Baltimore, MD - The malicious prosecution lawsuit brought by five Baltimore police officers against Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby has been put on hold by a federal appeals court.
According to The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore Police Lieutenant Brian Rice, Baltimore Police Sergeant Alicia White, and Baltimore Police Officers Garrett Miller, Edward Nero, and William Porter sued Mosby and Baltimore City Assistant Sheriff Samuel Cogen. The lawsuit was filed in April, 2016, and states that Mosby and Cogen brought false charges against them. Cogen completed the statement of probable cause charging the officers.
Issues with the prosecution of the six Baltimore officers were immediately apparent when charges were filed. After Freddie Gray’s death, State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby alleged that Gray was arrested without probable cause, assaulted, and falsely accused of carrying an illegal switchblade.
Without waiting for an investigation to be completed, or reviewing all of the details of the case, she quickly brought charges on all officers involved in the arrest, and had them arrested when there was no apparent probable cause for their arrest.
The six officers had charges ranging from second-degree depraved-heart murder to manslaughter, reckless endangerment, and misconduct in office. The most severe charges centered around the officers failing to seatbelt Gray in the back of the transport van, which suggests that any parent with an unseatbelted child should be charged with attempted murder.
Not only that, but the entire case was built on the theory that officers could not assist each other with any part of an arrest without fully reviewing the other officer’s evidence and probable cause and making their own independent determination that the arrest was lawful. Impractical at any time, impossible with a violent or resisting suspect.
Lieutenant Rice and Officer Nero were acquitted by a judge during bench trials last year, along with Baltimore Police Officer Caesar Goodson, who is not part of the lawsuit. The remaining charges against Baltimore police officers Porter and Miller, and Sergeant White, were then dropped by Mosby when it was obvious that she didn't actually have a valid case against the officers.
The officers then sued Mosby.
Marilyn Mosby has since appealed the lawsuit, and a federal judge had ordered that discovery and depositions continue during her appeal.
On Friday, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a 'stay' on the lawsuit until Mosby's appeal could be decided.
Mosby is being represented by the Attorney General's Office. Her response to the lawsuit is that she has immunity because she is a prosecutor, and prosecutors can't be sued. Her attorneys' response to the lawsuit is that she shouldn't have to go through the discovery process because she has a "strong likelihood of success upon appeal."
U.S. District Court Judge Marvin Garbis said that Mosby does not enjoy immunity in the case, because her office acted as investigators and not just as prosecutors. He allowed certain parts of the lawsuit to move forward: claims of malicious prosecution, defamation, and invasion of privacy.
Mosby's brief to the appeals court judges is due June 13, and a response from the officers' attorneys is due July 13.
Both Mosby and Cogen deny the claims of malicious prosecution, defamation, and invasion of privacy.
The officers' lawsuit against Mosby should go forward. She used these police officers as scapegoats to stop the riots in Freddie Gray's death. She was overzealous in her prosecution, and she failed to turn over evidence in one police officer's trial.
We continue to wish these officers the best of luck in their ongoing case against Marilyn Mosby. Her actions against the officers are possible the worst case of prosecutorial misconduct we've seen.