Baltimore Man Charged With Robbery Despite Being In Jail At Time Of The Crime . . . Prosecutor Still Insists on Trial and Judge Agrees

PrisonCellOne can certainly understand Tyree Threatt, 21, being confused. He was charged after a victim picked out his photo as the man who robbed her. However, the robbery occurred while Threatt was in jail on another robbery charge. Now here is the bizarre twist. Nicholas Cooksley, his public defender, showed the court the record proving that it was impossible for Threatt to have committed the crime. Indeed, what could be a better alibi than being in jail? Well, it was not good enough for the prosecutor who refused to drop the charge and insisted on a trial. Even more bizarre was the judge who agreed that a trial would be needed. The charges were only dropped after the media pressed the police, which eventually dropped the charges.

The case demonstrates, yet again, that witnesses are often mistaken despite the heavy reliance on such testimony by many jurors. A detective spotted Threatt in the area of the crime as someone who matched the victim’s description. He was arrested on armed robbery and using a firearm in a violent crime. Both charges carry a maximum 20-year prison sentence.

However, the real story is the initial position of the prosecutors and the ruling of the court. Exactly what is the trial supposed to show. Could a jury decide that Threatt could have been both in custody and miles away at the same time?

On June 27th (the day of the robbery), Threatt was being held on charges of second-degree assault and false imprisonment. While charges were dropped that day, Threatt was not released until June 28th.

There is no discussion of how the detective could have missed this obvious problem or any discussion of the position of prosecutor who was informed of the problem. Indeed, there is no mention of any investigation, let alone discipline, for the detective or the prosecutor for such negligence. There is also no mention of the name of the judge who agreed that a trial is warranted when the accused was locked away at the time of the crime.

Source: Baltimore Sun

85 thoughts on “Baltimore Man Charged With Robbery Despite Being In Jail At Time Of The Crime . . . Prosecutor Still Insists on Trial and Judge Agrees”

  1. @John Oliver: I think both. People are justified in being appalled at the idea because ultimately Scalia is wrong, and wrong in a serious matter. But it’s also a symptom of the larger problem that the justice system has been too good at abdicating its essential functions, one of the most prominent of which is to ensure the innocent are not punished. The reason a meritorious innocence claim winds up in federal court on habeas corpus in the first place is that the state courts have failed in this essential function. The idea that the federal court should just punt it back to the state that has already failed is fatuous. Somebody has to be responsible in the end, and in the end on a matter like this the federal system must act as the failsafe. That’s my opinion, probably not Scalia’s, although he wasn’t directly confronting the question there. As far as it goes, he was merely stating a fact: the SCOTUS has never ruled that the constitution forbids the execution of a ‘legally” guilty, but factually innocent person.

  2. JMRJ,
    I agree. Taken out of context is seems to be a rather callous position to take. Instead of gobbling that up I read Scalia’s decision and it appears the statute “Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996” bars the federal court from issuing a writ of habeas corpus if the state court did not violate federal law when adjudicating the habeas request.

    So, is the outrage over Scalia’s comment justified or is this more evidence of how mucked up the system of justice has become?

  3. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia would love to uphold such a conviction. If I recall correctly, he had an opinion in a capital case where even if there was indisputable evidence of innocence, the courts had no responsibility to free an innocent man. The requirement was simply that he got a full and fair trial.

    “This court,” Scalia pointed out, “has never held that the Constitution forbids the execution of a convicted defendant who has had a full and fair trial but is later able to convince a court that he is ‘actually’ innocent.”

    1. @Taser: I don’t care for Scalia’s take on the question, but you’re not being fair, really. The quote can only be understood in context.

      He didn’t say that the courts have no responsibility to free an innocent man. The context was the standard for a federal court to review a state court conviction on a petition for habeas corpus. Fairly understood, he’s more talking about shifting the responsibility of freeing innocent prisoners to the state courts that convicted him in the first place.

      I don’t agree with him. But it’s not as bad as it sounds.

  4. Justice is a lie.
    The FBI is now headed by HSBC attorney James Comey, Obama-appointed, and the Alberto Gonzales Republicans want to impeach him over Benghazi.

  5. I have a question I’ve asked on the “Texas Rick Perry” thread that no one seems to want to attempt to answer. Perhaps someone here can explain why withholding IRS tax credits for the “non-state” ACA exchange enrollees or the individual mandate are not coercion but Perry’s actions are?

  6. Mr. Schulte–You are correct. I am a citizen of Arizona, and know how it works. Or is supposed to work but doesn’t. This method I am proposing would be completely random, and the qualification–the only qualification–would be being a practicing attorney. Which means you’d have to pass the bar exam and know how the courts work, and how laws work. There would be no political oversight, no politicians involved at any level. If your name is drawn for that post, you serve that post for a year.
    Since I am not a lawyer, I do not know whether this would work or not. Tell me why it wouldn’t work?

  7. Here is a possible solution to this issue. I would like to hear everyone’s feedback. Citizens already have to perform jury duty. They are selected at random to serve on juries. What if, as a part of being a lawyer, it were required that lawyers do “Judge Duty”? From the ranks of lawyers all Judge positions would be filled at random. Each lawyer would serve for a year as a judge. At the beginning of the year, a new slate of judges would be chosen at random from the ranks of the lawyers. So you might end up with a divorce attorney serving as a Supreme Court justice for year. Or a criminal attorney serving in the county court for year. This would certainly eliminate the “good old boy network”. And it would probably get us some decent judges.
    Of course, compensation would have to be worked out. And there would be the issue of the interruption of a lawyer’s career. But I am sure that if all lawyers were required to do it, that the situation would work itself out.
    At least we would get some fair and reasonable judges for once.

    1. PaulTheCabDriver – you still end up with the same old boys network. There are several states, Arizona is one, that uses merit selection for its two biggest counties. The lawyers apply for the position, submit resumes, the top candidates are interviewed, the top three candidates (only two can be from the same party) are submitted to the governor who either selects one or rejects the panel. They are up for re-election every 7 years and it is an up or down vote. They do not run against anyone.

  8. Officer Stopped Teenager for Blocking Street, Police Say

    “All week, community members had demanded the name of the officer who killed Michael Brown, 18, last Saturday, but when it finally came, it was accompanied by surveillance videotapes that appeared to show Mr. Brown shoving a store clerk aside as he stole a box of cigarillos.

    Mr. Brown’s family, their lawyer and others in the community expressed disgust, accusing the police of trying to divert attention from the central issue — the unexplained shooting of an unarmed young man.

    “It is smoke and mirrors,” said Benjamin L. Crump, a lawyer for the Brown family, of the robbery allegations. “Nothing, based on the facts before us, justifies the execution-style murder by this police officer in broad daylight.””

  9. I see some comments here about “killing a kid by the cops”. I often say on here: 18 up and out. The 26th Amendment makes an 18 year old an adult. Look at the video of the big huge 18 year old adult pushing the store clerk around. As to the knowledge of the cop that this was the robber. He must have been deaf to not hear about this on the police radio. The cohert, Johnson, admits that they were the one’s in the convenience store robbery. This is what can be prosecuted in Missouri as a felony murder, second degree. Johnson and dead guy were fleeing a felony. Johnson can be charged with his partner’s death under the felony murder statute. Section 565.020 RSMo.

    Freeman Bosley is on CNN right now saying that the cop who shot dead guy should be indicted by a federal grand jury. I say that Johnson should be indicted for felony murder. Freeman Bosley, by the way, used to be Mayor of he City of Saint Louis, and is a good man. So, I don’t dis Freeman. His client though, should be up itShay creek without a paddle.

    1. BarkinDog,

      We have a different take on this in Washington.

      RCW 9A.32.050
      Murder in the second degree.

      (1) A person is guilty of murder in the second degree when:

      (a) With intent to cause the death of another person but without premeditation, he or she causes the death of such person or of a third person; or

      (b) He or she commits or attempts to commit any felony, including assault, other than those enumerated in RCW 9A.32.030(1)(c), and, in the course of and in furtherance of such crime or in immediate flight therefrom, he or she, or another participant, causes the death of a person other than one of the participants; except that in any prosecution under this subdivision (1)(b) in which the defendant was not the only participant in the underlying crime, if established by the defendant by a preponderance of the evidence…

      So in essence here, two robbers take a convenience store, a shootout happens, suspect B is shot by Suspect A and dies. Suspect A cannot be charged with 2nd degree murder because B was a participant in the crime.

  10. Isn’t there a law about making false accusations? The Grand Jury should see through this prosecutor as incompetent and wasting the tax payers money. The judge is just plain incompetent to go on with the trial and should be removed from the bench for Oath violation.

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