AMAC Exclusive – By Andrew Abbott
Baltimore residents weary of years of escalating violent crime and record homicide rates got some welcome news earlier this summer when Marilyn Mosby, the city’s far-left state’s attorney, was defeated in the Democrat primary by Ivan Bates, a defense attorney, who, while decidedly not a conservative, has pledged to reverse some of Mosby’s more controversial policies. As Mosby finishes out her final months in office – and faces federal charges for fraud and perjury – her tenure provides a lesson in how the left-wing movement to “reimagine” policing and the criminal justice system has destroyed many once-great American cities.
In 2015, Mosby took office as the youngest District Attorney presiding over a major U.S. city at just 34 years old. Early on, things were promising, and she appeared committed to upholding law and order. Mosby aggressively pushed for legislation that would make it easier to jail serial sex offenders, and reestablished community liaison positions, promising to keep residents up to date about crimes committed in their communities. Just months into her tenure, she had successfully led the convictions of several high-profile repeat violent offenders.
That would all change with the death of Freddie Gray in police custody on April 19, 2015—a year after left-wing attacks on police erupted as a national political issue in the Ferguson riots of 2014. As protests spread across Baltimore, Mosby failed to say anything to quell the violence, instead charging the six officers involved with a litany of crimes, the most serious of which was second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter. Although most observers agreed that further investigation was warranted regarding the conduct of the officers, the charges were resoundingly criticized as unsubstantiated and a sweeping overreach. As a sign of just how abusive and inappropriate Mosby’s behavior was, all charges against the officers would later be dropped, and five of the six officers later sued Mosby for false arrest, false imprisonment, and defamation. Progressives celebrated Mosby, however, and she became a national hero for the left overnight.
But Mosby leaned into her status as a rising star in the budding movement to “reimagine” prosecution and the criminal justice system itself. Over the next six years, she aligned her policies with the likes of George Gascon in Los Angeles, Chesa Boudin in San Francisco, and Kim Foxx in Chicago. In 2019, under the guise of “fighting COVID,” Mosby announced a moratorium on prosecutions related to marijuana possession, regardless of quantity or prior criminal record, and said she would seek to vacate nearly 5,000 prior convictions. Mosby then expanded this moratorium on prosecutions to prostitution, minor traffic violations, and most low-level offenses, including trespassing. Then, with COVID receding in 2021, Mosby dropped the charade, announcing that the prosecution moratorium would be permanent.
Unsurprisingly, Baltimore has exploded in a wave of violent crime on Mosby’s watch. May 2015 alone was the deadliest single month in Baltimore since 1972. Between 2015 and 2021, the city surpassed 300 homicides every single year. The first six months of 2022 saw the most homicides of any six-month period in the city’s history, indicating that things are only getting worse, not better.
According to a new study released in July, the rise in murders is a direct result of Mosby’s policies. The report, from Sean Kennedy of the Maryland Public Policy Institute, analyzed 110 homicide suspects and found that the overwhelming majority had serious criminal convictions prior to committing homicide, and a plurality of these prior offenses involved firearm convictions. The study argued that “if the homicide defendants had received and served their eligible sentences for previous offenses, a majority would not have been free to commit their alleged homicides.” This conclusion directly contradicts the assertions of not just DA Mosby, but also dozens of far-left District Attorneys across the county who have placed “deincacceration” at the center of prosecutorial policy.
Mosby was already vulnerable in her re-election effort this year as a result of this failure. Then, the Justice Department announced in January that it was pursuing charges against her for fraud and perjury. According to federal prosecutors, Mosby alleged financial hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing her to receive tens of thousands of dollars under the CARES Act. Mosby then used those funds to pay for two vacation homes in Florida, even though she was still receiving her full annual salary of nearly $250,000. Mosby could face up to five years in federal prison if convicted.
To defeat Mosby, Ivan Bates ran a successful campaign pledging to “reverse Mosby’s non-prosecution policy for low-level offenses, including prostitution and drug possession.” Yet, even if he implements these changes on his first day, it will likely take years to undo the damage of Mosby’s tenure. Unfortunately, it will be Baltimore residents who are forced to deal with the tragic consequences of Mosby’s embrace of the far-left’s war on the justice system.
Andrew Abbott is the pen name of a writer and public affairs consultant with over a decade of experience in DC at the intersection of politics and culture.