Caterpillars, moths, butterflies, and all creatures great and small,
It’s been a busy week.
The pool party in McKinney, Texas resulted in constant headlines including the resignation of officer Casebolt and the employment termination or suspension of several people who were either involved in the originating physical altercation, or who made bigoted racial statements on social media.
Regarding the death of 12-year old Tamir Rice, in response to citizens’ affidavit, a judge has decided there is probable cause to charge Cleveland police officer Timothy Loehmann with murder, manslaughter, reckless homicide and negligent homicide. Judge Adrine also found there is probable cause to charge Cleveland police officer Frank Garmback with negligent homicide.
Some are reporting this as actual charges, but they are not. They are probable cause findings. The State’s Attorney has stated that he is taking the evidence before a grand jury to decide whether to charge the two officers. You can read the judge’s decision here.
This week, three more people have been killed by members of law enforcement, one being a homeless man in Overtown, Florida, in front of dozens of witnesses including children. Read the rest of this entry
Since this was written, Casebolt resigned.
It’s no big deal, but because of some people promoting it as a lost for Baltimore’s State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, I thought it important to write this so those interested can discern fact from ignorance. It’s easier for me to understand the structures of courts than how Baltimore has its own State’s Attorney because in most states, State’s Attorneys are elected to represent a county and not a city.
Each state has its own court structure, and that structure can differ from state to state. For example, California has Superior Courts that in other states, are considered Circuit Courts. Pennsylvania has courts of Common Pleas, Commonwealth Courts, Superior Court, and a Supreme Court. In Maryland, there are District Courts and Circuit Courts. District Courts are courts of limited jurisdiction.
The jurisdiction of the District Court is concurrent with that of the circuit court in criminal cases that are classified misdemeanors and certain felonies, in which the penalty may be confinement for 3 years or more or a fine of $2,500 or more. The District Court does not conduct jury trials.
The Circuit Court for Baltimore City is a State trial court of unlimited jurisdiction. It handles all types of cases and is divided into four main divisions: Family, Juvenile, Criminal, and Civil.
The charges against the six Baltimore police officers in the death of Freddie Gray were filed in the District Court. It is in that court that State’s Attorney Mosby filed a motion for a gag order. However, the officers were indicted and the cases transferred to the Circuit Court on May 21, 2015.