Freddie Gray Prosecutor Retaliation Suit Blocked on Appeal
Baltimore's State Attorney Marilyn Mosby was sued by five officers that were charged in the Freddie Gray murder case. Unfortunately for the prosecutor, she had to file an appeal to get the case tossed out as a district court judge was actually going to let the case proceed despite the strong doctrine and public policy in favor of prosecutorial immunity.
In case you forgot, or didn't know, in 2015, Freddie Gray suffered a severe injury and died while in custody. Mosby was the state prosecuting attorney that brought the charges against the officers. After three of the officers' cases were dismissed after a jury trial, the remaining charges were dropped. However, five of the officers that faced charges decided to sue their prosecutor for malicious prosecution.
Absolute Prosecutorial Immunity
As the appellate court was quick to note in overturning the lower court's decision, prosecutorial immunity stops this lawsuit. Seemingly taunting the officers, after explaining that the case "epitomizes the vexatious litigation that absolute prosecutorial immunity is designed to preclude," the Fourth Circuit wrote, in concluding:
Perhaps to the Officers' chagrin, they must accept that they are subject to the same laws as every other defendant who has been prosecuted and acquitted. Those laws clearly bar the type of retaliatory suits that the Officers brought here.
The appellate court went so far as to call the officers' contentions absurd, specifically noting that statements the prosecutor made at a press conference that she would seek justice were not a sign of malice. The court swiftly dismissed the officers' arguments as not serious, and ordered the matter dismissed.
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