That was the first sentence from a retired judge who I sat down to lunch with yesterday. I bumped into him and he had a big smile on his face. He too had felt duped and personally experienced the arrogance of the now deposed State’s Attorney for Baltimore City. NOW IF HE WOULD ONLY CHANGE HIS LAST NAME! We are not related. Bernstein now has to sit as a lame duck for the next 6 months. He began his purge of seasoned prosecutors before he was even sworn in. He told a high ranking prosecutor he could leave now if he wanted, even though he was still working for the soon to be former State’s Attorney. He then wished him a Happy Thanksgiving. Bernstein could chose to follow his own advice and leave now so that the bench could pick Ms. Mosby as the interim prosecutor pending her general election victory. That might relieve the anxiety that always exists when there is a change at the top. Until Bernstein, the anxiety was unfounded, and prosecutors did not have to worry about their careers. Ms. Mosby, having worked in the office, knows the value of experience. The office has suffered tremendously by the callous firings and demotions. Bernstein’s Deputy who is mentioned below, got out of Dodge just in time, and secured an appointment to the federal bench. I am sure he will use his connections to help Bernstein secure some type of position in the federal system, and of course he could always hire him as a law clerk. Bernstein hired competent people, he just never let them grow or think. Ms. Mosby worked at a time when your judgment was trusted and valued. She wants to stem the tide of violence and that starts in the schools. Sandra O’Connor (not the Supreme Court Justice) was the elected State’s Attorney for Baltimore County. She was in the public schools daily and her office and waiting room reflected it. If Ms. Mosby puts the right people as Deputy and lets the creative juices flow from the people there now, she can do tremendous good by being a positive role model. Who better than a young black chief prosecutor to go into the schools of Baltimore City and speak to the may single parent kids who struggle each day. The message she brings has a better chance of being heard, than from an arrogant aloof white guy who shares nothing and knows nothing about the struggles these kids face. She can do more to put a dent in crime by going to the schools and engaging these kids, than she can by trying an occasional case and getting some publicity. Bernstein tried 2 cases. The first one he got his ass kicked. The second was a slam dunk murder where the defendant turned down a favorable plea. Neither case enamored him with the voters or the communities. As I type this, my badge from when I was a prosecutor sits above on the wall. Maybe it was no accident that during the Bernstein reign, the name tag fell off. It is time to glue it back on.
I posted the following comments at the Baltimore Sun article on Ms. Mosby’s election.
We will hopefully have a State’s Attorney’s Office that is returned to its historical roots of trusting your prosecutors’ judgment and not requiring them to get approval for every decision. If you don’t trust their judgment do not hire them. Hopefully Ms. Mosby restores confidence to these good lawyers who are too busy worrying about following some inane policy that was developed for statistical purposes. The citizens saw through this sham and are willing to give a new face and lift to the office. As a former Baltimore City Assistant State’s Attorney, I welcome Ms. Mosby and expect her to remove the veil of fear that permeates this office. Her honesty will be a welcome change.
Read more: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/politics/bs-md-ci-city-primary-20140624,0,4702617.story#ixzz35mgbQxNj@Gary S. Bernstein We are talking about leadership and decision making when it comes to giving the people you hire responsibility for their cases. I just finished a two day jury trial that had nothing to do with violence. The jurors thought the prosecution of the case was a joke. It took 2 years and 4 months and 12 postponements for a 15 minute not guilty. What crime? My client grew pot in his house for personal use because it works better than his medication. There was no smokeable pot when they found the plants, BUT if six months later when the plants might have budded and if there was enough pot, he would PROBABlY share a bowl with his roommate, and therefore he was a drug dealer. That was the theory behind the possession with intent to distribute marihuana charge. Because he had just bought a shotgun for skeet shooting, they wanted a mandatory 5 years without parole because he could have used the gun to protect the pot. Nonsense! One juror gave us her notes that had highlighted “the gun charge is a joke, possession only.” Another juror gave my client a thumbs up as he walked out of the jury box. These were not children on the jury but professional business people, like my client. One of the many judges we appeared before told the prosecutor to go speak to someone because this was foolish. He was not allowed an audience with the front office. He had to email Bernstein and his Deputy with the judge’s request. Denied, jail time only. Meanwhile there are 22, hopefully reformed murderers he refused to prosecute (I prosecuted 2 of them) and victims’ families he would not contact, because he had a guy with some pot plants to prosecute. Why, because it would be easy, and he could give the voters BS statistics. Because he had the 22 plead for probation, he inflated his murder conviction rate. His arrogance towards Ms. Mosby as well as the defense bar, and even the judges served him poorly. There is office space across the hall from my office, and maybe he’ll come to Towson for a change of venue, as he is no longer wanted or needed in Baltimore City. Oh, and my pot client got Probation Before Judgment for simple possession. This is just one of just many examples of why he had to go, and why the citizens of the City will be safer in January.