Just over a week ago, Baltimore City State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced that she would not prosecute persons found to be in possession of marijuana "in any weight" despite the decision of the Maryland General Assembly which decriminalized possession of less than 10 grams. Believing that she knows better than the courts, she called on the courts to cancel the convictions of thousands of individuals based solely on her new-found belief that possession of any amount of marijuana is not a crime — not on any error in their convictions.
Now, her office has called for granting it the ability to unilaterally reverse the convictions of individuals asserting that the state's attorney should "have the same discretion post-judgment as we do pre-judgment to deal with police misconduct." Again, this "right" would be without oversight and without the imprimatur of the courts (“Baltimore prosecutors want greater flexibility to undo convictions after Gun Trace Task Force scandal,” Feb. 11) .
Ms. Mosby has absolute discretion in deciding what cases to prosecute. She has absolute control over what cases not to prosecute and can legally decide not to prosecute individuals found standing on corners in possession of pounds of drugs. However, while nothing can excuse the misconduct of police officers, nothing would be more dangerous to our democracy than to allow an elected prosecutor to usurp the roles of the legislature and the judiciary. It is terrifying to imagine an elected official with the ability to raise campaign funds and then reverse the conviction of anyone she decided merited it.
Alan Abramowitz, Baltimore