Legal experts: Charges filed against Baltimore cops unlikely to stand up (Video)

Legal experts: Charges filed against Baltimore cops unlikely to stand up (Video)

On Friday, Maryland state’s attorney Marilyn J. Mosby told angry Baltimore protesters, “I will seek justice on your behalf. This is a moment. This is your moment. Let’s insure we have peaceful and productive rallies that will develop structural and systemic changes for generations to come. You’re at the forefront of this cause and as young people, our time is now.”

The statement would sound perfectly logical coming from the mouth of a “community organizer” like Al Sharpton, but it is strange coming from a prosecutor in a criminal case. Her job is not to provide aid and comfort to a troubled community but to build a sound and reasonable case against those accused of criminal action.

Over the weekend, two legal experts questioned her competence in the second vital area as well. The Daily Caller’s Chuck Ross  spoke with George Washington University law professor John Banzhaf, who opined that Mosby had gone “too far.”

I think a prosecutor is going to have a hard time proving that the actions did in fact cause death, since they seem to have no theory as to how it occurred.

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I think it is very difficult to pin responsibility on one person when you have four or five or six each doing a variety of things — or not doing a variety of things — which in some generalized way contributes to the overall outcome.

Again, you have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, that each of the individuals — Officer X, Officer Y, Officer Z — what he did or didn’t do was a direct cause of what happened.

I think the cops will be able to find lots of experts who will say ‘this is pretty well standard…. [L]ots of people who are arrested start screaming that they are in pain, they can’t breath, they are hurt and so on. They do it to get leniency, or to get cuffs removed, and they also do it so that they set up claims stating that they were mishandled by police.

In an interview with Fox News, former Florida Circuit Court Judge Alex Ferrer specifically addressed the charges against the van’s driver, officer Caesar Goodson, who if he is convicted could face up to 63 years in prison:

Far and away the most serious of the charges facing any of the six officers is that of second degree depraved heart murder, which by itself carries a sentence of 30 years. According to the Maryland Court of Special Appeals:

A depraved heart murder is often described as a wanton and willful killing. The term ‘depraved heart’ means something more than conduct amounting to a high or unreasonable risk to human life. The perpetrator must [or reasonably should] realize the risk his behavior has created to the extent that his conduct may be termed willful. Moreover, the conduct must contain an element of viciousness or contemptuous disregard for the value of human life which conduct characterized that behavior as wanton…. The critical feature of ‘depraved heart’ murder is that the act in question be committed ‘under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life.’

As was noted here, the black community in Baltimore appears unwilling to accept any verdict for any of the six officers other than guilty of all charges. Otherwise, many will take to the streets once again. Maybe Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake should start planning for this eventuality now.

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Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy has written for The Blaze, HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.


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