Radio mouth Mark Levin kept insisting noisily that Maryland’s rookie prosecutor, Marilyn Mosby, had presented no “new facts” in her case against the six police officers charged in Freddie Gray’s death.
While some charges seem excessive—you can, I am sure, prove depraved indifference, but how do you saddle the officers with an intent to kill?—I don’t understand why the facts have to be new in order to form a valid basis for prosecution.
The harshest charge—second-degree depraved-heart murder—was reserved for Caesar “Goodson Jr., the officer driving a transport van in which Gray was riding.” The other charges—“involuntary manslaughter, assault, failure to render aid and misconduct in office”—don’t seem excessive.
Here is the full list of charges in Freddie Gray’s death.
Mosby, Baltimore State attorney, provided the following facts, new and old (CNN transcript):
* No crime had been committed by Mr. Gray.
* Mr. Gray was then placed in a prone position with his arms handcuffed behind his back. It was at this time that Mr. Gray indicated that he could not breathe and requested an inhaler, to no avail.
* At no point was he secured by a seat belt while in the wagon, contrary to a BPD general order.
* Officer Miller, Officer Nero and Lieutenant Rice then loaded Mr. Gray back into the wagon, placing him on his stomach, head first on to the floor of the wagon. Once again, Mr. Gray was not secured by a seat belt in the wagon.
* Despite stopping for the purpose of checking on Mr. Gray’s condition, at no point did he seek nor did he render any medical assistance for Mr. Gray.
* Mr. Gray at that time requested help, and indicated that he could not breathe. Officer Porter asked Mr. Gray if he needed a medic, at which time Mr. Gray indicated, at least twice, that he was in need of a medic.
* Sargent Alicia White, Officer Porter and Officer Goodson observed Mr. Gray unresponsive on the floor of the wagon.
* Mr. Gray suffered a severe and critical neck injury as a result of being handcuffed, shackled by his feet and unrestrained inside of the BPD wagon.
In-between another stop or two was made to collect another offender.
I still think the injury to the spine occurred at the time of the arrest.
Meantime militarist Megyn Kelly is losing it. She’s been broadcasting desperate interviews, as meaningless and irrelevant as those she conducted with Bill Ayers, this time with a mystery cop she’s attempting to redeem. Other than to insist that Gray (who was obviously dying) was “acting normal,” the cop had no “new” information. And he lives under water. At least so the cop sounded.
UPDATE (5/2): The lawyers explain depraved-heart murder:
Tom Oster: “Depraved-heart murder arises from a theory of extreme recklessness, evidencing an indifference to human life. There doesn’t need to be an intent to cause death, merely a showing that the act that was done showed a ‘depraved’ or ‘extreme’ indifference to human life. Examples could be firing a gun randomly into a crowded street, or driving down a sidewalk.”
Figure that the distinctions between intent as recognized in criminal law (the Model Penal Code provides a good example) break down as Purpose (to cause the end result), Knowledge (that the result will occur), Recklessness (knowledge of a risk of the outcome, with depraved heart murder falling at the higher end of this threshold), Negligence (a reasonable person would know of a risk and exercise care to avoid it, involuntary manslaughter and “criminally-negligent homicide,” in jurisdictions which have this latter offense, generally fall into categories of greater or lesser negligence in homicide cases), and Strict Liability (no intent required, e.g., statutory rape is a strict liability crime usually with regards to the age of the victim).
Certain circumstances (read: collateral and predicate criminal offenses) can be inferred to demonstrate intent. Felony murder, for example, is a death arising from the commission of an inherently-dangerous felony (usually). Intent is inferred from the intent to commit the underlying felony (e.g., someone dies in the process of a kidnapping or robbery). Lesser criminal acts that cause death can demonstrate the intent required for involuntary manslaughter or criminally-negligent homicide (illegally barring the emergency exits of a building, resulting in people being killed in a fire, would likely result in an involuntary manslaughter charge, for example).
Incidentally, the feds, if they were to get involved (I don’t think they will unless the Maryland process sputters out), would have a potentially potent charge to lay. 18 USC 242, “Deprivation of rights under color of law,” applies when under color of law (read, a police officer or someone else acting as a government official or a putative government official), someone willfully subjects anyone to any deprivation of rights, privileges, or immunities under the Constitution or other laws (such as a false arrest, imposition of torture, etc.) If death results, it’s a capital crime (Maryland does not have a death penalty).
And this definition of Depraved-Heart Murder via Jerri Lynn Ward: