The defense attorneys for the six Baltimore police officers charged in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray have text message evidence they say shows a prosecutor in the office of state’s attorney Marilyn Mosby “judge-shopping” for a warrant for the cops’ cell phones.
The Baltimore Sun reports that in a motion filed Wednesday, the cops’ attorneys said they have phone logs and text messages from April 27 showing that assistant state’s attorney Albert Peisinger reached out to Baltimore circuit court judge Timothy Doory to sign off on a search warrant for the officers’ department-issued phones. That was after a search warrant had already been denied by a different judge.
The defense attorneys had filed a motion earlier this month accusing Mosby’s office of judge-shopping. Mosby denied the accusation as a “falsehood” in a response motion filed last week.
A phone log shows that Peisinger called Doory’s chambers on the morning of April 27, which was four days before Mosby announced charged against the six Baltimore officers. Peisinger was also sending text messages with a Baltimore police detective who was attempting to get a search warrant signed.
The text messages obtained by the cops’ attorneys indicate that the detective asked Peisinger if the rejected warrant could be improved in any way and then re-submitted for approval.
But Peisinger declined that suggestion, texting “we should be fine.”
“I will call to see if Doory will possible [sic] sign them,” he wrote, according to the defense.
Peisinger wrote to the detective 18 minutes later, informing him that he was “waiting for a call back” and that he “spoke to the judges chambers.”
Three hours later, Peisinger wrote to the detective: “calling you now.” An hour after that, the detective told Peisinger: “Got them signed thanks for everything.”
Doory also signed off on a warrant for the officers’ personal cell phones.
The attorneys claim that the alleged judge-shopping is evidence of unethical behavior on the part of Mosby’s office. The two sides have engaged in an increasingly bitter back-and-forth over how the case has been handled.
“Such action by the State suggests that there could have been undue influence…exerted by the Office of the State’s Attorney in its pursuit of a judge who would grant a search warrant after a detached and neutral court had determined that the affidavit lacked probable cause,” the attorneys wrote, according to The Sun.
Mosby’s office declined comment to The Sun.
Unmentioned in the article is that Doory is the judge currently overseeing grand juries in Baltimore.
In late May, weeks after Mosby announced charges, a grand jury convened and determined similar charges against the six officers.
Gray was arrested on April 12 following a foot chase with police. He died a week later from injuries sustained while riding in the back of a police transport van.
The driver of that van, Caesar Goodson, Jr., faces charges of second-degree depraved-heart murder and manslaughter. Three other officers face manslaughter charges. The two officers who helped arrest Gray face second-degree assault charges.
Mosby’s case against the officers seems to hinge on the theory that the officers did not do enough to restrain Gray and failed to provide him medical attention while he was in the back of the van. A medical examiner determined that Gray’s death was a homicide but said that the head injury he suffered could have come after slamming against the police transport van wall while he was standing up in handcuffs and leg shackles.