By AFRO Editorial Staff
Early voting in Maryland begins June 14 and Baltimore is faced with one of its most critical elections in many years, especially when it comes to issues of law enforcement and criminal justice.
Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby has been under constant attack by her two opponents; Ivan Bates, a defense attorney and former prosecutor in the State’s Attorney’s Office (1999-2002) and Thiru Vignarajah, a former deputy attorney general for Maryland. However, Bates has been the most relentless, alternately blaming Mosby almost singularly for the violence that has ravaged Baltimore over the last several years and declaring repeatedly that, “I never lost a murder case.”
For Bates to place the lion’s share of blame at the door of Mosby’s office is ridiculous, given the city’s historic struggles with pervasive poverty, failing public schools and arguably the most corrupt big city police department in America. There is plenty of blame to go around in a city that has struggled in many areas for many years. Also, this week it was reported that Bates’ claim he has never lost a murder case is either wildly misleading, or patently false.
Larry Gibson, a noted attorney and venerable University of Maryland law professor searched case files for Bates’ record as a lead prosecutor in murder cases and his findings are as follows:
“In his months in the homicide division, Bates participated in eight murder cases. In none of the cases was he the lead prosecutor. Five of the cases were dismissed. One case was plea bargained. One case was transferred to Juvenile Court. The final case ended in acquittal, after Bates left the prosecutor’s office. He never tried a single murder case,” said Gibson of Bates’ record.
As troubling as Bate’s claims about his prosecutorial record are, perhaps what is even more alarming is his alleged fealty to the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), a group that has repeatedly attacked Mosby after she indicted the six officers connected to the death of Freddie Gray in May 2015.
Recently, the FOP published a letter in the Sun (May 25), which claimed Mosby was to blame for the death of Baltimore County Police Officer First Class Amy Caprio in May. Because Dawnta Harris, the 16-year old charged as an adult with Caprio’s murder, had been assigned to house arrest by the judge in Harris’ car theft case (prior to the tragedy in Baltimore County) despite the objections of Mosby’s office. That fact is supported by Tanika Wilson, Harris’ mother.
For the FOP to say that Mosby was to blame for Harris being at large is diabolical.
There are multiple opinions about how Mosby handled the indictment of the officers she charged in Gray’s death. Ultimately, as Mosby has said in the past, “We do not believe Freddie Gray killed himself.”
It took great courage for her to take the stand she took and fight for justice for Gray and even though she did not obtain convictions of any of the officers in the Gray case, her actions sparked a nationwide police reform movement. Mosby is not infallible, no prosecutor is, but perhaps Rep. Elijah Cummings said it best the day Mosby announced the charges against those officers.
“I believe in her integrity…I believe in her,” Cummings said. We echo Rep. Cummings confidence in her. The AFRO reaffirms our endorsement. Re-elect Marilyn Mosby for Baltimore City State’s Attorney.