Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Justice For Sale In Baltimore

     Traditionally, wrongful death law suits are filed after the criminal liability of a person's death has been settled. Occasionally a family of someone who may have died as a result of another's negligence or intent will file a suit against such a person before the criminal aspects of the case have been adjudicated. Baltimore city leaders, headed by Stephanie Rawlings Blake (the mayor of that city who gave "room for those who wished to destroy" to do so), has decided to pay the family of Freddie Gray $6.4 million in compensation for his death in the back of a police van. This decision was arrived at before the family has even filed a suit against the city.
     In addition to being fiscally irresponsible with Baltimore taxpayers' money, Ms. Blake has jeopardized one of the founding principles of this country, i.e. a fair trial for her six officers being charged for Mr. Gray's death. By paying out city funds to the family of Freddie Gray before any resolution to the criminal case against the officers, or the filing of any civil case by the family, Ms. Blake, et al have essentially admitted the city was at fault, and by extension the officers charged in this case.
     How can these officers hope to ever be treated fairly by jury members who are culled from the very city that has admitted guilt in the case before the gavel has been pounded to initiate the legal deliberations on the merits of the charges against them? It is analogous to one's employer paying the city for an employee who has not even received a traffic violation. I am not an attorney, but if I were representing any of the officers in this case I would think this move by the city of Baltimore would be reason for a change of venue for my client(s) trial.
     There is certainly reason to believe that Mr. Gray had some, if not all, responsibility in his own death. He apparently had a well documented history of injuring himself and trying to sue others for those injuries. And now it appears as though his family, with the aid of Baltimore Mayor Blake, will finally receive the big payoff that Freddie dreamed of for so many years. And the taxpayers of Baltimore are the innocent dupes of this flim flam operation in which the dead Freddie Gray and Mayor Stephanie Blake have colluded to defraud them.
     In this new America justice apparently is for sale and has become the property of the highest bidder, in this case the Baltimore city leadership. No need, in the mind of Stephanie Rawlings Blake and her ilk, to wait for justice from an actual court of law with a judge and jury, they know better what justice looks like. This decision to award the family of Freddie Gray $6.4 million is not just a sin against fiscal probity, but a violation of the very cornerstone of our republic and its legal system. The actions of Mayor Blake completely ignores the concept of innocent until proven guilty.

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