Gregg Bernstein Raises Ethical Cloud in Intra-office Football-Spiking Memo

Baltimore Sun, June 2, 2011:

“In the email, {Baltimore City State’s Attorney Gregg] Bernstein called the convictions of two officers on misdemeanor misconduct charges “in many ways the right result,” though he had pursued felony kidnapping charges that would have brought a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison for the officers. He said the jury’s verdict was “inconsistent” but “that’s the AG’s problem!” a reference to the attorney general’s office, which handles criminal appeals.

In reference to the acquitted officer, who also faced kidnapping charges, Bernstein wrote that “there was no evidence that Hellen in any way participated in the abductions, other than being in the minivan, but shouldn’t that be enough?”

“Oh well; from a culpability standpoint at least, the right defendants were convicted,” he wrote

Whoa, counselor.

If you know you didn’t have probable cause, and that Heller was not one of the culpable ones, why did your office prosecute? Maryland Lawyers’ Rule of Professional Conduct 3.8(a) is not new:

The prosecutor in a criminal case shall: 

(a) refrain from prosecuting a charge that the prosecutor knows is not supported by probable cause.

I won’t comment further. Res ipsa loquitur.

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