GWU Law Professor Files Ethics Charges Against Prosecutors In Freddie Gray Case

Banzhaf_JohnSome of us have been critical of the changes brought by State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby in the death of Freddie Gray. As we have seen in past high-profile cases, the prosecutors over charged the case against various defendants with very little evidence. The result has been a series of acquittals. Now, my GWU colleague Professor John Banzhaf III has taken that controversy to a new level with the filing of complaints seeking disbarment with the Maryland Attorney Grievance Commission against Mosby, Chief Deputy State’s Attorney Michael Schatzow and Deputy State’s Attorney Janice Bledsoe. He alleges that these prosecutors knowingly brought charges without a sufficient evidentiary basis.

Gray, 25, suffered a spinal injury in a ride in a police van after his arrest in April 2015. He died a week later. Mosby and her staff secured charges against six police officers — three have been acquitted in trials before Circuit Judge Barry G. Williams. Williams has found insufficient evidence in past cases — a view shared by some commentators including myself.

Professor Banzhaf believes that the lack of probable cause is obvious but simply ignored by the prosecutors. His earlier complaint against Mosby called her a “runaway prosecutor.” He accused her of yielding to the demands of the mob rather than serving the interests of justice.

Banzhaf often includes students in his litigation, which has included groundbreaking reforms in combating tobacco use. His class on litigation is called “Sue the Bastards.” He is the founder of a smoking pressure group, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH). Even as a law student, Banzhaf was a fierce advocate. While still a student at Columbia Law School, Banzhaf wrote a note on copyrighting computer and software programs. It had never been done despite requests. While still a student, Banzhaf sought to register copyrights on two programs he had written. He became in 1964 the first person to register such copyrights. He later testified in Congress on the issue. Not a bad start for a law student.

Despite my respect for such public interest successes and my agreement on the lack of evidence in these cases, I remain skeptical about the chances of the bar complaints. I previously applauded bar actions against abusive prosecutors like Mike Nifong from the infamous Duke Lacrosse case. However, courts and bars afford considerable leeway in balancing evidence to support an indictment. Notably, Nifong was guilty of an array of unethical acts related to his public statements and conduct. The odds heavily favor the prosecutors in these complaints in my view.

What do you think?

71 thoughts on “GWU Law Professor Files Ethics Charges Against Prosecutors In Freddie Gray Case”

  1. @CK07


    Oh yes, inner city Baltimore is such a wonderful place! If only those mean old police would just quit hassling all the nice, peaceful colored people who live there, then I am sure folks would flock from far and wide just to see the Garden of Eden on Earth, as it would become known!

    Wake up! Those “poor” black people in Baltimore made this wonderful list! No. 13! Gee, aren’t most of the cities on that list Democratic Party run places, with large black populations??? Oh, I guess it is racisssst! to notice that. Check out the world’s most dangerous cities, and you can figure out the other group of people that the Democrats are so keen on allowing in, and allowing to stay. Enjoy:

    Anyway, good riddance to the bad rubbish that was Freddie Gray! But, if you are sooo interested in worthless criminals, maybe you could start collecting Serial Killer Trading Cards??? Then you could get with other people who have the same interest, and swap cards and stuff!

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

    * People in England should NOT read this comment because it is against the law in England to say stuff like this, even if it true! Soon, it will probably even be a crime for you to see it or read it! Like kiddie porn!

    1. So the violence in Baltimore calls for rampant prejudice from a police force that plants evidence on citizens, officers fearing retaliation if the report fellow crooked officers, arresting citizens for loitering outside their own homes, strip searching women for missing headlights, taking suspects for nickel rides, detaining individuals without evidence and acting as criminal as the criminals they’re sworn to serve and protect citizens from?

      These are certainly the principles this country was founded on…
      If only police terrorized the citizens of your community in such a discriminatory and haphazard manner I’m sure it would foster trust and compliance with the law. Let’s all champion corruption among police making this country a better place in cities like Chicago and Baltimore as we continue a flawed and rampantly discriminatory war on drugs that sees individuals like bike rider and aspiring Restaurant owner Bernard Noble sentenced to 13 years for possession of two joints of weed in New Orleans. Thank God he was black so the justice system could teach him a lesson without fear of any effective reprisal from respected and outraged citizens.
      Thank God Freddie Gray, John Crawford, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice etc. were black so conservative america could go on pretending this crap is normal.

      You seem to fail to realize that a crooked police force and a failed criminal justice policy have done little to make the situation better in black america and at worst have greatly exacerbated any underlying issue in a perpetual cycle. If every white adult male were locked up when gangs were roving new york 100 some years ago, and then young adults violating prohibition ordinances similarly targeted it would not have been beneficial to society as a whole.

  2. The seat belt policy wasn’t new. It had been updated, but it wasn’t new.

    The knife Gray had and was arrested for having didn’t violate the city ordinance against switchblades.

Comments are closed.