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Criticism of Mosby is off the mark | READER COMMENTARY

Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby announces 16 indictments against alleged drug traffickers on Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019.
Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby announces 16 indictments against alleged drug traffickers on Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019. (Justin Fenton)

Your front page headline, “IG faults Mosby for her travels” (Feb. 10), prepared readers for a familiar story about another elected official engaged in corruption and fraudulent conduct. Readers are left with the distinct impression that she’s a no-show at her job and traveling the world at taxpayers’ expense.

That image certainly does not fit the conclusions reached by Inspector General Isabel Mercedes Cummings who recently conducted a 7-month investigation. She found no corruption, no fraud, no taxpayer money used, no concealment (indeed, Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby reported her travels to the State Ethics Commission). Ms. Mosby had requested the IG’s investigation after local media falsely accused her of pocketing $30,000 in reimbursement money before issuing a retraction several hours later.

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After having cleared her of wrongdoing, the IG report cited Ms. Mosby for only one shortcoming: failure to obtain Board of Estimates approval prior to traveling. Two days after the headline story, Sun readers learned that at first glance, Baltimore City Comptroller Bill Henry thought prior approval was not required since Ms. Mosby had not used city funds and had not requested repayment. Certainly, it’s an open issue in need of clarification.

People may disagree about a local prosecutor’s day-to-day responsibilities. Some expect Ms. Mosby to report to her office each day, just as in pre-pandemic times, and react critically when the IG referred to 144 workdays when she was not physically present in 2018 and 2019 (Ms. Mosby acknowledged 85 days). Others applaud Ms. Mosby’s invitations to conferences and universities where she speaks as a national leader of criminal justice reform. They view the traveling and appearances as a full workday, knowing she speaks to other prosecutors and law enforcement about changing the culture of over-incarceration while maintaining regular communication with her office.

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As one who teaches professional responsibility, I take great pleasure in Ms. Mosby and her prosecutorial colleagues’ effort to address the existing inequities and deficiencies in our legal system. They truly represent the ideal in our professional canons.

Doug Colbert, Baltimore

The writer is a professor at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law.

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