Sunday, November 27, 2016

Baltimore prosecutor: "It's shameful to take pride" in convictions.

The embarrassment that is the tenure of Marilyn Mosby, the State Attorney in Baltimore.  The grandstanding attorney who appeared onstage at a Prince concert shortly after she railroaded six cops in the Freddie Gray case apparently has  a much lower conviction rate than her predecessor- and brags about it.   However, what she lacks in competence she makes up for in making excuses.  The Wall Street Journal reported last week:


Felony convictions in Baltimore dropped soon after the city’s top prosecutor took office in January 2015, and the lower rate has persisted at a time of increased violent crime, an exclusive data analysis by The Wall Street Journal found.

Under State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, Baltimore has posted quarterly felony conviction rates that have been lower than those under her predecessor, Gregg Bernstein, who served from 2011 through 2014, an analysis of court records shows.

About 53% of felony cases closed since Ms. Mosby took office have ended in conviction, compared with 67% the previous four years, the Journal found. The result is similar when comparing just cases involving violent crimes, such as assault or robbery.

Meanwhile, Baltimore is reeling. The city of about 620,000 people is on pace to log more than 300 murders for a second straight year, one of the highest homicide rates among America’s largest cities. Its violent-crime rate rose in 2015 to its highest in seven years, according to FBI statistics. And Baltimore police data show the city’s violent crime has risen thus far in 2016 compared with this time last year.

Some observers say Ms. Mosby’s management of the office is a contributing factor in the drop in convictions. Her office disputes that criticism, in part blaming the quality of cases brought by police.

The Journal examined all closed felony cases from 2011 through August 2016. It counted cases that ended in verdicts or guilty pleas as well as those in which prosecutors dropped or set aside charges. That approach mirrors a method commonly used by criminologists and the U.S. Justice Department. If a defendant was found guilty of any charge—not just the most serious ones—it counted as a conviction.

Ms. Mosby declined to be interviewed for this article but issued a statement defending her conviction rate as “steady and high,” adding, “It’s shameful to take pride in overwhelming conviction rates. We are here to do justice and make Baltimore safer, not gloat.”

When Ms. Mosby, 36 years old, launched her bid for the office in 2013, she told a rally outside the courthouse that Mr. Bernstein was “failing to obtain convictions.” She had five years’ of prosecution experience working under Mr. Bernstein and his predecessor Patricia Jessamy, primarily on lower-level cases.

She was thrust into the national spotlight barely three months into her tenure as state’s attorney after Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old African-American resident of Baltimore, died from injuries he sustained in a police van in April 2015.

Days after rioting shook the city, Ms. Mosby charged six police officers with counts that included second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter in connection with the death of Mr. Gray. One trial ended in a hung jury, and a judge acquitted three others officers in separate trials, ruling prosecutors didn’t prove guilt. Ms. Mosby dropped all remaining charges this past July....

But even in the months before she took on the police cases, felony convictions in the city were falling, as prosecutors dismissed a greater share of cases, the Journal found. All told, prosecutors have dropped or set aside charges in 43% of felony cases under Ms. Mosby, the Journal found, compared with 29% under Mr. Bernstein, whom she defeated in the 2014 Democratic primary.

Ms. Mosby, however, said her office has won convictions in more than 90% of felony cases, but her methodology excludes cases her office dropped. She said some other district attorney’s offices calculate conviction rates that way. Ms. Mosby’s numbers nonetheless indicate her conviction rate on that basis is slightly lower than previous Baltimore state’s attorneys since 2008.

At the same time, she acknowledged an increase in cases dismissed or set aside by prosecutors, attributing the trend largely to police behavior. Among others, she cited constitutional violations of suspects’ rights, such as those detailed in a sharply critical Justice Department report released in August concerning Baltimore police practices stretching back years. Ms. Mosby said prosecutors have a duty to dismiss charges in such cases.

She also said officers and witnesses sometimes don’t appear in court. She faulted the police lab for tardy analysis in drug cases and said that to resolve cases faster, judges are less willing to grant procedural postponements than under her predecessor.

A Baltimore police spokesman didn’t directly address Ms. Mosby’s criticism but said the department strives for “quality investigations, arrests and subsequently prosecution” of violent offenders, and works to address any issues with particular cases or “problematic trends.”

Her critics say Ms. Mosby’s office’s tension with police has masked other problems. Some former staff members interviewed by the Journal linked the rising number of cases dropped by prosecutors to an exodus of veteran attorneys, fueled by what they say was low morale and weak support for prosecutors by Ms. Mosby.

Departures started within days of her arrival, when she fired several prosecutors, including one in mid-trial. About 70 assistant state’s attorneys have left her office, nearly all voluntarily, for a turnover rate of about a third of the staff.

“Many junior attorneys would come to me and say they were not getting enough supervision, getting promoted too quickly…felt like they were doing a bad job,” said Jesse Halvorsen, who resigned in July after 15 years as a prosecutor to join a firm that defended a sergeant charged in Mr. Gray’s death.

That view isn’t universal, however. Former prosecutor Aaliyah Muhammad, who left in October 2015 after a decade, praised Ms. Mosby’s support. “We would talk personally about cases,” said Ms. Muhammad, who recalled a positive atmosphere. She said she quit to shorten her commute and because her pension had vested.

Ms. Mosby’s office said “change is hard” and that some people didn’t adapt well to her reforms and aggressive leadership. (KF: It's everyone's fault.  Sounds like Eddie Jordan and we all know how that turned out.)

Meanwhile, Ms. Mosby said she has filled nearly all vacancies in her office and that it employs 212 assistant state’s attorneys, up from 202 the previous fiscal year. She said the experience level of attorneys has remained consistent over the past three years, averaging eight years. Rest of article.

Kingfish note: Leaders lead.  Incompetent leaders are usually good at one thing: Making excuses and blaming others for their own failures.  Ms. Mosby has been nothing but incompetent since she took office.  She is literally the prosecution for the defense. 

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

She and RSS would make a great team for the defense.

Anonymous said...

Sounds familiar rss

Anonymous said...

A product of quotas.

Anonymous said...

Prince? What is her stage name?

Anonymous said...

Why is what happens in Baltimore any of our business?
The people of Baltimore can throw her out if they choose and decide a 4% decrease in convictions is unwarranted and they will know the cases in more detail.
If she's colluding with criminals, the State AG or the feds can go after her.

Anonymous said...

That's the way to enlighten yourself 5:51. If it "happens" anywhere but right where you live, such as D.C., Dallas, or perhaps another country, then why is it any of "our business"? Take the "feds" for instance, what does that have to do with your tax $?

Anonymous said...

It comes with the territory @7:33. Since JJ is #1 in Mississippi you are bound to get some of those who are less enlightened leaving comments here. It is a good thing that Kingfish is wildly successful and a bad thing that, as a result, we have to read some garbage comments. It could be a whole lot worse like it is over at the JFP.

Anonymous said...

8:16
7:33 here, I do not care to visit JFP. I am very conservative and very open minded. Yes, the two are not mutually exclusive which comes as a shock to some. I know Donna and her views are just plain irrational. In many was like those of 5:51, if not worse, as she claims to be enlightened.

I'll Just Drop These Dots Off.. said...

Let me connect some dots for you, 5:51.

Not too long ago there was a lot of civil unrest in Baltimore and other parts of Maryland. Shops were looted, businesses were burned out, people were shot and killed, cops were assaulted and maybe a few were killed.

The double-qualified-affirmative-action mayor was an apologist for the criminal element and a ration of blame was poured over the cops for months. Hatred and unrest were ramped up with her blessings and those of the entire black establishment of that state. Baltimore is now the standard bearer for civil unrest in modern-day America.

Your president and mine got himself involved and raised the bar on criminal behavior, advocating that the police are bad actors and need to be challenged. Since then he has dispatched his minions to funeral tents across America, celebrating the lives of the criminal element and suggesting 'The Movement' needs to double, triple its presence.

As a result of his leadership in this arena, the Black Lives Matter movement was born. That movement now invades every corner of this country. And it won't stop any time soon. All by design. Right out of The Community Organizer's (Neighborhood Agitator's) Handbook.

It all started in Ferguson and Baltimore with insidious roots trailing southward to Travon's hood.

So, you see....what happens in other venues, Baltimore in this instance (and earlier), damned sure does affect us all. You can't even connect TWO dots, much less five or six, so I've wasted my time here.

Anonymous said...

I admit that I voted for Jimmy Carter. I concede that Carter was the worst President of the 20th Century. Barak Obama makes Jimmy Carter look like a good President.

I didn't vote for Trump and I'm glad I didn't vote for Trump. Yet Trump will be a colossal improvement over Barak Obama.

Anonymous said...

Prosecutors in highly concentrated African American communities have a much harder time convicting young black males of crimes.

It's true here in MS as it is everywhere else.

AA juries do not like jailing black youth....it's nonsensical to others but it is a fact of life currently.

If we are to progress we have to communicate better...and quickly.

Whites have given up on inner cities and a tumultuous future awaits if we don't problem solve.

Anonymous said...

Obama's will go down as the biggest failed Presidency of the modern era.

Anonymous said...

1:03. Your post could have been mine, except I had sense enough to not have voted for Carter in 76. But otherwise I totally agree with your analysis.

Anonymous said...

What manner of stupidity leads one to say Obama is a failed president yet he did not vote for Trump? The only act more ignorant than not voting for Trump is voting for Clinton. And only act more hollow-headed than that is to not have voted at all. Are there other options for you imbeciles?

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If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

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