Prosecutors have a power that is among the most subject to abuse in the whole country. The power to bring a criminal prosecution is the power to destroy a life. Most people who are genuinely innocent don’t have the financial means and the will to risk jury trial against unscrupulous prosecutors. Very seldom does a politically motivated prosecution get punished at all.
However, Marilyn Mosby, the prosecutor in the center of the Freddie Gray prosecutions, has been hit with a bar complaint that seeks her disbarment for a bevy of ethical violations related to her prosecution of six baltimore police officers:
According to the complaint, filed by Prof. John F. Banzhaf, Mosby violated multiple provisions of the Maryland Lawyer’s Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC) including withholding exculpatory evidence, making improper public statements and continuing to prosecute a case after there is insufficient evidence to support a conviction.
“In many situations somebody with legal knowledge to file a complaint — such as an attorney in private practice — would be relunctant to do so because they dont want to stir up controversy…. So, the only group that remains able to do soemthing like this would be law professors. They have legal skill … and we are reasonably impartial,” Prof. Banzahaf said to LawNewz.com.
He added, “I do not represent anyone in the case, I have no direct involvement and I’m not in Baltimore. That makes me about as impartial as you can get.”
Several news reports and developments in the Freddie Gray cases over the past few weeks also played a large role in Prof. Banzhaf’s decision to file complaint. Specifically, the allegations from the lead investigator who claims prosecutors misled the grand jury in order to obtain an indictment. An affidavit from a Baltimore Sheriff’s investigator who says they played a minimal role in the investigation. Mosby has claimed the Sheriff’s Office conducted its own independent investigation of Gray’s death, but in the new affidavit the investigator strongly denies the claims, saying he had “no involvement in the investigation whatsoever.”
I haven’t followed the Gray case closely enough to comment on the likelihood of success here, but I am glad that a prosecutor is – for once – having to justify their actions in order to keep their career. It’s nothing like having to justify your actions to avoid jail time, but at least it’s something that can hopefully make other overzealous prosecutors think.