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Freddie Gray Case – Former Prosecutor Rips Current Prosecutor

Freddie Gray Case – Former Prosecutor Rips Current Prosecutor

Handling of case by Marliyn Mosby “a calculated push to the spotlight.”

Legal Insurrection, I’d like to introduce you to Page Croyder. Page, Legal Insurrection.

The most interesting thing about Ms. Croyder to my eye is that she’s a retired commander and commissioned officer of the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve.  I thank you for your service, ma’am.

What brings Ms. Croyder to our attention today, however, is not her military service, but her 21-year career with the Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office.  That experience provides here with a rather unique perspective from which to view and evaluate the recent conduct of Maryland State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby in the matter of the death of Freddie Gray.

And what Ms. Croyder sees, she does not like. Not. At. All.

The Baltimore Sun has published a lengthy op-ed piece by Ms. Croyder in which she expresses her views on the Mosby prosecution of six Baltimore police officers following the death of Freddie Gray, following upon similar sentiments expressed by Ms. Croyder in her personal blog, Baltimore Criminal Justice Blogger:

The Fraternal Office of Police called Mosby’s charges an “egregious rush to judgment.” It smacks more of a calculated push to the spotlight, filing charges after a mere two weeks. She conducted her own “parallel” investigation using her police integrity unit (the only unit for which she fails to list a supervisor on her website.) She received the autopsy report the same day as her press conference announcing the charges. In her haste to step into the national limelight, she circumvented normal charging procedures by grabbing a member of the sheriff’s office to file them for her. Her actions appeared calculated for maximum surprise and effect, and she got it.

But she was so hasty she drew up warrants for the wrong people. And her arrest of two of the officers for making an illegal arrest was itself “illegal.” Had she taken the time to discuss it with the police department, she’d have avoided an embarrassing and unjust result.

I recommend you “read the whole thing,” as the saying goes, at both the Baltimore Sun piece and Ms. Croyder’s blog.

To prepare your cognitive palette I’ll simply bullet her main points from her op-ed:

  • Mosby’s charging of the officers “reflects either incompetence or an unethical recklessness.”
  • Alan Dershowitz predicts the eventual dismissal of most or all the charges.
  • Mosby declined use of most experienced homicide prosector in Maryland, as well as the services of a grand jury.
  • She may well have arrested two completely innocent officers on the basis of false imprisonment [AFB: in which case one wonders if Mosby might find herself charged with false imprisonment].
  • Mosby circumvented normal charging procedures and simply had several sheriff’s deputies, with no personal knowledge of the events, swear to the truth of the charges and file them on her behalf.
  • It appears Mosby set aside the fairness and objectivity demanded of prosecutors in a pursuit of personal and political gain.
  • Mosby may now have laid the foundation for a catastrophic backlash by outraged residents of Baltimore–whom she had led to believe would see officers convicted of murder and manslaughter–should her charges be dismissed because of a paucity of evidence.
  • Mosby has established a new de facto standard for police conduct in which normal errors of judgment exercised under the duress of a street cop’s daily job can be used not merely to hold them civilly liable but to put them in prison.

Again, I urge you to “read the whole thing,” both at the Baltimore Sun as well as at Ms. Croyder’s Baltimore Criminal Justice Blogger blog.

Here is a CNN interview of Ms. Croyder (h/t to Gateway Pundit):

–-Andrew, @LawSelfDefense


Updated 5/7/15: 17:15:

Commenter rfy points me to a reference by Ms. Croyder to Prosecutor Mosby in a Croyder blog post from 2014:

Marilyn Mosby, who just defeated Bernstein in the primary election, lacks the experience to fully comprehend the enormity of the task in front of her, let alone be able to hit the ground running. And the state’s attorney’s office will hemorrhage experienced people these next six lame-duck months, making the task that much harder. It doesn’t mean that Mosby, should she win in November, can’t eventually succeed. But her learning curve will be very steep and at public expense.

Commenter rfy suggests that this reference to Mosby is prescient by Ms. Croyder.  I’m inclined to agree.

Nevertheless, it could also indicate a prejudice against Mosby.  Because I’ve cited Croyder as a knowledgeable and informed critic of Mosby, I feel obliged to reference Croyder’s earlier statement, as well. Make of it what you will. 🙂

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Andrew F. Branca is an MA lawyer and the author of the seminal book “The Law of Self Defense, 2nd Edition,” available at the Law of Self Defense blog (autographed copies available) and (paperback and Kindle). He also holds Law of Self Defense Seminars around the country, and provides free online self-defense law video lectures at the Law of Self Defense Institute and podcasts through iTunes, Stitcher, and elsewhere.


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Andrew, I had always thought prosecutorial immunity was just about the strongest immunity you can possibly have. Sort of bar sanctions or later career repercussions, isn’t Mosby pretty much immune?

    sequester in reply to J Mann. | May 7, 2015 at 3:54 pm

    Prosecutors have absolute immunity from civil charges. There have been limited exceptions in the case of evidence fabrication (see Buckley vs Fitzimons 7th Circuit 1992 and Fields vs Wharier 13-1195). Prosecutors are not immune from criminal charges. Ask Mike Nifong.

      I have seen it said by personally making the charges the way she did she may have waived prosecutor immunity (which would be crazy for her to do). But I have not seen anyone link on how that happens. Does anyone know?

        sequester in reply to EBL. | May 7, 2015 at 5:23 pm

        Absolute Immunity may not apply to acts that are not inherently prosecutorial. For example when a prosecutor performs an investigative function normally performed by a police officer those acts are only covered by “qualified immunity”. This doctrine is discussed in some detail by Judge Richard Posner in Fields vs Wharie . The Supreme Court wrote in van de Kamp vs Goldstein that absolute immunity applies to acts “intimately associated with the judicial phase of the criminal process”

        A brave (or foolish) lawyer could argue that Ms. Mosby’s press conference was outside the scope of the normal judicial phase of the criminal process. The Courts would very likely disagree.

        It is important to note that absolute immunity will not protect Ms. Mosby from criminal prosecution if she is later found to have acted unlawfully. She can be hoisted by her own “false imprisonment” petard.

Ragspierre | May 7, 2015 at 3:50 pm

“Mosby circumvented normal charging procedures and simply had several sheriff’s deputies, with no personal knowledge of the events, swear to the truth of the charges and file them on her behalf.”

Well, if THAT’s true…and if, indeed, Miss Marilyn drafted the complaints herself…some of this is going to come back on her.

In no jurisdiction of which I’m aware…or can imagine…are sworn statements permissible EXCEPT on personal knowledge.

    The Sheriff’s deputies only need to have personal knowledge of the evidence (or purported evidence), not of the events (by which I mean they need not have been active participants in or observers of the events). This is normal, of course.

    In the Zimmerman trial, for example, the charging information was sworn to by investigators of the prosecutor’s office (by then, I think Corey’s office) who simply relied on the (largely false) evidence presented to them by that office.

    I expect that’s what they Deputies will claim here (probably honestly so), that they swore out the charges based on the evidence as presented to them by Mosby.

    In which case one would think it again comes back to Mosby.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefene

      MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to Andrew Branca. | May 7, 2015 at 5:34 pm

      Hmmm “War room”. I wonder if that would be sufficient for the judge to allow the calling of Nosby and her staff as witnesses?

    sequester in reply to Ragspierre. | May 7, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    Rags, I did not read the documents. Did they read “on information and belief?”

      Words to that effect would certainly be the norm. I’ve never seen charges sworn out without them.

      That said, I haven’t seen to charging documents myself. Anybody comes across them, send ’em my way. 🙂

      –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      Ragspierre in reply to sequester. | May 7, 2015 at 4:01 pm

      I can plead “on information and belief”, but I can’t verify a pleading except on personal knowledge.

      But I suspect that Andrew’s points are correct, as I have no “personal knowledge” of the procedure inside a prosecutor’s world.

      Ragspierre in reply to sequester. | May 7, 2015 at 5:09 pm

      I find this very interesting from a procedural standpoint.

      As a civil practitioner, I have to be very careful to assure that a client or witness affidavit HAS to avoid ANY suggestion that it makes conditional statements. It HAS to be on “personal knowledge”, and made on pain of perjury. It CANNOT say…or hint…”to the best of my knowledge”.

      If it does, and it is objected to, it’ll be tossed entirely.

      I suppose this difference is due to the fact that a judgment in civil law can turn on the evidence in an affidavit, but these charging instruments just get the ball rolling, and are VERY prone to challenge.

        sequester in reply to Ragspierre. | May 7, 2015 at 5:44 pm

        Federal Criminal complaints are covered by the Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 12(b)(3)(b). The rule sets a much lower bar than a properly pled Federal civil complaint. An “information” need only state sufficient elements of the charged offense. Even if the Court can take judicial notice of facts that would disprove an allegation the information will still stand as long as it is facially correct.

        At least in the Federal system there are big differences between a criminal information and a properly pled civil complaint.

    MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to Ragspierre. | May 7, 2015 at 5:29 pm

    I had heard that by swearing to the charges herself, she has waived prosecutorial immunity.
    I wonder if she had the officers do it as a way to preserve her immunity.

gregjgrose | May 7, 2015 at 3:54 pm

Reindeer sleigh, come our way
HO HO HO, cherry nose
Cap on head, suit that’s red
Special night, beard that’s white

Mosby Santa
Mosby Santa
Mosby Santa, Santa Claus

NeoConScum | May 7, 2015 at 3:55 pm

AMEN, Ms.Croyder!!

Yep, the Infantile Defiance in Flames will hit, Big Time, when these indictments get laughed out of court. Or, NOT Guilty.

But, Ms. State’s Attorney will have sucked up some air & print space followed by–Please God–a Republican President’s Attorney Gen’l removing her large appetite from the post in a year and nine months.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to NeoConScum. | May 7, 2015 at 5:56 pm

    She is an Elected State Attorney, so even a Republican AG couldn’t do a darned thing to remover her officially.

      So in the event it is suspected that she violated the law in the method in which she charged the six police officers, what state agency (if any) would investigate the claim?

      I was thinking the State AG, but that’s just a best guess from a non-lawyer here. Anybody know for sure?

      Stan25 in reply to Gremlin1974. | May 8, 2015 at 9:36 am

      She can be impeached. What she has done can be considered an impeachable offense, in my book.

      NeoConScum in reply to Gremlin1974. | May 8, 2015 at 9:45 am

      Thanks, Gremlin. She behaves just like a Holder-Clone, so I—duuuhhh—ya know, assumed. ((-:

Sammy Finkelman | May 7, 2015 at 4:03 pm

■Mosby said she told Gray’s family that “no one is above the law and I would pursue justice upon their behalf.” Unethical. Her client isn’t the family. Her client is the state

I believe she thinks her client is, if not the family, the Baltimore electorate.

She ran on a promised of investigating the police, claiming she would be fair because she comes from afamily of police officers.

There was indeed a problem of her predecessor, whom she defeated, being partial to police up to evenn a possible cpverup of police overtime abuse, as detailed in the July 2, 2014 post of the Paige Crowder blog.

Sammy Finkelman | May 7, 2015 at 4:04 pm

Paige Crowder’s latest blog post has some unclear language:

But her own charging documents do not even support the most sensational charge of second degree murder…

I think this is a case of a misplaced modifier. I think she means to say:

But even her own charging documents do not support the most sensational charge of second degree murder

Richard Aubrey | May 7, 2015 at 4:07 pm

I read a piece about “facts” of this case. One was that Grey was receiving a structured settlement regarding his neck injuries and/or surgery from Allstate. Should be easy enough to check, eventually, for the defense.
Further that he was trying to sell it for a lump sum to an Atlanta outfit and the paperwork was making him crazy. Why should he be the only one?

    Allsnakes! Obviously the insurance company should be the real defendant in this case? Send the Baltimore rioters to their offices!

    BTW, Fannie and Freddie Mac have offices in Baltimore. If any building deserves to be looted and burned (hypothetically of course) that is the one.

    Sanddog in reply to Richard Aubrey. | May 7, 2015 at 4:42 pm

    The Allstate case was his father’s. Freddie and his sister received a settlement for lead paint exposure they were attempting to convert to a lump sum payment through Peachtree settlement funding. Gray had no neck or spine injury prior to the arrest.

    Char Char Binks in reply to Richard Aubrey. | May 7, 2015 at 4:51 pm

    That’s already been debunked. The suit was about Freddie eating lead paint as a child, which led to his mental problems.

    Sammy Finkelman in reply to Richard Aubrey. | May 8, 2015 at 12:58 pm

    It wasn’t for neck imjuries, which appears to be somebody’s attempt to use a real court case to mislead.

    It was for having ingested lead paint as a child, and two of his siiblings ahd also sued. He was now trying to cash in.

    It seems like these lead paint lawsuits and then trying to change the structured settlement into one time payments are abig thing in Baltimore.

    It’s an alternative to dealing drugs maybe.

Ms. Croyder has in interesting entry on her blog from July 2014. The post relates to the States Attorney office and has this prescient bit on Marilyn Mosby:

Marilyn Mosby, who just defeated Bernstein in the primary election, lacks the experience to fully comprehend the enormity of the task in front of her, let alone be able to hit the ground running. And the state’s attorney’s office will hemorrhage experienced people these next six lame-duck months, making the task that much harder. It doesn’t mean that Mosby, should she win in November, can’t eventually succeed. But her learning curve will be very steep and at public expense.

I am not sure what people are objecting too, Prosecutors overcharge par for course as negotiating leverage. Its not some grand anti-cop conspiracy, just what regularly happens. The telling questions in this case are did the officers have probable cause to arrest, if not why did they arrest him? Why did he end up dead?

I wonder this, because I heard initially that they grabbed him because he ran. Given that he ended up dead shortly after the officers grabbed him, there may be a very good reason to believe that the officers were going to murder him. Maybe they are tied to corruption with the drug gangs. The probable cause issue will tell us how much doubt to give the officers.

    I sure hope you’re pretty. 🙂

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      Gremlin1974 in reply to Andrew Branca. | May 7, 2015 at 6:01 pm

      Once again sprayed keyboard with coke zero. Gonna have to institute a no drinks policy at the computer table because of you and Rags, lol. 🙂

        Ragspierre in reply to Gremlin1974. | May 7, 2015 at 6:06 pm

        I recommend a daily application of Saran Wrap as a prophylactic.

        You know, a key-board kondom.

        MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to Gremlin1974. | May 7, 2015 at 7:11 pm

        I would recommend a “mechanical” keyboard. Those switches are awefully hard to get dirty. ( Though if it is a choice between Cherry and Cherry clones, I would suggest you stick with Cherry. )

      stella dallas in reply to Andrew Branca. | May 7, 2015 at 8:21 pm

      OMG. You da man. LOL

      imfine in reply to Andrew Branca. | May 8, 2015 at 12:22 pm

      Andrew if you think people in Baltimore didn’t have a reason to riot against their government, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. Perhaps you would maintain that the soldiers behind the Boston Massacre were right in what they did in that instance, but the riots occurred because of their overarching conduct. Thats why the colonists were demonstrating in the first place. You cannot ignore the litany of abuses that led up to a riot.

      Baltimore is a throughly corrupted disintegrating government sending out officers to harass and tax people at random to cover their bills. We this same effect across the country, including the more egregious murder of Eric Garner in NYC. Simply pretending what is going on is “legal” is only gong to lead to more riots. America is not made to be occupied by these paramilitary police organizations.

      Here’s looking at you beautiful.

        Ragspierre in reply to imfine. | May 8, 2015 at 12:34 pm

        Reynolds Aluminum is very, very grateful for your patronage.

        Sammy Finkelman in reply to imfine. | May 8, 2015 at 1:03 pm

        Perhaps you would maintain that the soldiers behind the Boston Massacre were right in what they did in that instance,

        Very much on point. They were legally right.

        John Adams, later the 2nd president of the United States, represented the soldiers, and got them acquitted.

          Sammy Finkelman in reply to Sammy Finkelman. | May 8, 2015 at 1:43 pm

          Mr. Adams proceeded to a minute consideration of every witness produced on the crown side; and endeavoured to shew, from the evidence on that side, which could not be contested by the council for the crown, that the assault upon the party, was sufficiently dangerous to justify the prisoners; at least, that it was sufficiently provoking, to reduce to manslaughter the crime, even of the two who were supposed to be proved to have killed.

          But it would swell this publication too much, to insert his observations at large, and there is the less necessity for it, as they will probably occur to every man who reads the evidence with attention.

          He then proceeded to consider the testimonies of the witnesses for the prisoners, which must also be omitted: And conc[l]uded, I will enlarge no more on the evidence, but submit it to you.-Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence: nor is the law less stable than the fact; if an assault was made to endanger their lives, the law is clear, they had a right to kill in their own defence; if it was not so severe as to endanger their lives, yet if they were assaulted at all, struck and abused by blows of any sort, by snow-balls, oyster-shells, cinders, clubs, or sticks of any kind; this was a provocation, for which the law reduces the offence of killing, down to manslaughter, in consideration of those passions in our nature, which cannot be eradicated.

          To your candour and justice I submit the prisoners and their cause.

          Shooting into the crowd was in fact illegal, 2 of the soldiers were found guilty of manslaughter. All of soldiers claimed they had shot over the heads of the crowd, in fact admitting shooting at the crowd was in fact illegal. But as I pointed out before, the soldiers themselves in the entirety of their occupation was in essence illegal and John Adams himself was waging war against those same soldiers not long after.

          So you have 1) no inherent immunity for law enforcement, and 2) Law enforcement was held and charged with murder. Whats wrong with what happened here?

    Barry in reply to imfine. | May 7, 2015 at 7:58 pm


    And dumber than dammit.

Richard Aubrey | May 7, 2015 at 7:50 pm

“shortly” after the cops grabbed him includes most of a week in a hospital.

Char Char Binks | May 7, 2015 at 10:38 pm

Well, other prosecutors, they see their fact. None offense to the prosecutors, they old, that’s old school prosecutors. We in a new school, our generation, my generation, so we ain’t no, no, no, no nothin’ like that.

Besides the haste, what struck me most about Mosby announcing the charges was a complete failure to mention why they were brought. Usually a brief outline of the evidence and/or salient facts accompanies a public statement, it is part of the whole process of patting oneself on the back.

Gremlin1974 | May 8, 2015 at 4:11 am

Excellent point.

Indeed. As I’ve been tweeting:

“Officer Goodson is charged by #Mosby with second-degree depraved-heart murder of Gray. Why? WHAT DID GOODSON DO THAT’S MURDER-2? Silence.”

–Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

    amwick in reply to Andrew Branca. | May 8, 2015 at 12:04 pm

    Social media uses the term crickets, as in … “WHAT DID GOODSON DO THAT’S MURDER-2? Silence crickets. 🙂
    BTW, thanks for clearly explaining many of these issues. Sadly, the more I understand, the angrier I get.

Most, if not all of this sordid mess can be laid at the feet of Al Sharpton. If it had not been for his presence and egging things on, I doubt that Ms Mosby would not have filed the charges prematurely. I could be wrong here. She might have done that anyway without the connivance of Al Sharpton, but he was the catalyst that got things done. Al Sharpton should be the facing charges of perjury and inciting a riot in this scenario.