Grievance Against Md. Prosecutor in Gray Cases

     BALTIMORE (CN) — A law professor has called for Maryland to disbar the prosecutor who brought charges against six Baltimore police officers for the death of Freddie Gray.
     John F. Banzhaf III, an attorney and professor of law at the George Washington University, filed the formal complaint against Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby on Wednesday with the Maryland Attorney Grievance Commission.
     The 10-page grievance calls Mosby a “runaway prosecutor” who violated ethics rules at almost every turn in the case.
     So far, two of the officers Mosby charged have won acquittals in bench trials.
     The other four, including one facing retrial after his jury deadlocked, moved Monday to dismiss the charges against them.
     Mirroring language in lawsuits that five of the officers have filed against Mosby, Banzah says Mosby violated ethical rules from the moment she announced the charges against the officers in May 2015 to this week, when her office failed to amend charges against the four remaining officers as her office’s losses mount.
     Gray’s death in April of last year ignited protests and riots across the city. The 25-year-old was arrested on April 12 but arrived at the station unresponsive in a police-transport van, where he was handcuffed and shackled but not secured with a seatbelt.
     After Gray died a week later of a severe spinal cord injury, the medical examiner ruled the man’s death a homicide.
     In the complaint Banzhaf “respectfully requests a prompt investigation of the conduct of Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby.”
     He also writes “the charges were clearly unwarranted by the evidence; e.g., that they were not supported by probable cause, and without sufficient evidence to support a conviction.”
     Banzhaf cites Judge Barry Williams’s verdict finding officer Edward Nero “not guilty of any of the charges he faced … and the detailed findings of fact it included, demonstrate very clearly that they were not only not sufficient to establish proof beyond a reasonable doubt, but also were not even supported by probable cause.”
     Though a gag order over the Freddie Gray investigation has kept most parties quiet this year, details of the tension between the state’s attorney’s office and Baltimore City police came to light during the trial this month of Caesar Goodson.
     A testy exchange in court between chief deputy state’s attorney Michael Schatzow and detective Dawnyell Taylor laid bare the rift between the two offices.
     Taylor accused the prosecution of lacking integrity during the investigation, while Schatzow said Taylor attempted to sabotage the investigation and his office attempted to have Taylor removed from the case.
     Mosby’s officer declined comment citing a gag order related to the case. An email to Banzhaf was not immediately returned.
     The complaint accuses Mosby of having violated RPC 3.8(a) of the Maryland Lawyer’s Rules of Professional Conduct for attorneys, “which requires that a prosecutor refrain from prosecuting a charge unless it is supported by probable cause, and national standards which establish that a prosecution should proceed only if there is sufficient admissible evidence to support a conviction.”
     It says RPC 3.6(b) and RPC 3.8(e) also “limit the content of public statements which prosecutors may permissibly make in connection with criminal proceedings.”
     Mosby also allegedly “violated RPC 3.8(d) by having improperly, illegally, and unconstitutionally withheld and otherwise failed to turn over to defense counsel exculpatory evidence.”
     The fourth allegation says Mosby is in further violation of RPC 3.8(a) by “continuing prosecutions against four of the officers although – especially in the light of detailed findings of fact in two rulings by Judge Barry Williams – there is no longer any basis to reasonably believe that the remaining charges are supported by probable cause, and/or that there is sufficient admissible evidence to support a conviction.”
     Her conduct, “in its totality, and in light of the above, is inconsistent with the conduct required of attorneys, and especially of public prosecutors, under various ethical standards,” the complaint states.

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