A veteran Baltimore prosecutor is blaming state’s attorney Marilyn Mosby for contributing to the dramatic spike in violent crime that has gripped the city in the aftermath of the Freddie Gray case.
In a scathing op-ed for The Baltimore Sun, Roya Hanna, who left the state’s attorney’s office in April, says that Mosby’s actions during her short time in office have contributed to the more than 200 murders that the city has seen so far this year. In the past several years, Baltimore hasn’t reached that level of murders until November.
“Having been a prosecutor in this city for 12 years, four in the Homicide Division, I can no longer stand idly by and watch State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby avoid taking responsibility for her role in the increase in violence,” Hanna writes in the op-ed.
She points out that of the 200-plus killings, charges have been filed against only 28 assailants in 30 cases. Five defendants were released earlier this year under Mosby’s watch, according to Hanna.
“Had these cases been handled differently, had her office worked more effectively with police or made stronger arguments in court, perhaps the victims would still be alive,” writes Hanna, who now works in private practice.
Hanna faults Mosby for how she’s publicly handled the Gray case. On May 1, Mosby announced charges against the six Baltimore cops involved in the 25-year-old’s April 12 arrest and transport. She was accused of vilifying the officers and using activist rhetoric.
“Ms. Mosby’s press conference announcing her decision to indict the officers involved in the Freddie Gray arrest had a chilling effect on the Baltimore Police Department,” Hanna claims, arguing that Baltimore cops were unsure after Mosby’s announcement of when they had probable cause to conduct an arrest.
During her May 1 speech, Mosby said that Gray’s arrest was illegal. She cited a knife found on Gray that day which she said was legal under Maryland law. However, it later came out that the spring-loaded weapon was illegal in Baltimore.
Hanna says that Mosby’s rationale for charging some of the officers with what she claimed was an illegal arrest leaves many cops unsure of their duties.
“Following her press conference, city arrests dropped and violence increased because officers cannot trust that she won’t again decide to place their futures in jeopardy,” Hanna argues.
Hanna also dings Mosby for firing six well-respected prosecutors shortly after taking office in January. One of those was in the middle of a robbery trial when they were let go, Hanna states. Since that time, 10 other prosecutors have left the office. That has put a strain on the workload of other prosecutors who are forced to offer plea deals in some cases in order to clear them.
Rather than focus on filling those positions, Mosby has hired public relations staff, according to Hanna.
“Felony prosecutor positions have been left vacant for months while Ms. Mosby added staff to her media team and community outreach people,” Hanna argues, claiming that Mosby has spent $1 million hiring people that do not prosecute cases.
Hanna also points to Mosby’s recent decision to curtail her office’s involvement with Baltimore’s Homicide Review Commission that is working in conjunction with Johns Hopkins University to study the causes of crime in the city.
The city has spent $200,000 on the commission, but Mosby decided that she did not want to provide Johns Hopkins with data on pending criminal cases. Her rationale was that sharing current information puts witnesses at risk for retaliation.
“We know why homicides are taking place,” Mosby said earlier this month. “We know it has to do with drugs. We know it has to do with gangs. We know it has to do with turf wars.”