The Corner

Law & the Courts

The Mosby Disgrace Continues: Officer Goodson Acquitted of All Charges in Freddie Gray Case

Make it 0-for-3 for Marilyn Mosby, the incompetent demagogue prosecutor who trumped up cases against six Baltimore police officers after the death of Freddie Gray. Today, a judge acquitted Officer Caesar Goodson of all seven charges, including the outrageous allegation of “depraved heart murder.” Goodson is the third cop to be tried. Mosby has yet to win a conviction on any count.

As I have repeatedly observed (see, e.g., here and follow the links), that is because there is no criminal case here. Gray’s death was an accident. He suffered a severe spinal injury, which strongly appears to have been self-induced, while being driven in a police van after he was lawfully arrested.

Gray, a 25-year-old African-American man with a record of drug charges and minor crimes, was under the influence of drugs. He was wildly uncooperative with police who attempted to restrain him. He would have survived had he remained in the prone position in which the police placed him. The medical examiner conceded that there was no intent on the part of the police to harm him. He was thrust into the hard interior of the van because of his own actions, which included banging on the walls and attempting to stand up despite being in restraints – i.e., abandoning the position in which the police had placed him. Police repeatedly checked on him during the ride, and got him medical attention once it was clear to them that he might have sustained a serious injury.

Mosby is not so much a prosecutor as a propagandist. Before investigators could finish their probe of the circumstances surrounding Gray’s death, she rushed before the cameras claiming to have conducted her own parallel investigation. She filed overwrought criminal charges not because there was evidence but because, as she told demonstrators, she wanted to satisfy their howls of “no justice, no peace.” She has had to dismiss some charges because she was ill-informed about the local law she is responsible for enforcing. In her desperation to win convictions, she has recklessly adopted lunatic legal theories that would induce police to refrain from making arrests (for fear of being prosecuted for “false arrest”), and refrain from assisting each other in the processing or transporting of arrestees.

Mosby’s office has repeatedly changed its theory of how police supposedly caused Gray’s death – because she can’t keep her facts straight, and because the facts that have been proven show that no criminal charges should have been brought. Rigging the process, Mosby has tried to influence the jury pool and has concealed exculpatory evidence from the defendants. And as Andrew Branca observes at Legal Insurrection, it has now emerged that (a) the state’s medical examiner originally believed Gray’s death was an accident despite claiming she had always believed it to be a homicide, and (b) Mosby’s parallel investigation never actually took place.

To be blunt, Mosby wanted to file charges, including murder charges, against cops. She was not going to risk a conclusive, professional investigative finding that there was nothing close to sufficient proof to justify charges, so she filed them without a real investigation, calculating that she could exploit the racially-charged atmosphere to browbeat juries into convicting.

In the first case to be tried, against Officer William G. Porter, the jury hung despite the dearth of evidence. Seeing this, the next two officers, Edward Nero and Caesar Goodson, decided not to risk being railroaded by Mosby’s venire-poisoning antics. They demanded non-jury trials, and with today’s verdict, Judge Barry Williams has now acquitted them of all charges.

The prosecution of these police officers is a travesty. Goodson was supposedly the most culpable of the cops, and Mosby had no case against him either. The remaining cases should be dropped … as should Marilyn Mosby.

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