Tag: BlackLives Matter

A Synopsis of Freaknik Lawyer

By Michael May 28, 2019 0

This memoir connects the dots from Plessy to Brown to Obama and the quest of millennials to throw off the shackles of the Curse of Plessy and the unkept Promise of Brown.


Freaknik is not quite as freaky as it sounds. Certainly, Freaknik Lawyer is not about a lawyer getting his freak on when the lights go off.
read more

Set The Captives Free, Hillary

By Michael August 18, 2015 2

Set the captives free, Hillary. If you sincerely get what the #BlackLivesMatter group from Massachusetts  had to say about the original American sin transitioning black Americans from chattel slavery on a plantation to penal slavery in federal and state penitentiaries; then set the captives free.

Set the captives free on day one of your administration. Just like your husband wasted no time in fulfilling a pledge to the LGBT community and issued an executive order, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” on day one of his administration; you can with one stroke of your pen, set the captives free.

You asked for less finger pointing at the culprits of racial division and more specific proposals for legislation geared to solving the problems Bill Clinton’s crime legislation birthed.

During a recent speech before the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, your husband, the 42nd President of the United States said that his crime bill was responsible for incarcerating low level criminals for far too many years.

Former President Clinton offered the NAACP membership an apology. He probably offered it to keep your campaign viable with black voters. At any rate, he has admitted that federal legislation enacted during his presidency did far more collateral damage to black Americans by extending sentences for low level crimes than good. Not to mention the damage done to the black family due to the absence of black fathers in their homes and a general shortage of black men in black neighborhoods.

Apologies are fine and dandy, but they fall short of  compensating men locked away from their families merely because of the political rhetoric coming from Republicans that Democrats were soft on crime. That crime package bought your husband precious time to build his reputation as a centrist Democratic leader. He used this political capital to gain a second term as President. The drive-by shootings that his legislation was designed to decimate, continue to happen. Violence continues in the black community because of two reasons: (1) black men have been taken away from the home and from their children and; (2) there is an absence of jobs and enterprise opportunities in these neighborhoods.

There comes a time when reparatory justice is the order of the day. That day has come. Not only should you set the captives free, those who are held in federal prison under the three-strikes and you are locked out of society for life legislation, and other enhanced sentencing under the Clinton crime initiative, but these men and women should be compensated for being removed from their families for essentially political reasons.

Each person freed under “Hillary’s Reparatory Justice Initiative” should be granted $50,000.00, housing for a year, free medical care for a year, and funding to incubate a business based upon the skills they acquired while in federal prison. State governments should be encouraged to do the same thing with the non-violent offenders they started locking away for long stretches of time in the 1990’s.

Their children, whose lives have been wrecked, due to the extended incarceration of their fathers should be compensated as well.

This is the type of legislation that is needed to begin to make the black community whole as a result of the pain and suffering that federal governmental policies, some of which can be linked back to your husband, have inflicted upon inner city communities.

Once you get this done by executive order, then we can get serious about reparation for the enslavement period of time for all Africans living in America who are citizens by virtue of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution.

 

Harold Michael Harvey, is the author of the legal thriller “Paper Puzzle,” and “Justice in the Round: Essays on the American Jury System,” available at Amazon and at haroldmichaelharvey.com. He can be contacted at hmharvey@haroldmichaelharvey.com

 

 

SOURCES:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/16/us/politics/bill-clinton-concedes-his-crime-law-jailed-too-many-for-too-long.html?_r=0

http://www.npr.org/2014/09/12/347736999/20-years-later-major-crime-bill-viewed-as-terrible-mistake

http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/241247-bill-clinton-renounces-his-1994-crime-bill read more

Sanders and #BlackLivesMatter

By Michael August 9, 2015 0

Bernie Sanders (I-VT)  and #BlackLivesMatter, what is the point? I am just wondering, what is the point?

Sanders is perhaps the most progressive candidate for the Democratic nomination since Bobby Kennedy’s quest for the nomination in 1968, ended when Kennedy was assassinated.

Sanders has been hounded by the #BlackLivesMatter Movement. On Saturday, two members of the #BlackLivesMatter group shut-down a Sanders’ campaign rally in Seattle, Washington.

Sanders was scheduled to speak at a gathering observing the 80th anniversary of the enactment of the Social Security Act and the 50th anniversary of the commencement of medicare.  Both issue are important to “Baby Boomers,” but not in the short term, important to Millennials.

Two young millennials  took the microphone and would not allow Sanders to speak until after they lectured the gray haired congressman on issues involving racism in the Seattle Police Department.

Their antics are as archaic and obnoxious as Donald Trump’s triade to Megyn Kelly during the first Republican debate in Cleveland last week; but potentially far more harmful to the progressive causes they seek to promote.

The politics of #BlackLivesMatter has been on my mind for a solid year.  I have followed the rise of the #BlackLivesMatter Movement with much interest and much anticipation. For years, I had hope that a new cadre of young freedom fighters, would rise up,who were willing to get in the way of the status quo.

What drew my attention to the enormous potential of this movement for social and legal justice was a tweet sent out by Aurille Lucier, a 20 year-old Atlanta woman, who simply wanted to  make a statement over the manner in which Michael Brown was gunned down in the middle of a Ferguson, Missouri street.

Lucier  courageously asked for 10 people to join her in a protest on Interstate 20, near Atlanta’s downtown connector, which funnels traffic to both Interstate 75 and 85. She was willing to make a statement with only ten people. From that one tweet 5000 people showed up. They shut I-20 down. This turnout of young people captured an old community organizer’s attention.

I spent a significant portion of my book, Justice in the Round: Essays on the American Jury System (Cascade Publishing House, 2015), explaining the generational divide between “Baby Boomers” and “millennials” over the issue of the civil rights movement versus the human rights movement. I came down on the side of the millennials, arguing that it is time that millennials take the reins of leadership in their search for justice in America. My one caveat was that millennials should be willing to listen to the lessons of history from “baby boomers and that boomers be willing to teach those lessons without being out in front of the #BlackLivesMatter Movement.

So I am all in favor of the activism and the creative energy displayed by members of the #BlackLivesMatter Movement. At the same time I think they need to listen to the gray heads who still remember the pitfalls of the past 50 years.

For instance, in 1968, in spite of the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bobby Kennedy, the nation had made great strides towards racial equality in public accommodations, education, housing and health care. However, there was much work left to do. The liberal wing of the Democratic Party was pushing conservative southern Democrats and moderate Republicans to the bargaining table and reaching consensus over the major issues of that day. The next great leap was at hand if only the Democratic Party could hold onto the presidency.

In 1968, the Democrats met in Chicago to pick their nominee, they were met with protests and resistance from the Students for a Democratic Society, a group of students who worked to end the war in Vietnam. Prior to the convention, their activism had forced President Johnson to decline “to seek or accept” the nomination of his party. They won the battle. The soldiers would be coming home. Yet young people in all generations never seem to know when they are winning.  SDS moved into Chicago. They met with the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense and other so called  “radical groups” and coordinated street protests during the Democratic Convention.

There was bloodshed in the streets. The national guard was called in to restore order. The Democratic Party took a direct hit and Richard Nixon, whose coronation by the Republicans was not protested by SDS,  rode back into Washington on a theme of restoring “law and order.”

Nixon’s election was the worst thing that could have happened to the natural evolution of the civil rights movement. Much as the election of a Republican president in 2016 will have on the natural progression of the #BlackLivesMatter Movement.

“White progressives should be held accountable,” seems to be the thrust of the Seattle protest and the NetRoots Nation protest last month during Sanders’ appearance on stage with former Maryland Governor, Martin O’Malley.

I agree with this postulation. White progressives, because they know an injustice when they see one,  should be held to a higher standard. I tend to think that black and white progressives can deal with those type of discussions after joining forces to win an election against a team that can not recognize an injustice when they see one.

Imagine the proponents of #BlackLivesMatter marching upon the stage of the Republican debate in Cleveland last week and taking the microphone from Donald Trump. Surely, the cops would have been summoned to escort them off to jail. Democrats are more sensitive to the cause of #BlackLivesMatter and thus more forgiving when interrupted. It does not take much courage to take a microphone from a pacifist like Bernie Sanders, unlike pulling the same stunt on Donald Trump or Jeb Bush.

This all raises the question, why has this group not interrupted a Republican candidate? Why have the only Democrats who have been embarrassed with this stunt have been Sanders and O’Malley? Why #BlackLivesMatter have not paid a visit to a Hillary Clinton speech?  In the vernacular of the Millennials: “What’s up with that?” 

Indeed, what is the point?

 

Harold Michael Harvey, is the author of the legal thriller “Paper Puzzle,” and “Justice in the Round: Essays on the American Jury System,” available at Amazon and at haroldmichaelharvey.com. He can be contacted at hmharvey@haroldmichaelharvey.com

 

SOURCES:

http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/250667-protesters-interrupt-bernie-sanders-rally

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2015/08/08/bernie-sanders-leaves-seattle-stage-after-event-disrupted-by-black-lives-matter-protesters/ read more

A Powder Keg In Cincinnati

By Michael July 30, 2015 2

One year after Ferguson, Missouri there is a powder keg in Cincinnati, Ohio waiting to explode.  This powder keg does not have anything to do with the “Big Red Machine.” The iconic 1970s baseball team that was showcased during Major League Baseball’s All Star game held in Cincinnati two weeks ago.

But just like the explosive offense put up by Cincy’s “Big Red Machine” in the 1970s, this powder keg is a heavy hitter. All it takes is one spark and this powder keg in Cincy has the potential to ignite the entire country in chaos and anarchy. The trouble began when a University of Cincinnati Police Officer shot and killed Samuel Dubose following a minor traffic stop.

It has been a painful twelve months to live in America, the supposedly home of the free and the brave. What we are finding out is that none of us are free ( not even Bill Cosby with his millions) and those who are sworn to protect and serve us are not brave. They appear cowardly. They are quick to shoot black’s whose lives do not matter to them, in cold blood, probably because of racial prejudices embedded in their heritage  and segregated culture.

There are far too many names to call if we were to attempt to call the roll of the black women and men who have died at the hands of the boys in blue since Michael Brown and Eric Gardner were baited into  situations that led to an escalation of tensions between them and the cops.

How did we get here in twelve short months?

Many African Americans will argue we have always been here. The only thing different now is that we are living in an age of technology. An age that allows the American people to witness up close and personal deadly confrontations between white police officers and black Americans.

It seems that each death is more gruesome than the one before it. The acts more stultifying, more senseless, more blatant, and more hateful  than the previous event.

Since 2013, when George Zimmerman got away with killing Trayvon Martin, the African American community has been simmering, slowly building to a slow boil. I am sadly afraid that America has reached the boiling point. The stew brewing in the melting pot that is America is about to boil out of the pot onto streets all across the country where black people live and are denied rights granted to other Americans; should this powder keg in Cincy be ignited.

God help us all.

Sources

http://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2015/07/29/publish/30830777/

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/30/opinion/charles-blow-the-shooting-of-samuel-dubose.html?_r=0

http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/29/us/ohio-sam-dubose-tensing-indictment/

Harold Michael Harvey, is the author of the legal thriller “Paper Puzzle,” and “Justice in the Round: Essays on the American Jury System,” available at Amazon and at haroldmichaelharvey.com. He can be contacted at hmharvey@haroldmichaelharvey.com

So What If Sandra Bland Did It?

By Michael July 24, 2015 0

So what if Sandra Bland did it? So what if she hanged herself? What in the world was she doing in a jail cell in the first place?

I am not saying Sandra Bland took her own life. I do not have enough information to make that determination. On the surface it appears to me that she was not in sufficient trouble to be concerned about getting out of jail.

Especially given the fact arrangements had been made for her to bond out. It was only a matter of time before she would have been set free to wage war against Brian Encinia, the Texas State Patrol officer who pulled her out of her automobile, slammed her to the ground and filed questionable charges against her for assaulting a public officer.

Sandra Bland’s arrest and subsequent death leaves more questions than answers.

What type of contact did she have with her jailers that would push her to hang herself, if indeed, she hung herself? Why were the instrumentalities ( a plastic bag and trash can) for a death by hanging so readily available in her jail cell? If she smoked a large quantity of marijuana in jail where did it come from and how was she able to conceal the smell of marijuana from the jailers?

At what point was Sandra Bland made aware she was under arrest? It is not clear in my mind and I have watched the video of the stop several times. It is not likely that Sandra Bland in real time was aware that Encinia had placed her under arrest until he threathened to “light [her] up” with his taser. At that point she seemed to comply with the orders given by Encinia.

The manner in which Encinia spoke to Bland is reprehensible and an object lesson in how not to talk to any American citizen clothed with the presumption of innocence until such time as a court, if it can, can determine otherwise.

If she did, then why was she placed in a situation where she might become depressed and hang herself? There are more questions than answers. We may never know the truth, as my granddad often said in the 1950s, “A dead man [woman] can’t talk.”

But even, if she did the unthinkable, it does not let the State of Texas or Brian Encinia off the hook. Sandy Bland should never have been placed under arrest. She should never have been found dead in a jail cell. And Brian Encinia should never be allowed to be a public officer again. It’s time to light him up.

SOURCES:

http://mic.com/articles/117228/black-women-continue-getting-killed-by-police-why-aren-t-more-people-discussing-it

http://news.yahoo.com/sheriff-inmate-told-texas-jailer-prior-suicide-attempt-065533175.html

http://newsone.com/3157451/brian-encinia-texas-trooper-who-arrested-sandra-bland/

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2015/07/how-many-sandra-blands-are-never-caught-on-video/399173/ read more

Black Churches on Fire

By Michael July 1, 2015 0

Black churches are on fire throughout the south since the white terrorist Daylann Roof fired upon an unarmed group of black church worshippers two weeks ago in Charleston, South Carolina.  Roof said in no uncertain terms that he slaughtered nine black people because he was tired of sitting around listening to his white compatriots talking about a race war and not doing anything to get it started.

The carnage Roof left in the Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church is reminiscent of the   sneaky attack on Fort Sumter, South Carolina in December 1860, which ignited the Civil War that southern states had been clamoring for, but none dared to fire the first shot.

On first blush one would think that Roof’s efforts to jump-start a race war had failed. Family members of the worshippers who lost their lives in this senseless terrorist attack did not rush to pick up their guns and attack white people. Instead they did what their faith taught them to do. They forgave Roof in spite of the fact, he did not ask for forgiveness or show any signs of remorse for his actions.

I have to admit when I first learned of Roof’s reason for attacking Emmanuel A. M. E. Church, I was thrown off guard thinking that the only way for his plan to work would be for radical elements of the black community to bear arms and attack targets in the white community.

However, when you look at the response of the white supremacist community you find support for Roof’s actions and a sense that Roof has galvanized white supremacists to conduct other acts of terror in the black community.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), Aryan Nations leader Morris Gulett “offered praise and urged others to follow Roof’s example.”

“I, for one, am very glad to see young people like Dylann Roof acting like men instead of the old 60’s era hippies stoned on weed and interracial love,” Gulett posted on his website, according to SPLC.

“We had better see much more of this type of activism if we ever expect to see our America return to it’s [sic] rightful place in the world and our children grow up in a clean safe healthy enviroment [sic],” Gulett wrote.

This can only explain the sudden wave of fires which have destroyed 7 black churches throughout the south since Roof went on his rampage at Mother Emmanuel. Investigators have determined that three of the fires were the work of arsonists. The other four are under investigation.

The seven churches are: Apostolic Holiness Church, Tallahassee, Florida, Glover Grove Baptist Church, Warrenville, South Carolina, College Hills Seventh Day Adventist Church, Knoxville, Tennessee, God’s Power Church of Christ, Macon, Georgia, Briar Creek Baptist Church, Charlotte, North Carolina, Fruitland Presbyterian Church, Gibson, Tennessee and Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church, Charleston, South Carolina.

It appears the plan of  white supremacists is not to engage a black militia in armed warfare, but to wage a campaign of terror by striking vulnerable targets in the black community, when members of the community least expect them.

I believe black church leaders should immediately do two things:

First, hire armed guards to protect their property around the clock.  Then search every stranger who attends a worship service or meeting held in the church. As insensitive as it sounds, all unrecognized white people  should be searched for weapons.

There is literally a media blackout on these church fires. Certainly nothing that comes close to the 24- hour news coverage of fires in Ferguson and Baltimore which were believed to have been set by black rioters. Therefore, each person reading this report should consider themselves a committee of one to get the  word out by sharing this report with as many people as possible, so that members of the community will not be surprised by a sneak attacked from another cowardly, wretched cur.

 

Harold Michael Harvey, is the author of the legal thriller “Paper Puzzle,” and “Justice in the Round: Essays on the American Jury System,” available at Amazon and at haroldmichaelharvey.com. He can be contacted at hmharvey@haroldmichaelharvey.com

 

Macon Native to Sign Book

By Michael June 15, 2015 2

Macon Native Harold Michael Harvey to Sign His New Book Justice in the Round At Bethel C. M. E. Church On Father’s Day, June 21, 2015

Bethel C. M. E. Church, Macon, Georgia will host a book signing, following both worship services on Father’s Day, June 21, 2015, for native son Harold Michael Harvey.

His new book Justice in the Round: Essays on the American Jury System, Cascade Publishing House, 2015, tackles justice in America following the George Zimmerman and Michael Dunn jury trials and the grand jury proceedings in Ferguson, Missouri and Staten Island, New York. The church is located at 1668 Pio Nono Avenue.

“One salient fact shapes my frame of reference in these essays: All jurors bring to the jury room their genetics and their sundry environments. By virtue of this fact, we are all subconsciously race-conscious. No one can divorce themselves from their genetic make-up, but we can, if we choose, overcome the environmental conditions that will enable us to be fair to people with different genetics and social standing,” Harvey writes.

The author grew up in Macon’s Unionville community and Bethel C. M. E. Church, where he came under the mentorship of community activist Frank Johnson. He served the church as Assistant Superintendent of the Sunday School and as a member of the Senior Choir, Usher Board and the Steward Board before leaving home to attend law school in the early 1980s.

Harold Michael Harvey is the author of the legal thriller Paper Puzzle. He writes on legal and political issues at haroldmichaelharvey.com. He earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in political science from Tuskegee University and a Juris Doctorate from Atlanta Law School. He is the winner of the “Outstanding Work in Newspaper Journalism Award” from the National Newspaper Publishers Association (Macon Courier) and has won two semi-monthly Political Pundits Prizes from Allvoices.com. A former practicing lawyer, Harvey now spends his days reading and writing. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia with his wife and vegetable garden. He writes wherever the muse takes him.

Harvey said he is excited that his home church is hosting a book signing for him. “I feel blessed that my home church continues to think highly of the nurturing they poured into me when I was growing up,” Harvey said.

Also, Bethel hosted a book signing for his first book Paper Puzzle.

“I am looking forward to seeing many of my family members from out of town and old high school classmates who are coming back to Macon to worship with us on Sunday. I feel blessed beyond words,” Harvey said.

Strange Case of Rachel Dolezal

By Michael June 13, 2015 14

The strange case of Rachel Dolezal has the country up in storm. Dolezal was born to white parents of Czech and German ancestry. Sometime after emancipation she decided to identify as black. She immersed herself in the African American culture, tanned her skin, weaved her hair; and spoke in the cadence and sauntered with the swag of a black middle class woman.

Quite frankly, I find what she has done refreshing. She could not have appeared on the national scene at a better time. Dolezal’s claims of being black is just the fresh air that the country needs to finally get a grip on the great racial divide that W. E. B. DuBois said would be the main problem in the 20th century. DuBois, I believe, surely thought Americans would have solved the problem of race by the 21st century.

It saddens me to report to DuBois’ legacy: As Americans, we have not solved how “the lighter races of men relate to the darker races in America, Asia, Africa and the island of the seas.”

Individually, some Americans have. I have met several white women who identify very deeply with black culture and the struggle of the African American community to rid itself of the shackles of racism. One of whom told me just the other day, that as a young white woman in the work world, it did not take her “long to figure out that the white man was the problem.”

Albeit, none of my friends have taken the Dolezal step and rejected their European ancestry and self identified with people of African descent.

Dolezal’s bold and courageous move speaks volumes for race relations in America. The Christian Messiah preached that if you wanted to be like him you must be prepared to “… leave your possessions, pick up your cross and follow me.”

This Dolezal has done and like the the Christian Messiah, she has suffered her own crucifixion, in the media, by white and black people. Whites find it impossible to believe that a white person would voluntarily give up the privilege of white skin. Perhaps because few of them would be willing to do it.

From the appearance of it, Dolezal has rejected her biological parents and created a new life in the black world. None of my liberal white friends, no matter how progressive, when pushed have said they would be willing to forfeit the perks of skin color.

On the other hand black people feel a sense of disrespect, as if, Dolezal is treading on precious black space. Precious because the dominate white culture only allows a small percentage of black people to occupy space with rich soil. Blacks are reluctant to share what little good space there is in the American melting pot.

In the Soul’s of Black Folks, DuBois writes about the “concept of twoness” experienced by black Americans. The experience of being American, yet not being treated like an American and how black people struggle with who they are as a result of this “unreconciled twoness.”

Dolezal has wrestled with DuBois’ identity crisis from the white perspective, as she has tried to reconcile the American dream of white Americans, with the American nightmare of black Americans. She has opted to live black, to think black, and to work for black advancement, all the while entrapped  by her genetics, which dictate that she is predisposed to live the white cultural myth based upon the lie that somehow white people are superior and blacks are inferior people.

Dolezal freed herself from her genetics the only way she could, and the only way all of us can, by freeing the mind.

How cool is that?

Harold Michael Harvey, is the author of the legal thriller “Paper Puzzle,” and “Justice in the Round: Essays on the American Jury System,” available at Amazon and at haroldmichaelharvey.com. He can be contacted at hmharvey@haroldmichaelharvey.com

 

Mosby’s Recusal Off Base

By Michael May 10, 2015 0

Marilyn Mosby, State Attorney in the Baltimore City District stood up and did what very few prosecutors have dared to do. She filed a criminal indictment against six police officers in her jurisdiction. The indictment stemmed from the death of Freddie Gray. He died of injuries resulting from a severed spine after spending several days in police custody.

Some critics, including the Harvard law professor, Alan Dershowitz, believe that she was quick to pull the trigger and indict the officers in the death of Freddie Gray. At the time she announced charges would be brought against the officers, Baltimore was on the brink of exploding. This fact, other critics allege, forms the basis for Mosby to seek a political solution rather than a judicial resolution based upon sound legal doctrine.

Defense lawyers for the police officers were quick to pounce on Mosby’s bold move. Why wouldn’t they? After all, their clients face severe restrictions on their liberty for the remainder of their lives.

Towards the end of my legal career, I invited Johnnie Cochran to lecture at a continuing legal education course hosted by the Gate City Bar Association on the topic: “How to defend an unpopular defendant.”

At the time, Cochran was fresh from successfully defending O. J. Simpson for the murder of his wife, Nicole Simpson and a restaurant waiter. My take-away from that symposium was, the lawyer first has to get ahead of the bad publicity that an unpopular defendant brings to a high profile case.

The techniques used by criminal defense lawyers in the Baltimore Police Six Case is classic Johnnie Cochran. They have filed motions asking the judge to remove prosecutor Mosby from the case. In doing so, they have made allegations that reflect negatively on the prosecutor in an effort to shine the light of publicity away from the bad conduct their clients are alleged to have committed.

If you recall the Simpson trial, the Cochran legal team, early in the Simpson defense, went after the lead investigator for how he had handled the evidence. By the time Cochran gave his “If the gloves don’t fit, you must acquit,” closing argument, it was a forgone conclusion that the bad actor in the murder of Nicole Simpson was the lead investigator. He had mishandled the evidence at the crime scene and had violated evidence room protocol with respect to establishing a clear change of custody for blood samples allegedly found at the crime scene, or at least so the public thought.

In the Baltimore Police Six Case, defense attorneys have raised five issues to show that Mosby, perhaps, the only prosecutor in Maryland with the intestinal fortitude to bring these prosecutions, should be taken off the case. Listed below are the five issues and their relative merits:

(1) “Mosby and her husband, city council member Nick Mosby, stand to gain financially and politically.” This is a laughable assertion. The motion alleges that because the Mosbys are elected officials and live in the area hit the hardest by rioters and looters, they stand to gain financially and politically by silencing the protests.

How absurd can a defense lawyer be? Every Baltimore resident has a stake in the financial and political outcome of the racial unrest that hit the city as a result of protests stemming from the homicide of Freddie Gray. This postulation is equally true for anyone who lives in a political subdivision anywhere in America. If this were the standard for recusal, no prosecutor anywhere would ever be able to prosecute a crime because they would all have a stake in the tax consequences flowing from crimes committed in their jurisdictions.

(2) “Someone in her office has a personal relationship with a potential witness.” Duh, for lack of a more respectful response.

The motion alleges that a deputy state’s attorney in Mosby’s office has a relationship with a Baltimore news reporter who interviewed a passenger in the van that transported Gray the night of his arrest.

Usually, conflicts like these are resolved by not allowing the deputy attorney in question to work on the case or to have any conversation with any co-worker or potential witness in the case. Need I say duh again?

(3) “Her office took a role in investigating the case.” Another duh moment.

Many jurisdictions now find it helpful to have a state’s attorney assigned to the case as soon as the crime is reported. They often conduct their investigation independent of the police investigation. Because prosecutors are trained to prove guilt at trial, their investigations tend to ask questions that police investigators are not trained to ask. No big deal here, let’s keep it moving.

(4) “There is a pending civil claim against her office.” This is a cute one. Under Maryland law whenever a citizen intends to file a lawsuit against a political subdivision of the state it has 12 months to notify the entity of their intentions and two years to actually file the lawsuit if the parties have not reached a settlement.

Last week the Baltimore Police Six filed a notice of intent to hold Mosby’s office responsible for declaring that the state’s definition of a lawful knife takes precedent over a city’s ordinance definition of  what constitutes a lawful knife. This is a simple matter of knowing your eighth grade civics or for Maryland lawyers, knowing a little Maryland constitutional history.

In 1819 the U S Supreme Court held in McCulloch v. Maryland that federal law took precedence over state law. This rule has typically been applied in state matters, where legislation enacted by the state legislature is supreme over locally enacted ordinances.

Mosby prosecutes major criminal cases brought before the Baltimore Eighth Circuit Court. In doing so she is charged with upholding state law. Under state law the knife that was in Gray’s possession is not classified as an unlawful weapon.

If there are conflicts in laws enacted by the state legislature for all of Maryland and public laws enacted via local legislation by the Baltimore Legislative Delegation, the legislature and the appellant courts are the proper forum for resolving such conflicts. Bringing suit against a prosecutor for upholding the laws in her jurisdiction is way off base and driven by a desire to create a cloud over the prosecution of very unpopular police defendants.

(5) “An attorney for Gray’s family, William “Billy” Murphy, is a close friend, supporter and a lawyer who represented Marilyn Mosby in an ethics complaint.” If you ever wanted to laugh out loud, now would be the moment to do so.

Mosby’s office is prosecuting six Baltimore police officers for alleged criminality. Her office is not involved in any civil claim that the Gray family has against the City of Baltimore. The legal community is a small community. Lawyers tend to know each other. They spend their whole careers negotiating with each other on behalf of their clients. To accept this reason as a basis to recuse Mosby strains the collegiality that is so important in the profession.

I expect the court to allow Mosby to remain on this case, but if the defense strategy is successful it will be because they were able to leave a taint on Mosby’s office  in the mind of the eventual jury pool.

Such are the games lawyers play in the pursuit of that thing the system calls justice.

 

Harold Michael Harvey, is the author of the legal thriller “Paper Puzzle,” and “Justice in the Round: Essays on the American Jury System,” available at Amazon and at haroldmichaelharvey.com. He can be contacted at hmharvey@haroldmichaelharvey.com