The Baltimore prosecutor’s plan to decriminalize crime
In late March, Baltimore Chief Prosecutor Marilyn Mosby stepped up to the microphone and triumphantly announced, “Today, America’s war on drug users is over in Baltimore City. We are leaving behind the era of tough crime prosecution and zero tolerance policing. “Mosby will also allow prostitution, burglary, opening alcohol containers, public urination and defecation, and” trying “to distribute drugs. The media and the “misguided” left were effusive, suggesting that the Charm City state attorney (his elected district attorney) had offered the nation a model, as Baltimore’s violent crime fell last year as The truth is, Mosby’s plan, which she justifies with misleading statistics and blatant omissions, promises to make the city even more hellish than it already is: a ruined, crime-riddled, corruption-ridden scene that would be Perfect for the next Hollywood movie. Post-apocalyptic blockbuster. Mosby’s politics is a recipe for even more human misery, not a human alternative to vice and violence. The state’s attorney presides over the murder capital of America’s great city, with one in 300 residents killed under his six-year watch. Mosby is convinced that the cure for Baltimore’s violent ills is to legalize open-air drug markets, street corner brothels, and above-ground sewers. Touting the success of his libertine experiment, in a way reminiscent of the “Hamsterdam” story arc on David Simon’s HBO show The Wire, Mosby compiled statistics to prove his case, with a 20% drop in violent crimes and 36% of property crimes since mid-March 2020, when Mosby was declared free for all in so-called nuisance crimes that, according to her, “do not pose a threat to public safety.” Mosby said it was adopting a permanent temporary policy to exercise the fiscal discretion it introduced in March 2020 amid the initial COVID-19 lockdown. After dismissing more than 1,400 cases and voiding another 1,400 arrest warrants for such crimes, Mosby boasted that 18 percent fewer people were incarcerated in Baltimore year after year. Mosby the Miracle Worker, you say? Expect. In fact, the year before Mosby took office, Baltimore had 211 murders in a city with a population of less than 600,000 and declined. That equates to a homicide rate of 35 per 100,000 residents. It has risen more than 300 for every year Mosby has been chief prosecutor, reaching 348 murders in 2019, for a rate of 59 per 100,000, a 65 percent increase from 2014. Last year, with 335 murders, the city recorded 57 homicides. per 100,000, twice the rate in Mexico and three times higher than Guatemala and El Salvador. That still shows a 59 percent increase in murders under Mosby. Baltimore is not a libertine utopia. And Mosby’s targeted data hides the bloody truth of the Charm City crime, while manipulating the media and public understanding of what constitutes a violent crime. According to the FBI, four crimes make up the “violent crime” figure: murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault (including shootings). Depending on the year, the last two categories combined account for 80 to 90 percent of all violent crime in Baltimore or any major city. Its volume means that even a modest change in those numbers dramatically changes the overall violent crime rate. From March to March, Baltimore saw robberies drop 38 percent and street robberies – the highest proportion of robberies in Baltimore – drop 48 percent. That’s 1,600 fewer rounds, which alone accounts for nearly 70 percent of the violent crime drop in Baltimore. All thefts combined account for 83 percent of the decline. This is not surprising, since with the pandemic lockdowns and shutdowns in place, artists who got angry had far fewer goals to pursue. That trend is consistent with this year’s 14 percent decline in robberies in cities of similar size. Under Mosby, violent crime did not decrease. In fact, it skyrocketed 33 percent before last year. And that’s because she’s not very good at her job. While he publicly claims a staggering 93 percent felony conviction rate (85 percent for homicide, 91 percent for firearm offenses, and 98 percent for narcotics), he fails to mention that those figures exclude the cases he dismissed. while claiming credit for misdemeanor convictions. , even in homicide cases. If the denominator is small enough, Mosby looks impressive. But the truth is more optimistic. She abandons or loses more than 40 percent of her felony cases and does not prosecute or incarcerate offenders with firearms. Surprisingly, in 2018, Mosby obtained convictions for only 18 percent of “offenders in possession of a firearm” cases, a known precursor to violence. Worse still, of those convicted, the majority do not see the inside of a jail cell for very long, or even at all, despite Maryland’s five-year statutory minimum sentence. An analysis by the Baltimore Sun showed that 43 percent received less than a year in jail and 13 percent received no jail time. And in homicide, Mosby isn’t getting very impressive results. Of the 202 murder cases resolved since 2017 (out of 1,300 murders in that period and 2,000 since he became a state attorney), Mosby obtained guilty verdicts in 38 percent of them, while he pleaded guilty in another 26 percent. hundred. Many of those pleas received convictions on lesser charges, including possession of weapons and obstruction of justice, as well as light sentences, in some cases only a few months in prison. Meanwhile, Mosby’s refusal to prosecute so-called “victimless crimes,” such as prostitution and drug possession, obscures the sad reality in Charm City. The drug of choice is not marijuana, but heroin, now laced with highly dangerous fentanyl. And contrary to Mosby’s claim that addicts will benefit from his new indulgence, fatal opioid overdoses, which were already extremely high in Baltimore, rose 17 percent in the six months after his order. But Mosby went further and extended his non-prosecution to “attempted distribution,” which is not a Maryland legal term. Mosby has been equally confused about whether there is a possession threshold. In an eloquent exchange at a town hall hearing after Mosby’s announcement, a councilman asked the police commissioner: “If someone walks downtown with a backpack with three cocaine bricks, I assume they will arrest them rather than if someone is walking downtown with three grams of cocaine, I guess they won’t arrest them. “The main city cop replied,” I don’t know if the state attorney has set the threshold, except I remember her saying simple possession in any quantity. ” The Sky’s the Limit! Now the Baltimore District Attorney allows sex workers to walk the streets without fear of police harassment. Shame on tax-paying owners who disapprove of open-air brothels clogging their streets with used condoms and lustful men! Meanwhile, sex workers are often controlled by human traffickers and pimps and addicted to hard drugs, yes n possibility of escape. Forcing them out of that hell might be the best thing that can happen to these desperate women (and men). A trip to the city jail takes them off the streets and away from the predators who employ them and gives them the opportunity to connect with social services. Instead, Mosby plans more outreach, presumably in the belief that handing a business card to a working girl under the watchful eye of her pimp will change the rules of the game. None of this doesn’t even address how useful sex workers and addicts (and petty traffickers) are to the police as informants and witnesses to violent crimes. They know the players and the gossip and they can go where the police can’t. Mosby is stripping the police of their influence to gain valuable information needed to catch the real baddies. As it stands, Baltimore police make an arrest in just one-third of the city’s annual murders, and taking the eyes and ears off police officers probably won’t make their job any easier. For both addicts and sex workers, there is a better way, but it requires responsibility and compliance. Steve Alm of Hawaii, formerly a judge and now Honolulu chief prosecutor, pioneered a program that uses “fast, safe, and fair” incarceration through his “tough love” model. Defendants are evaluated and offered treatment or remedies and then ordered to meet certain requirements (for example, stay sober and smooth). If they don’t, they immediately receive a predetermined period in jail (for example, 30 days). After his confinement, the process begins again, but the penalties increase. It works, with a 72 percent reduction in drug use and a 55 percent reduction in participants’ retained. Actions must have consequences and liability issues. Marilyn Mosby disagrees. Her announcement was curiously timed five days after news broke that federal prosecutors had convened a grand jury to investigate the prosecutor and her husband, who is the president of the city council, for financial crimes. Mosby, a self-proclaimed “progressive change agent,” says she is being persecuted for her politics – by Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ Justice Department. Previously, he attacked the city’s inspector general for reporting that Mosby, who makes $ 240,000 a year, was on undisclosed luxury and exotic trips (e.g., all-expense-paid trips to Kenya and Portugal) for 20 percent. of his work days in 2018 and 2019. Never mind that it was Mosby who requested the investigation to clarify it after the media discovered discrepancies in Mosby’s submissions. Even when Mosby apologizes to criminals for his actions, he seeks to blame others for his own problems. However, a federal judge presiding over your case may not be as lenient. In just the past five years, two former Baltimore mayors and a police chief have faced a judge for their own crimes. Decriminalizing crime will only bring more misery to Baltimore. If misery loves company, Baltimore under Mosby is a company town.