On Depraved Heart Murder

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Baltimore reacts to news of the charges. Photo by David Goldman, Associated Press 
Friday's appearance by Baltimore state attorney Marilyn Mosby was electrifying, from her take-no-prisoners, harrowing step-by-step account of the crimes committed against Freddie Gray to her announcement of 28 charges filed against the six cops who helped kill him. Only months into the job, the 35-year-old Mosby, who comes from five generations of police officers, is the youngest chief prosecutor of a major US city.
The charges are:
-- Officer Caesar R. Goodson Jr.: Second-degree depraved heart murder, involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault, manslaughter by vehicle, misconduct in office.
-- Officer William G. Porter: Involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault, misconduct in office.
-- Lt. Brian W. Rice: Involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault, misconduct in office, false imprisonment.
-- Officer Edward M. Nero: Second-degree assault, misconduct in office, false imprisonment.
-- Officer Garrett Miller: Second-degree assault, misconduct in office, false imprisonment.
-- Sgt. Alicia D. White: Manslaughter, second-degree assault, misconduct in office.
The "depraved heart murder" charge against Goodson, who drove the van, is the most severe, carrying a sentence of up to 30 years in prison. The chilling legal definitions for the term tell us everything we need to know about the tenor of police rule in Baltimore and its deadly results there and across America. The Legal Information Institute, part of Cornell University Law School, describes the charge as “killing someone in a way that demonstrates callous disregard for the value of human life." Judge Charles Moylan Jr. described it in 1981 as “wanton indifference to the consequences and perils” of a “reckless act.” And Judge Alan Wilner in 1991 wrote of conduct that contains "an element of viciousness or contemptuous disregard for the value of human life." Is there any more potent deadly way to characterize the illegal arrest, the horrific ride, the brutal repeated failure to offer help when it was desperately sought?
The six cops have already been brought in, assigned bails topping out at $350,000 - less than the kid who smashed the cop car - made bail, and been released. Some idiots tried to raise money for them, but they were shut down. It's still a long way to conviction. But still.  Mosby said she heard and took to heart the nationwide call, "No justice, no peace." She said, "To the youth of this city: I will seek justice on your behalf...This is your moment." She said that what would prevent another Freddie Gray is "accountability."  And how, asked a reporter, do we get that? She answered, "You're getting it right now." Let's hope it will start to end the depravity.
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