May 5, 2015
Mr. Gene S. Ryan, President
Fraternal Order of Police
Baltimore City Lodge No. 3
3920 Buena Vista Avenue
Baltimore, Maryland 21211
Dear Mr. Ryan:
I write to express my disappointment after reading your May 1, 2015 letter addressed to Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby. My professional career prior to being elected to Congress involved thirteen years as Resident Superior Court judge and two years as Associate Justice on the State Supreme Court, a total of fifteen years in the judiciary. My thirty year legal career and decade as a Member of Congress has provided me with insight into how our court system should work and the interplay between the individuals who have the responsibility to administer justice.
Your request for a Special Independent Prosecutor is illogical and unfounded in the law. Your statement that “none of the officers involved are responsible for the death of Mr. Gray” is reckless and irresponsible. You do not have the ability to make those determinations. It will be a jury verdict of Baltimoreans that will decide these cases after the parties present substantial evidence of guilt or innocence, not the Fraternal Order of Police.
Your letter states that you have full faith in Ms. Mosby’s professional integrity yet you conclude that a conflict of interest exists by her office investigating the case. You specifically cite a personal and professional relationship between Ms. Mosby and defense counsel. You went on to state that the lead prosecutor has connections with the local media. And, finally, you recklessly state that the political career of Ms. Mosby’s husband will be impacted by her participation in these cases. These frivolous and inflammatory statements are repugnant to any citizen with knowledge of our criminal justice system.
Prosecutors in every jurisdiction across the country have relationships with the local bar but exercise their duty to prosecute cases without allowing those relationships to influence their zealousness in prosecuting the case. Rules of Professional Responsibility do not prevent a lawyer from participating in a case because of a friendship with the lawyer for the opposing litigant.
Mr. Ryan, you have an important responsibility to advocate for law enforcement officers who serve our communities. That responsibility requires you to be assertive and present relevant facts for fair consideration of the issues in controversy. Your sacred responsibility is violated when you make accusations that do not lead to actionable violations of the Rules of Professional Responsibility.
You have damaged the good reputation of your organization in writing the letter, releasing it to the media, and making accusations that amount to nothing more than propaganda intended to interfere with the proper administration of justice. Undoubtedly, prospective jurors have read your letter which suggests that you could be trying to improperly influence public opinion in these cases.
I respectfully ask that you reconsider your statements and make the necessary corrections. These are serious cases which should proceed to trial using the customary procedures involved in other felony cases in the City of Baltimore and jurisdictions across the country.
Thank you very much.
Very truly yours,
G. K. Butterfield
Member of Congress