Baltimore City State’s Attorney Claims 900 Criminal Cases Are Tainted as a Result of Police Misconduct

Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby recently announced nearly 900 criminal cases are tainted as a result of alleged police misconduct.

Governor Larry Hogan and the Police Department have in part blamed the judiciary for imposing weak sentences on gun offenders. And the city council and mayor’s office have traded barbs over the depth and substance of competing crime plans.

But little has been said about the burden that incompetent and sometimes corrupt policing has placed upon the system.

And now statistics released this week by the Office of City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby paint a picture of just how significant a toll a series of scandals and miscues has taken on an already overburdened criminal justice system. Misconduct by police has led to dropped cases, overturned convictions and has waylaid prosecutors with hundreds of hours of review and dozens of court motions to clean up charges still pending.

“Over the past few months, the Office of the State’s Attorney has had to employ significant resources in order to not only thoroughly evaluate questionable body-worn camera (BWC) incidents and all related cases pertaining to the officers involved, but we’ve expended significant resources in thoroughly evaluating the materiality of the now eight federally indicted officers,” Mosby said in a statement.

Since federal prosecutors indicted eight officers of the now notorious Gun Trace Task Force for stealing from residents, dealing drugs, and overtime fraud, Mosby’s office has flagged 864 cases for dismissing or reducing of charges.

Roughly 300 of those cases are tied directly to the indicted officers who are facing federal charges. Many of those are high profile gun possession charges, the same potentially violent dangerous crimes that both Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis and Mayor Catherine Pugh have said are the root cause of the city’s record pace of homicides this year.

But an even larger number of problem cases are related to a series of body camera videos, which emerged over the past several months that purport to show officers tampering with evidence during narcotics investigations. According to Mosby’s office nearly 600 cases have been affected by the footage. Of those, nearly 230 cases will either be dropped or not pursued by prosecutors.

The footage, which also garnered national attention, has prompted accusations that officers planted drugs on suspects, an allegation the police department has denied. But the statistics illuminate the legal ramifications of the actions of the officers on camera go beyond current prosecutions, with nearly 70 cases that were previously closed now under review solely due to the credibility questions raised by body camera footage.

“Public trust in the criminal justice system is crucial to the success of all prosecutions; therefore, as prosecutors, we will remain vigilant in our pursuit of justice and we will continue to do our part to restore public trust and build confidence in the criminal justice system,” Mosby added.

Police misconduct has far reaching implications, and can be particularly difficult for prosecutors dealing with a heavy caseload says criminal defense attorney A. Dwight Pettit.

“For defense it’s a windfall, as soon as you see a name you’re going to raise issues of credibility,” he told the AFRO. “But for prosecutors it’s a tremendous headache.”

“Now you have to got to go back and examine each case and see if there is an issue of law and issues of credibility with any of the officers involved.”

Worse yet, Pettit says given the expanding scope of the investigation into the eight officers of the Gun Trace Task Force, which has led to additional indictments, there could be more problems to come.

“I was surprised by the number of cases,” he said. “But it could just be the tip of the iceberg. “


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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 5618 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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