officers involved in the arrest and subsequent death of Freddie Gray were engaged in intentional malicious behavior amounting to murder was “thin” to put it charitably, and the deceptive way which some of that evidence was handled or suppressed has further eroded any chances Mosby had of a conviction. How much of the city’s time and resources can she continue to devote to this quest in good conscience if she’s only going to face one embarrassing defeat after another?
The other factor to consider is the long term health of the relationship between the police and the municipal administration, upon which the long term health of Baltimore depends? To keep going into the ring and swinging in what clearly seems to be a biased attack on law enforcement as an institution is inflaming, not easing tensions in the community. And even if you remain in denial of the reality of the Ferguson Effect, inspiring the cops to be hesitant in doing their jobs will further doom Baltimore to a downward spiral of crime and decay.
Mosby should throw in the towel and this point and simply admit that this was always more of a publicity stunt to appease the protesters than any sort of actual justice. It would be a painful path for her, but sometimes it’s better to simply rip off the bandage in one fell swoop and get it over with.